PUNISHER: YEAR ONE (1994-1995)

Let’s talk about that cover for a sec.  Why is Frank’s shirt ripped—he’s not shot or anything.  Why are there no bullet holes in the kids or the wife?  They’re dead, and their clothes are fine!  Why are the angel wings on his children but not his wife?  Is this a hint that she wasn’t really the mother of his kids?

So many questions.

The angel motif continues on the cover to #2.

Quite obviously, this miniseries explored Punisher’s first year.  It starts with a reporter who happens to be sleeping on a bench, awakened by gunshots.  He is the one who calls 911, when he sees Frank Castle and his family shot to death, lying in the grass, with a mobster strung up to a tree nearby.  The Castles are zipped into body bags but…

Frank is not dead.

We haven’t seen Frank in the hours after the slaughter of his family, so this is new stuff for his origin story.

Once they know he’s alive, the mob tries to kill Frank as the sole witness and inevitably he tracks them down and kills all of them. 

These issues show Frank developing from the victim on the covers of #s 1 and 2 to becoming a soldier for death in #4.

He also does the “journal” thing for the first time.

The series uses the reporter as a narrative entrypoint throughout, and a good way to tell the tale without relying on Punisher’s own narration—he’s fresh from losing his family and understandably incoherent.

Abnett and Lanning are some of the best Punisher writers so far.

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