TITLE: The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe TPB
YEAR: 1995, 2000 (Second Printing)
COMPANY: Marvel Comics
Writer: Garth Ennis
Penciler: Doug Braithwaite
Inkers: Robin Riggs, Sean Hardy, Don Hudson, Michael Halblieb, Martin Griffith, John Livesay
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorists: Shannon Blanchard, Tom Smith
Original Editor: Marc McLaurin
The 1990’s was an intriguing decade, especially for Marvel Universe character, Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher.
In 1994, there was “Archie Meets the Punisher”, which I never saw coming. And in 1995, Garth Ennis wrote “The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe”.
A story that would seem like a Marvel “What If?” but more violent and a one-shot that would no doubt be so crazy, that many people wanted this issue that I clearly was unable to get a copy until it was released as a second printing years later.
While we know the story of how Frank Castle became the Punisher, serving his country and running a special Black op training missions for Marine Recon Commandos in the upper New York State area. While on leave, Castle took his wife and kids to Central Park and the family were eyewitnesses to a mob killing on the Sheep’s Meadow green in the park. Fearing witnesses, the mobsters murdered Castle’s family in cold blood.
This would leave Frank Castle traumatized and to make things worse, because the NYPD were connected to the mafia, Castle didn’t report back to Marine duty, he decided to spend the rest of his life avenging his family and became the one-man army against crime known as The Punisher.
In “The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe”, a war between the Avengers and X-Men vs. the Skrulls and Brood in Central Park left many innocent people dead.
In this case, Castle was on duty and his family who was in Central Park were killed.
And as there was no time to clear the area, the only person who spoke against letting innocents being killed was Daredevil.
When Frank Castle arrives to Central Park and discovers his murdered wife and children, Cyclops of the X-Men apologizes and tells them that he didn’t know they were there.
Enraged, Frank Castle shoots and kills Cyclops point blank, kills Jubilee but Wolverine manages to give Castle a scar before being restrained by Colossus.
Castle is arrested and representing him is Matt Murdock (Daredevil) but Castle is sentence to life imprisonment for the deaths of Cyclops and Jubilee and while being sent to Rykers to serve his time, the drivers take Castle to an undisclosed location. He is taken in by Kesselring and he and others have been maimed or crippled by superheroes and supervillains.
Willing to fund Castle to fight the war against them, he is hired to kill them all.
Sure, the story of The Punisher killing off the Marvel Universe’s heroes and villains is unreal but he manages to do just that. Always doing his research on those he kills, surprisingly he manages to attain some of the most hardcore weapons to take out various heroes and villains.
It doesn’t matter if they were involved in the park or not, The Punisher wants them all dead.
This was a fascinating story written by longtime Punisher writer, Garth Ennis, who would go on to become well-known for his Vertigo series, “Preacher” and his work with “Hitman”, “Judge Dredd” and “Hellblazer”.
If anything, it’s more entertaining to see how Ennis would find ways for the Punisher to kill off major Marvel Universe heroes and villains.
How would you kill the world’s most powerful mutants? Bring them all to the moon and detonate a nuclear bomb on all of them? Where would you get a nuclear bomb? And just to see how Ennis weaves all these situations into the story and literally making it one heck of a fascinating, audacious storyline worth reading.