By Merricles 0 Comments
The year was 1994 and the cover price 1.50... if only it were still that way right? The cover is a standard cover for those days. Castle is there holding an assault rifle with a white background. The caption 'Next...' being spoken. The cover title is 'The Killing Streets'. Before I really get into this one, I would like to mention that this is one of my first comic books. It is my first Punisher comic, and near as I can remember it is when I was first introduced to the character. Since then, he has become one of my top guys in comics. The Tom Jane movie was great IMO, and although I didn't think I was going to like War Zone (being a reboot and a different actor) it turned out to be alright too. I am not happy with the last news I read saying that Marvel was eyeing a TV version, but I think that may have been scrapped. Anyhow, on to the issue. It opens with a kid, named Gonzalo, recalling how he sought out the Punisher and why. He posted signs around the area asking Castle for help. In hero tradition, Castle shows up and ask the kid what the problem is. Gonzalo tells him of a new gang, the Razors, who have taken over his 'block'. They started by dealing drugs out of a warehouse and then moved up to strong arming the buisness owners to pay them weekly. Castle gives the kid a warning to stay out of the way and to keep quiet, that he will look into it. During this time, another man (presumed to be Castle in disguise) opens a Tie Shop on the block. He is of large build and wears a USMC tv shirt. When the Razors approach him he dispatches them promptly. As the cops arrive they take off, promising to get payback (no pun intended). A bit later on, the Razors have upped their price to all the shop owners and told them they have until Friday to come up with the money or they will burn their shops down. They all have a meeting and most seem scared and some say they are going to leave. Tie Shop owner says he is not going anywhere. The next day, Tie Shop guy is sweeping the walk to his store and the Razors happen by and start trouble. He defends himself with a broom, but during the struggle is shot in the back and killed. Young Gonzalo believes him to be the Punisher and blames himself. No one steps up to talk to the police for fear of what will happen. The next day, Friday, Gonzalo's mother keeps him home from school. He watches the block, quiet with no one out at all. Gonzalo sees one of the shop owners walking to the Razors keep, the 'Ree-Tard' newstand owner Fat Franny. As Franny gets to the desk of the lead Razor, he informs him that he has no money. The Razors respond in anger, and are all promptly 'Punished' as it was Castle dressed up as Franny. Gonzalo runs from his house to check what has happened and learns that Castle has been pretending to be Franny all week and that Tie Shop guy was not him. Gonzalo asks what happened, and the response given is 'They've all been Punished'. Castle tells him to tell the owners they do not have to pay, but he suspects the Razors were setting up for a big buy that evening. He instructs Gonzalo to also tell the neighborhood to keep off the street as he plans to wait for the suits that he suspects will come. The block is quiet, no one on the streets, no sound. Gonzalo notes how he can hear the traffic from the nearby streets. As dusk falls, a vehicle with 4 suits arrives, and without and provocation or dialogue at all, Castle kills them all. Gonzalo mentions in closing how he sometimes wishes he would see him again so that he might thank him, but is glad that he never will. So now that you have the story, time for my opinion on the issue. The cover is great, by Bill Sienkiewicz and colored by George Roussos. It's a simple cover without much detail, not normally the type of thing I would enjoy, but this works for me. The artwork inside is standard for the mid-90s of comics (Todd Fox, E. Villagran, J. Chiang). The story (writer Chuck Dixon) is pretty standard for a Punisher comic of this time frame as well. Castle was the sort to just go location to location and clean up a block as in this comic. It is a great 10 minute read to get away. It does not require you to have knowledge of any characters, even the Punisher really. So as a character piece it isn't something that stands out, but as a one shot deal without wanting to worry about tie-ins, it's great. I read this issue many times as a kid, and only now have found it again. If you have it, take a few minutes to sit back and read it.