Punisher Epic Collection TPB vol. 5: Jigsaw Puzzle – Mike Baron, Various

4 out of 5

Contains Pun #35 48 from Baron (one issue from Dixon); the GNs No Escape and The Prize; and Pun Annual #4.

While I don’t think I’ll ever really understand the Why behind Marvel’s non-sequential publishing approach to these Epic collections, and I’d say a couple of these issues don’t necessarily stand on their own without some Pun history, or other Marvel references, 14 single issues plus two prestige-length oners and a 40+ page annual are collected here for a really reasonable price – $40 – and printed with the same solid, flippable, clean and glossy style of previous Epics. The color reproductions in these things are always a bit garish, but you get used to it, and besides going with more of a “newsprint” look to the pages, it’s probably really hard to mimic the original look, so this is the most convenient way to get at this stuff.

Not many extras this time around, but they’re there: the ads (and some context) from the never-published “Rules of the Game” GN, with art by Jim Lee; any pinups from the original issues; back cover copy from the prestiges, which is pretty cool; and a postscript note from the Jigsaw arc that has Baron apologizing for its reception. None of that stuff “has” to be there, so it’s a nice extra, even if the individual contents here are, overall, average.