The Punisher (#12 – 13, 1989) – Mike Baron

4 out of 5

A somewhat convoluted but satisfying hunt for a serial killer.

In short: Frank breaks one guy out of prison in order to kinda sorta find another guy.  A lot of people die.

Getting the characters straight is a little problematic, but watching Punisher’s plan initially come together is exciting, up until he gets sucker punched.  He’s helped out by his inside man in the prison, Ortiz, and his wife, who are both oddly a little more bloodthirsty than Frank seems to be.  Again, watching plans play out makes for good comics, and Baron gives us a Charles Manson-proxy (he’s got a swastika on his forehead and whatnot…) to spout ridiculous stuff, inspire funnily dressed followers, and be easy to hate, leading up to a literally explosive final sequence.  While Frank seems a little out of it for most of these issues, Baron does an excellent job of always keeping the tension and stakes amped up, making the expansion of the story to two issues absolutely worthwhile.