Friday, December 24, 2010

Retro-Review: Punisher/Batman: Deadly Knights #1(1994)

Review: We get this comic underway with the Punisher shooting up a warehouse in Gotham City. How did we get to this point you ask? Well, it seems that Jigsaw(one of the Punisher's FEW reoccurring enemies)has stayed in Gotham since the last Punisher/Batman crossover, and Punisher has finally returned to Gotham to take care of Jigsaw, once and for all. After killing most of the goons in the warehouse, Punisher corners one and demands to know if the thug had heard anything about Jigsaw. The thug claims innocence, so Punisher decides to kill the thug, since he wasn't offering any decent information. Before he can pull the trigger, Batman hops in the way and Punisher and Bats get into a scuffle. While the two heroes are fighting, the thug gets out of Dodge. Ultimately, the warehouse collapses, which separates Bats and Punisher, allowing Punisher a way out. From there we catch up with the thug from earlier, who rushes to Jigsaw and tells him that Punisher was looking for him. Jigsaw seems fine with that, since he was working with Joker(!), and Punisher coming after him in Gotham simply saves Jigsaw the trouble of hunting Punisher down back in New York. After Joker kills the thug(because that's what he does), we find out that Joker was helping Jigsaw familiarize himself with the way the Gotham underworld worked, with the endgame resulting in Jigsaw taking over the entire Gotham City underworld. As for Joker, he's simply helping Jigsaw because it would lead to widespread gang warfare and carnage in Gotham. After some sleuthing, Batman and Punisher both discover that Joker and Jigsaw were planning on making a move on a rival mobster at a Gotham nightclub, which leads to both heroes heading towards the building. By the time they arrive, Joker has directed Jigsaw and his men to open fire on the rival mobster's crew, leading to a massive gunfight in the club. Punisher arrives first and is pleased to discover a roomful of mobsters and maniacs, meaning he could simply open fire at will. Batman arrives and has to try to halt the shooting, while preventing Punisher from killing anybody. After an extended battle, Joker tries to flee, but is followed by the Punisher, while Batman confronts Jigsaw and gets shot pointblank in the chest. Jigsaw celebrates the fact that he killed Batman, but his celebration is premature as Bats gets up and beats Jigsaw unconscious... Guess Jigsaw never heard of body armor... While Bats is taking care of business, Joker has managed to escape outside, where it appears that he'd be able to beat a hasty retreat from the Punisher. At least he was until he slips on a banana peel(?!)and falls down in an alley, losing his gun in the process. Punisher approaches Joker and prepares to execute the Clown Prince of Crime, but is stopped by the timely arrival of Batman. Batman hooks Punisher's arms and tells Joker to run away, which Joker happily does. With that, Punisher and Batman go at it again, and Batman easily tosses the injured Punisher aside. Batman gives Punisher one opportunity to leave Gotham, warning him that if he refused to, Batman would put the Punisher in Blackgate Prison or Arkham Asylum personally. With no real recourse, Punisher gets up and walks away, swearing that he'd never again step foot in Gotham City.

Thoughts: You know, I liked this comic. It was basically a fast paced, all-action, mile a minute thrill-ride. There really wasn't much of a story besides “Jigsaw and Joker team-up, while Punisher tries to kill them and Batman tries to arrest them.” but that worked well in this comic. It was one of those comics where you could basically turn off your brain and just enjoy the ride. So Chuck Dixon took care of his end by providing us a fun story, and John Romita Jr. didn't disappoint with his take on the Joker... I don't know if I can remember JRJR ever doing the art on a comic with the Joker in it, but man did I enjoy his take on Mistah J! The first scene where Joker enters the comic might just be one of my favorite Joker drawings ever. So great art, plus a fun, mindless story gets a big thumbs up from me!

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Batman must really enjoy having a difficult life...

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