Punisher Key Comics (Family)

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Here are some Punisher Key Comics that contains first appearances of his ‘family’ members. These are characters who are inspired by or modeled after the original Punisher. They are not really a family like Batman and his Bat family.

Most of these characters were introduced during the 90s when Punisher was popular enough to hold 3 series concurrently: Punisher, Punisher War Zone and Punisher War Journal.

Unfortunately, none of them managed to break out like how other legacy characters family members broke out.

For this article, I only included characters from the 616 reality. As such, I did not include one of the more famous Punisher: Punisher 2099. If I ventured into alternate realities of Punisher, the list will be too long.

Punisher War Journal #48

Date of Publication: 1992
Sale number: 188,000

Key strengths of this book
1. Silver age introduction of Justice Society of America as a team

2. Silver age introduction of Doctor Fate

 

The first character on this list is Payback (Edward Dyson). He made a total of 21 appearance and mostly in the Punisher War Journal series. Once the series ended, he never appeared in another comic beyond Civil War Battle: Damage Report #1 where he was a potential recruit. .

Payback’s first appearance is very similar to the Hulk #180/#181 situation. He appeared on the last page of Punisher War Journal #48 and in the full story in #49.

Unfortunately, #49 doesn’t have him on the cover like #181 so folks might just choose #48 as his first appearance.

However, Punisher War Journal #49 has him as the character logo on the top left, which is pretty cool. You can take a look at the cover on the right.

To complete the story, the last panel on #48 is shown as below. Not the best costume you will ever see but he is definitely part of the Punisher ‘family’

Punisher War Journal #62

Date of Publication: 1994
Sale number: 82,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance in costume (Lynn Michaels)

 

Lynn Michaels is the only female Punisher that I know about. She first appeared in Punisher War Zone #7 (1992) as part of the police force. Eventually, she couldn’t stand the corruption within the police and started to take matters into her own hand.

Lynn first don the Punisher costume in Punisher War Journal #62. She didn’t called herself the Punisher then but the costume and actions are what you expect from the man himself.

You can see the splash page on the right.

The cover also shows Lynn in the Punisher costume.

Hence, I consider Punisher War Journal #62 as the first appearance of Lynn as the Punisher.

If you want to know when did Lynn really started called herself the Punisher, it happen in Punisher War Journal #73.

The images below show how Lynn got the name. Notice she is wearing the same outfit that she already worn in #62.

Among all the characters, Lynn has the highest appearance with 35 counts. She was last seen in Punisher War Journal Vol 2 in 2006. Like Payback, Lynn was also consider as a potential recruit for the Initiative program.

Punisher #64

Date of Publication: 1992
Sale number: 205,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Outlaw

 

Outlaw was introduced in Punisher #64 and was meant directly inspired to be the Punisher for London. He is the only Black Punisher that I know of.

Outlaw made around 26 comic appearances. Among all the Punisher copycats, Outlaw seems to be remembered and used. His most recent appearance was in 2016’s Contest of Champions series as well as 2017’s USA Avengers.

Eventually, Outlaw gave up punishing people and became a real superhero with the Champions of Europe team. This team debuted in USA Avengers #7 and is comprise superheroes from the European continent.

Punisher #87

Date of Publication: 1994
Sale number: 160,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Hitman (Jimmy Pierce)

 

Hitman was created when Punisher was supposed to be dead and the mob family wanted a new Punisher that they can control. Hitman resisted this at first but gave in due to his mother being held hostage. Eventually, he team up with the real punisher to take down the mob family.

Jimmy Pierce first appearanced in Punisher #86 but he wasn’t the Hitman yet. He donned his costume in #87, which can be seen on the cover.

Hitman made 11 appearances since his debut. Like Payback, he wasn’t seen again once the Punisher series ended.

Personally, I thought his costume looks the coolest among all the Punisher family members.

Punisher #99

Date of Publication: 1995
Sale number: No Information

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Carlos Cruz in Punisher costume

 

Carlos Cruz was another cop who wanted vengeance for the murder of his nephew. He first appeared in Punisher #97 as Carol Cruz with no linkage to the Punisher. At the end of the issue, he was asked to take up the Punisher role by Microship but he refused.

In the following issue, Carlos Cruz’s nephew was killed, thus setting up his motive to become the Punisher. However, it was only in the next issue that we finally see Carlos in costume as pictured on the right.

However, it was again a last panel appearance. Only in #100 do we see Carlos in full action.

The set up for Carlos was detailed but the character got killed at the end of 10 issues. This is the only Punisher family member that was killed.

Conclusion

This is a fun article to show you the different Punisher copycats or ‘family’ members. If you look at their low number of comic appearances, it would explain why none of them really took off.

In fact, only Outlaw was used recently. The others have not made any appearances for the past 10 years.

The good news is that these issues are cheap to pick up. If you are a Punisher fan and wants to add them for fun, it is pretty affordable to do so.

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