Batman vs. Punisher 2

Four months after Batman and Punisher’s first team up, they get another shot, and Punisher even gets top billing this time.  But unfortunately for our dear Frank Castle, he’s not dealing with the raving craziness of pseudo-Batman/Azrael, a man who does not prepare for everything no matter how inane and weird.  But despite the real Dark Knight jumping across rooftops, the Punisher’s still hanging out in Gotham City.  His only supervillain Jigsaw teamed up with the Joker to do evil stuff, so he’s going have to stay for a while.  In Punisher/Batman: Deadly Knight, written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by John Romita, Jr. & Klaus Janson, the issue goes pretty much like you’d expect.

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Batman and Punisher, each not fond of the other, get two short fights.  It’s bound to happen, y’know, because the Punisher shoots people once while Batman prefers instead to have bad guys get jump kicked over and over again for decades.  More importantly, without all of Azrael’s armor and claws, we’re going to get a fair fight – at least as fair a fight from two fictional characters each with rabid, loyal fan bases who’ll rise up against the opposite comic book company if their boy loses.

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Look, let’s be honest: the Punisher has probably saved far more lives than Batman has.  Not in terms of catching civilians from burning buildings, but just in the sheer thousands of mobsters and criminals the Punisher has taken off the street.  And it is in the thousands.  Every issue he mows down at least one crowded restaurant or party full of bad guys.  So with the climax of the book over complete, and all Punisher has to do is clean up whatever trash remains – you know what’s going to happen in the next three pages as soon as you take a look at the first.  Of course Batman’s not going to let Punisher kill Joker, and of course it’s done in a very non-Batman way, but what else could possibly happen?  The end result always ends with the status quo.  That’s good business.

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You’re about to witness a punch so full of rage and frustration that it needed a two-page spread.  But rest easy knowing that you and the Punisher likely have the same opinion of Gotham City: it’s an insane, illogical, mess of a widly broken city filled the most insane, illogical, and definitely broken people.  Plus, in New York City, superheroes dress as spiders instead of bats, the way a civilized society should be.

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On Friday, we’re delving into some of Iron Man’s daddy issues!

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7 Comments on “Batman vs. Punisher 2”

  1. Js says:

    Now I wonder if you are going to do the Spider-Man and Batman crossovers. I love reading your articles and hope to keep doing so for a long time.

    I recently shared your Joker/Harley relationship article with some people. They were huge fans of that romance… then after reading your page had second thoughts. Some of them said they were going to look up your blog, I hope they did.

    Cheers, and thanks for a great bit of escapism.

  2. Jimmy Hexx says:

    Loved this crossover. Always wanted a what if?/Elseworld title where Bats makes good on his threat and locks Frank up in Arkham.

  3. Julian S says:

    Hey wasn’t this the sequel, to that comic Archie Meets the Punisher? He did say that he was headed to Gotham on the way out…

  4. David K. Storrs says:

    By this logic the police should shoot criminals without trial. Batman is a police officer who doesn’t follow police investigation protocols or have a badge. He still obeys the spirit of the law in that people get a trial and capital punishment is determined by the state in accordance with the will of the people. (Granted, Batman’s criminals also get a massive beating, terrified out of their minds, and maybe a little bit dropped off a building, but he always catches them.)

    Punisher, on the other hand, is a serial killer. The chances that he’s never killed an innocent by accident are basically zero; you don’t spend years spraying assault weapons around without a stray bullet going somewhere it shouldn’t. Even if we ignore that, it’s all too easy to make a mistake and believe something that turns out not to be true.

    • Horatio Von Becker says:

      Oh hey, Eaglejarl, fancy meeting you here. Not serial killer, more like spree, and much of Punisher’s concept is shared with slasher films (and Invader Zim), namely, that everyone is evil, stupid, crazy, and tacitly deserving of death, with one or two exceptions. (Usually the protagonist, their best friend if they have one, and very rarely their crush). In the Punisher’s corner of the universe, No Quarter Given probably would make sense for the cops – but they’re all corrupt, “in on it”, and too stupid to do anything, anyway. It’s a very misanthropic view of the world.
      Assuming I’ve read the tropes right, anyway. My apologies if I’ve actually slandered it, because it’s not something I’ve spent much time on.

  5. Horatio Von Becker says:

    I don’t think Punisher is morally superior to Batman. Both have issues, even in concept – Batman is a rich guy who beats up criminals, who are almost exclusively poor, and hasn’t gotten a prison or sanatorium built which can actually hold, let alone rehabilitate, his rogues gallery. Punisher, on the other hand, not only commits the legal and dictionary definition of mass murder quite regularly, but also isn’t great about checking targets (citation: he’s tried to kill Spiderman), or being careful of collateral damage.
    Both destabilize and scare gangs in a way liable to convince them to militarize, which probably causes more trouble for bystanders in the long run, although I suspect it’s less bad when there guy doing the violence is known for not killing people.
    That said, those are hardly the point of their respective series. Batman is a guy who punches people, doesn’t kill, and carries gadgets. Punisher is a guy who kills people (Very Bad People) with his enormous guns and powerful firearms. (See, it is a play on words, worthy of the Punisher’s name.) Both are motivated, at least theoretically, by revenge for their dead families. And I can see how the latter might be more appealing to people. But it isn’t quite morally superior.

    TL;DR: Punisher may be more appealing, internally consistent, and good at what he does than Batman, but his job in or out of universe isn’t to save lives, and I don’t think he does save more lives than Batman does. That’s one boast that falls a bit hollow.


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