Thursday, February 18, 2016

Peter & Frank Do Dallas

Exciting things happen in Dallas all the time which attracts visitors from far and wide.  Celebrities, politicians and dignitaries get the headlines when they visit but for my money nothing beats a pop-in from one of our favorites from the superhero community.  We've seen the State Fair patronized by the X-Men and Spider-Man teaming up with the Cowboys in the past.

Today we're going to take a look at another visit from Spider-Man but this time he brought his wacky pal Frank Castle, the Punisher!


Written by Gerry Conway with art from Sal Buscema, this 1988 story begins with Spidey slapping around some burglars on the Punisher's boat the "Golden Girl."  He's on the hunt for the missing, Bea Arthur loving, vigilante.


We soon see that the Punisher has made it to Texas and is cooling his heels at DFW Airport.  You can tell he's in Texas because there is a guy in the background wearing a cowboy hat:


It turns out that he is being controlled by a mutant (Code Name: "Raymond") who is working for the Spider-Man/Daredevil villain Kingpin.  They have come to the Lone Star State so that the Punisher can kill the infamous Lobo Brothers, who have just made the front page of the now defunct Dallas Times Herald:


Marvel had a long collaboration with the paper including the release of freebie original comics in Sunday additions like the aforementioned X-Men & Spidey comics.

Back in New York, Peter's detection skills were shown up by a local newscast revealing the location of the person he had spent weeks looking for:


So like a true hero, he forgoes the "snuggling" with his super model girlfriend to head south to check in on his man crush.  Remember the superhero code:  "Bros before hoes"

At this point in the Spiderverse, Peter had published a book of his photographs of Spider-Man and so his cover story for traveling was book promotion.  Sadly, upon his arrival, he discovers it's not a big seller in the south.


If it seems like there is a lot of exposition and scenes of traveling in this comic book, don't worry, we skipped over a scene where the Punisher kills a bunch of people at an oil refinery (that was a cover for drugs and money laundry for the Lobo Brothers).  So it's not just arrivals and departures.

Peter blows off his book signing to hunt down the Lobo Brothers hoping to find his lost pal.  Since DFW isn't Manhattan, his usual web slinging travel method wasn't an option and with the lack of a Spider-Mobile, he had to stowaway on a tanker truck:


The Lobos must be doing pretty well to have a mansion on Grapevine Lake.  I guess the drugs pretty much sell themselves.  Once Spidey gets over the walls it doesn't take long to realize all hell has broken loose as he comes upon this scene with the Punisher, "Raymond" (ok, ok, his actual code name is the Persuader), multiple dead bodies and the speedo wearing Lobo Brothers:


Long story short: shots were fired, webs were "thwipped" and speedos were soiled.  After nearly drowning Spider-Man, Frank was able to shake off the bad influence and take care of business.  While the Lobos got away, the Persuader got a center mass lead Valentine from the Punisher thus ending this Texas Team-Up.  After the final page of the story I assume Frank and Pete hit Dealey Plaza, picked up some cowboy hat souvenirs and headed home.

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