Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #162

Issue Date: 
November 1976
Story Title: 
Let the Punisher Fit the Crime!

Len Wein (writer), Ross Andru (art), John Romita Sr. (cover), Mike Esposito (inks)

Brief Description: 

With a series of four sniper murders rocking New York City, Spider-Man, Nightcrawler, and The Punisher square off in a lethal three-way dance on top of the 59th Street Bridge. Nightcrawler teleports to safety as another man fires at all three of them. Spider-Man and the Punisher agree to team up to take out the true sniper. The real killer reveals himself as Jigsaw, a man scarred horribly by The Punisher months ago. Nightcrawler reveals himself as a disguised member of Jigsaw’s gang, and the three heroes team up to take him down hard.

Full Summary: 

59th Street Bridge, Cable Car:

The Punisher has Nightcrawler and Spider-Man in his sights from the cable car. Both Spider-Man and Nightcrawler rush the car in order to take out Punisher before he hurts anyone, as they both now believe him to be the murderer using a sniper rifle around New York City. As they fight inside the car briefly, Punisher manages to pin Spider-Man to the wall of the cable car with a pair of well-thrown knives. Suddenly, a volley of gunfire assaults the car. Miraculously, nobody aboard the car is hit. Both Spider-Man and Punisher are confused about what Nightcrawler is exactly, but rather than risk the secrets of the X-Men any further, Kurt teleports out of the car. With Nightcrawler out of the picture, Punisher offers to team up with Spider-Man against the killer. The two agree to meet again tomorrow. Spider-Man swings away, telling Punisher “Try not to get yourself killed before then.”

Empire State University:

The next morning, Peter goes to school, seeing Mary-Jane flirting with Flash Thompson on the school lawn. Peter apologizes for ditching her and the others at the fair yesterday, but Mary-Jane merely replies that she isn’t going to be “such a possessive she-cat anymore,” and leaves with Flash for a date. Before Peter can complain, he is distracted by J. Jonah Jameson wandering onto the ESU lot. Jameson has arrived to speak with Dr. Marla Madison, a prominent electro-biologist. Jameson challenges Madison to help him rid New York of Spider-Man once and for all.

Manhattan, upper West Side:

That evening, Punisher calls Spider-Man on a pay phone, and the two meet up a few minutes later. The two roll off in Punisher’s “war-wagon,” to fight the “war.”
The Punisher’s war journal reads that the residents of one neighborhood have banded together in a block party to save their bankrupt Engine Company #35, which employs many of the locals. Punisher’s sources tell him that the sniper is planning another hit at this location. Spider-Man and Punisher decide to split up to canvas the area, with Spider-Man creeping along the rooftops and Punisher searching the alleys. Meanwhile, a dark and mysterious man tackles one of the sniper’s scouts in the alleyway.

Spider-Man sees a man lying face down in the alley, and rushes to his aid, thinking that the sniper may have already struck. However, Spider-Man fails to notice that it is a trap, and two men rush him from behind, knocking him unconscious. The gangsters say that they need to get him back to their boss alive, and drag him away, chaining him to a street light. After Spider-Man is knocked out, a gang of thugs with guns take the entire block party hostage, and the leader of the gang steps forward. He reveals himself as Jigsaw, a hideously deformed and scarred man who wants nothing but revenge on the Punisher. Jigsaw was scarred when the Punisher kicked him through a plate glass window, and the force of the breaking glass against his prized face turned him into a walking jigsaw puzzle. Swearing revenge, he trained hard for months to be able to best the Punisher one on one. Jigsaw calls Punisher out with a bullhorn, threatening to begin executing the hostages. Punisher fires a number of warning shots at him, which Jigsaw dodges. Suddenly, one member of Jigsaw’s gang drops his coat and mask, revealing himself as Nightcrawler! Kurt tackles Jigsaw to the ground. While Punisher and Nightcrawler begin to fight with Jigsaw, Spider-Man regains consciousness, and uses all of his spider-strength to break his chains, and joins the battle. Seeing how badly outnumbered he is, Jigsaw jumps on a fire truck, and one of his gang members drives him away. Spider-Man swings into action, beating Jigsaw up on top of the truck. It is revealed that Jigsaw was wearing a special mechanical exoskeleton that enhanced his strength to a small degree. Jigsaw slips with a fire hose in the melee, catching it on the truck’s axle as he attempts to use it on Spider-Man, causing the truck to stall while he is thrown off.

Nightcrawler and Punisher arrive, but Spider-Man has already tied up Jigsaw with the fire hose. Spider-Man tries to apologize to Nightcrawler for calling him a murderer, but Nightcrawler quickly teleports away without a word. Spider-Man then turns to thank Punisher for his help, but Punisher has also disappeared. With everything tied up nicely, Spider-Man sees no need to stick around himself, and swings away.

War Journal Entry #385 – CONCLUSION: Another battle was finally over. But the war goes on.

Characters Involved: 



The Punisher

Jigsaw / Billy “the Beaut” Russo

Mary-Jane Watson

Harry Osborn

Flash Thompson

Dr. Marla Madison

J. Jonah Jameson

Story Notes: 

This issue concludes the story started in Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #161.

This issue is the first appearance of The Punisher’s arch-enemy, Jigsaw.

Nightcrawler stole Peter Parker’s camera film because the X-Men were kept a secret to the majority of mankind by Charles Xavier at this point, and Spider-Man’s photos would have cost the X-Men that secret.

Some of the box notes in this issue advertise the “all-new X-Men series” on sale now. This would be referring to the Uncanny X-Men series which had recently been renewed in 1974, and issue #110 would have been on sale at this point (Giant Size X-Men #1 marked the “new” X-Men’s beginning).

Many of the box notes in this issue are excerpts from Frank Castle’s “war journal,” his diary kept on the criminal situation of New York. Of course, the popularity of these captions by themselves (astounding, really) would lead to the birth of a Punisher mini-series 4 years later, and 4 ongoing series after that.

Dr. Marla Madison would go on to help JJJ in constructing the first Spider-Slayer robot. Of course, the web-head defeated it with ease, but the revamped models of the robot created by fellow scientist Alistair Smythe years later would cause far more serious problems for him.

This issue was part of an ongoing run in Amazing Spider-Man that featured The Punisher in most issues between #129 (first appearance) and #204.

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