Retroactive: Green Arrow 1995 & The Punisher 1994

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My Favourite Covers

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Okay, so our journey through the past is complete for this week but which covers reign supreme?

For Green Arrow, the crown goes to: Green Arrow Vol. 2 #93. A dynamic cover featuring our three heroes engaging in battle. Oliver Queen is front and centre, ready to unleash an arrow straight off the cover and into our living rooms. He is dressed in more street-level clothes, something that he has chosen to do recently and will continue to do until his ultimate departure from his own title. Behind him to the right is Connor Hawke who is dressed in the more traditional Green Arrow outfit, leaping in the air while remaining steady with his shot. Finally there is Eddie Fyers, a man whose weapons of choice are firearms instead of bow and arrows. He’s unleashing a hailstorm of bullets while being highlighted by not only the muzzle fire from his guns but by a column of light that is breaking through the darkness in a shot that is very reminiscent of something you would find in the Punisher series. Terrific poses plus an excellent use of shadows and lighting equate to this cover being at the top of the heap this year, a year that would also mark the end of Oliver Queen and the spotlight being placed on his successor.
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For the Punisher, the title goes to: The Punisher Vol. 2 #87. A terrifically coloured and stylized image that grabs our attention immediately and won’t let go. The Punisher is caught on live television as he discharges his weapons in public. The sheer force of violence on display is so powerful that the television set itself is exploding, marred by countless bullet holes as if it was the intended target. As the screen gives way, we glimpse the scene at an unusual angle, an angle that is off kilter and brings to light something off kilter in its own right: why is the Punisher wearing a mask? Sure it makes for a terrific visual but is there a deeper reason? And why is Frank Castle being so careless as to be caught on national television? Unless…he’s being framed by another? Regardless of the answer, we are treated to one kinetic cover that is all the better by limiting its colour palette while gifting us a truly marvelous image to gawk at.
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So that’s it for this week. Agree/Disagree? Which covers are your personal favourites from this week? Comment below!

9 thoughts on “Retroactive: Green Arrow 1995 & The Punisher 1994

  1. Great covers you choice, really difficult to decide, as these covers were really good. I liked Green Arrow Vol II 97 with Green Arrow evading a hail of gunfire, its a really dramatic and exciting cover. Punisher Vol 2 #89 is also really good, with Punsher standing in the rain, guns drawn in a classic stance ready to strike. Really enjoying this retroactive feature, fun to discover all these great covers.

    • “I liked Green Arrow Vol II 97 with Green Arrow evading a hail of gunfire, its a really dramatic and exciting cover.”
      Ever since wwayne made his comment about the guys looking like Judge Dredd that is all I see. Nice pick regardless.

      “Punisher Vol 2 #89 is also really good, with Punsher standing in the rain, guns drawn in a classic stance ready to strike.”
      A nice strong visual indeed.

      “Really enjoying this retroactive feature, fun to discover all these great covers.”
      I’m glad to hear it. And thanks for providing your choices.

  2. When you see two men and a woman on the cover of a superhero comic book, 9 times out of 10 one man is a hero, the other man is a villain, and the woman is a damsel in distress.
    The cover for Punisher # 96 is a marvellous reversal of this cliché. In this image a FEMALE character is holding a MAN in distress; also, behind them there isn’t a hero, but the quintessential antihero, also known as the one and only Frank Castle.
    I also love how light and shadow are combined on Frank’s face and on the jacket of the other man, how the blonde hair of the woman stand out against the blue surrounding her, the detailed background behind Frank… the more I look at this cover, the more I’m willing to give it the gold medal.
    The cover Paul Bowler chose comes very close in my personal ranking: I think that the pouring rain creates a delightful atmosphere in superhero comics, so, each time I see it on a cover, I instantly feel attracted to it.
    Bronze medal for Punisher # 88. As you know, pencillers used to draw a lot of pouches and impossibly hypertrophic muscles in the 90s, and this cover proves it in a very effective way. Probably 9 readers out of 10 would look at this image with a glaring or disgusted face; as for me, muscular superheroes remind me of my childhood, so I really couldn’t leave this cover out of the podium.
    If my memory does not fail me, Punisher # 97 is a very important issue. As the cover suggests, in that issue Frank decided to kill his tech sidekick, Microchip; some years later Garth Ennis decided to resurrect him, but a few issues later the Punisher killed him once again. Being Frank’s sidekick isn’t good for your health. : )
    As for Oliver, Green Arrow # 97 has a lot of eye – pleasing details: the dynamic pose of the hero in the foreground, the bullets flying all over him (it takes a big fat suspension of disbelief to accept that none of those 8 bullets hit the target, now that I think about it), the Judge – Dredd – like outfit of the villains… yes, this cover definitely deserves the first prize.

    • “I also love how light and shadow are combined on Frank’s face and on the jacket of the other man, how the blonde hair of the woman stand out against the blue surrounding her, the detailed background behind Frank… the more I look at this cover, the more I’m willing to give it the gold medal.”
      What also grabs my attention personally with this cover is the film strip motif. I wonder what type of significance it holds? As for me, my runner-up would be #86. Another interesting angle as the Punisher blows a hole through a wall with his rapid-fire bullet barrage.

      “If my memory does not fail me, Punisher # 97 is a very important issue. As the cover suggests, in that issue Frank decided to kill his tech sidekick, Microchip; some years later Garth Ennis decided to resurrect him, but a few issues later the Punisher killed him once again. Being Frank’s sidekick isn’t good for your health.”
      Very interesting. Why would Frank feel the need to kill his sidekick? And then to have the poor guy be “resurrected” only to kill him again? Poor Micron. What awful luck…

      “As for Oliver, Green Arrow # 97 has a lot of eye – pleasing details: the dynamic pose of the hero in the foreground, the bullets flying all over him (it takes a big fat suspension of disbelief to accept that none of those 8 bullets hit the target, now that I think about it), the Judge – Dredd – like outfit of the villains… yes, this cover definitely deserves the first prize.”
      Who needs to be bulletproof when the bullets just whiz around you? 🙂 As for the Judge Dredd connection, you are absolutely spot on. The artist must have been a big fan. My personal runner-up would be the fantastic montage of scenes that takes place on Green Arrow Annual #7.

      Thanks, as always, for sharing your selections!

      • “Why would Frank feel the need to kill his sidekick?” I have read barely anything of the pre – Garth Ennis Punisher, so I can’t telly you why Frank killed Microchip for the first time; as for the second time, Frank decided to kill him again because Microchip had become a criminal.
        “Thanks, as always, for sharing your selections!” Thank you as well for your compliments and for your replies! : )

        • “I have read barely anything of the pre – Garth Ennis Punisher, so I can’t telly you why Frank killed Microchip for the first time”

          According to Wikipedia: “Micro had a falling out with Castle due to their disagreements over his methods, his feeling that Castle had lost sight of their original goals and had gone over the edge. Soon after, Micro then tried to replace Castle with a new handpicked “Punisher”, former Navy Seal Carlos Cruz. Micro and Castle eventually came face to face in one of Micro’s safehouses in what appeared to be a final confrontation. A gun battle ensued between the two former partners. This battle was interrupted by rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Derek “Stone Cold” Smalls, who had been part of a program to take down vigilante groups and had himself gone vigilante. Smalls fires a rocket into the safe house, killing Microchip. Castle later moves on, unsure if he would have really slain Microchip himself.”

          • Thank you for the detailed summary. Also, my runner-up is Green Arrow # 101, and even in this case my choice is due to childhood memories: when I was a child I read a few Superman stories, and in those issues Clark was long haired, as it is in the cover for Green Arrow # 101. I still read those old Superman issues from time to time, because they brilliantly stood the test of time. I miss the long haired Superman sooo much… thank you for your replies! : )

            • Green Arrow #101 is a very significant issue as well for Oliver Queen… You chose a runner-up that not only grabbed you visually but is a hallmark issue as well. 🙂

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