Marvel’s new “What If?” series’ have taken the comic month by storm. Creators are coming up with insanely cool ideas for Marvel characters in alternate universes. Such as, “What Would Happen If This Character Never Was This Thing?” It’s much cooler than that, but trust us, you gotta read this series. Today’s addition to this series is: What If? Peter Parker Became The Punisher #1. Who would’ve thought? We wouldn’t! So, let’s take a gander.
A Tale As Old As Time…
Everyone knows the story of Peter Parker, right? Bit by a radioactive spider that generated him the powers he has as Spider-Man. Parker neglected to heed his adage which resulted in a personal tragedy of his Uncle Ben. From that point on, Peter Parker declared to never use his powers for evil and only responsibly. However, what if there was a twist of fate? What if a twist of fate showed Parker a different way of looking at responsibility? What if Parker found another way to protect his loved ones?
With Great Power, There Must Come Great Responsibility.
Uncle Ben from Spider-Man.
The Story Of What If? Peter Parker Became The Punisher #1
The concept of What If? Peter Parker Became The Punisher #1 is one of the most original thus far in the series. In this one-shot, we get Parker restarting his life but as The Spider-Punisher reboot. Instead of Peter Parker becoming just Spider-Man, he decided to become the Punisher and create vengeance on the people who have wronged others.
He uses guns, explosives, and violence in order to do so (like The Punisher does). This is interesting because Spider-Man who is similar to Captain America doesn’t use any form of violence in his heroism. To see him thus using violence is interesting to picture Parker in. So, instead of a radioactive spider biting Spider-Man, it is presumed that a ‘Punisher’ spider bit him instead. Throughout this issue, the writing is incredible.
Beloved Characters Changing Forms
In these one-shots, it is hard to picture these characters as anything but because we know them so well. But, these creators and artists have been doing an amazing job of allowing the reader to picture these loved characters as something else. We were uncertain about how Parker would be as Castle, but this, in turn, convinced us that maybe he should have been and this should be a real series afterward.
The events in Parker’s life remain the same, however. Parker still battles Green Goblin, his roommate is still Harry Osborn, and his girlfriend is still Gwen Stacy (who almost dies, but does not). Some events are altered from Parker being Punisher. Such as, Gwen being saved from Green Goblin. In The Amazing Spider-Man series, she was not able to be saved. In this turn of events, she was able to be saved and for the sake of love, Parker gave up his Punisher alter-ego.
The Art In What If? Peter Parker Became The Punisher #1 Is Impeccable
The art in this one-shot reminds me of the old-school Spider-Man comics, which we loved dearly. Together Juanan Ramírez, Rachelle Rosenberg, and VC’s Travis Lanham do an outstanding job on the art for this issue. The suit of Parker is one of the best aspects of this one-shot. Especially because this is the first time we are kind of seeing a sort of Spider-Punisher mash-up. The fighting panels are some of our favorites as well – certain panels are colorful and vibrant and that is what we expect from a Spider-Man comic.
The characters, in the same notion, look grand. Peter, Gwen, Goblin, Harry, and the rest of the gang all look like old-school Spider-Man comics. Even the addition of Frank Castle towards the last two pages give us great old-school looking Castle. The artist team is incredible on this issue and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Dark tones when needed, light tones when needed and they both are transcended perfectly in the tone of each page.
The Takeaways From What If?
Now a few great takeaways happen in this one-shot. While Parker changes who he is as a hero, it doesn’t effect much of his actual life. The only change is Gwen Stacy. Otherwise, he ends up fighting the same villains, going down the same route, and doing the same events he did as Spider-Man. This is interesting because usually What If’s change the path one takes.
While it did change the path Spider-Man took since he decided to take give up his mantle for Gwen. At the same time, this happened before as well where Spider-Man decided to give up being Spider-Man. So, the question is… does the hero make the person or does the person make the hero? At the end of the day, Castle’s family is still murdered in a similar fashion and at the end, we can assume he becomes the Punisher after finding the outfit.
The only outcome that changed was Gwen. This truly creates a discussion for readers. You are the hero you are, at the end of the day, Parker was going to make the same decisions he made before simply because he is who he is. Parker is a good person, someone who truly understands what being a hero is and what giving up that heroism does. The decision may be hard, but Parker understands that. Therefore, we ask the question again, What If? Peter Parker Became The Punisher?