How likely is it that a school kid could not only locate the Punisher’s hideout, but break in and steal a gun? The credibility problems that plagued End of the Line are there again to begin King of the New York Streets, but thankfully only a starting blip rather than an annoyance throughout. Becky Cloonan returns the Punisher to New York in a series of one-off episodes that give him a problem to solve and let him solve it in his typically violent way.

Park muggers, wife beaters, museum thieves, and someone who pushes people in front of trains are not, on the face of it, foes who should give the Punisher pause for thought, but Cloonan complicates events so they’re not the easy prey they might be. Kris Anka draws the first story very nicely, and Matt Horak, who didn’t really impress previously, shows what he can do when plots play to his strengths. These are set in gloomy locations, don’t require facial close-ups, and with Lee Loughridge Horak has a very sympathetic colourist able to light his work sensitively.

The Face from End of the Line is a villain who might been forgotten, but transformed into someone who can no longer feel pain. When the plot calls for someone to hold a theatre full of people hostage, it may as well be someone with whom the Punisher has unfinished business. Horak comes up with a notable visual design, and Cloonan’s plot is given a cinema verité touch by the would-be documentary director trapped in the building. Bonus points for the macabre ending.

Much of this content is intended as tongue in cheek and works as such, and while not Earth-shattering, at least Coover’s final Punisher collection is readable.