Issue(s): Punisher #33, Punisher #34
I, of course, love the Marvel universe and have no problem with an appearance by the Reavers.
The story is also a deviation from the Punisher book's formula in another way. Instead of the Punisher picking some target and then working his way towards shooting that target, the story this time is the other way around, with the Reavers coming after the Punisher. The Punisher and Micro attract the Reavers attention when Micro detects someone hacking into the computer systems of a company called Jade Aerospace, that specializes in "micro-miniaturization and exo-skeletons". When Micro attempted to trace that hack back to the source, he was detected by the people responsible: the Reavers.
Mike Baron's Reavers, and especially Donald Pierce, are on the cartoonish side, with Pierce ranting about "the mutants". Or maybe he's just paranoid.
He sounds a little more rational explaining to Lady Deathstrike why he doesn't think the hack was anything important.
But everyone's talk of "mutants" in a very generic sense sounds off to me. And the other Reavers weirdly become convinced that the hack was from Wolverine specifically. I've been enjoying Baron's writing on the Punisher. He's got what i've generally thought of as a nice, sparse, realistic scripting style. But maybe now i'm glad that his success on this title didn't lead to him becoming the writer on Avengers or something.
In any event, it's only Bonebreaker, Pretty Boy, and Reese that are sent to investigate Micro's hack. Pierce and Lady Deathstrike stay behind and make out for the rest of the two issues, and no other Reavers are seen in these issues.
Gateway is said to be "off singin' to the land" (which seems to imply that he's not exactly being held against his will) so the Reavers have to go to America by supersonic jet. And since the Punisher is anticipating someone coming in response to Micro's hack, that gives him time to prepare.
Part of that preparation is setting up the "Dalek" that we saw previously in Punisher #15.
They also have an escape route planned, although the Punisher is worried about catching AIDS in the sewer.
The Punisher is afraid that the people coming are "mutants or super-criminals" or perhaps agents of Kristoff.
"Super-criminals" is more or less correct, but the Punisher winds up sticking to the idea that it's Kristoff, which is odd since he knows they're coming because Micro hacked their network. Kristoff is already mad at him and it would be a weird coincidence for Micro to have hacked into his network by accident.
Eventually the Reavers show up. I liked the way the conversation went at first...
But it weirdly goes sideways after that. The Punisher initially said we thought you were someone else and that the hack was basically an accident, but instead of sticking to that, as a follow-up he goes with the technically true but obviously irrelevant statement that he didn't do it.
So the Punisher winds up in a fight with the Reavers.
The Reavers quickly overpower the Punisher and his defenses, and he and Micro are forced to flee through the sewer.
The Reavers go to Pierce's Manhattan apartment to figure out their next move. Micro takes the Punisher to a junkyard run by a cousin named Elliot that has a side business in arms dealing (business has been bad since Congress banned funding to the Contras). Elliot happens to have an experimental exo-skeleton from a "think tank that went bankrupt" among his wares, so Micro fixes that up for the Punisher.
You can probably hear the howls of outrage from purist Punisher fans even now.
When Micro was following the initial hack from the Reavers, he noticed a relay going through Manhattan, and he traces it now to Pierce's apartment. Which again serves only to alert the Reavers to their location.
I have to admit this is a little too weird for a Punisher (or possibly any) book:
Unless Pretty Boy's eyes are formed out of electrons, i don't know how they're coming out of a computer monitor.
So again the Punisher and his allies prepare themselves for the Reaver attack. Elliot has some remote controlled toy cars that they fill with gelignite. Then the Reavers arrive.
And here comes X-O Punisher.
The Reavers are impressed enough with the suit that they try to get a visual for Pierce, but as i mentioned earlier, he's too busy making out with Lady Deathstrike to look.
Even that suit is no match for the Reavers, though, and the Punisher is eventually forced to eject.
The art has been really great in these issues, but that sequence of the Punisher slipping out of the suit is pretty terrible.
The suit explodes as he flees, leaving the Reavers damaged.
So they decide to leave. Even at the end, from Punisher and Micro's perspective, it's tied to Kristoff.
I wonder if the idea is that the Punisher so rarely encounters "super" types that he just assumes that any he encounters would be related.
Throughout all of this, the Punisher had been thinking that Micro must be slipping if he carelessly decided to hack into a strange computer network to begin with. At the end, it turns out that Elliot has died during the Reaver attack. Micro is upset that his arms-dealing cousin has died. But the Punisher thinks to himself, "Sometimes I don't understand Micro. He knew as well as I that Elliot had to go. If those zoot-suiters hadn't killed him, I'd have had to do it myself."
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 184,265. Single issue closest to filing date = 227,700.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showBonebreaker, Gunny Bear, Lady Deathstrike, Microchip, Murray Reese, Pretty Boy, Punisher, White Bishop (Donald Pierce)
In the 60's radiation could do anything. In the 2000's it's genetic modification. In the 90's it was computers and virtual reality. If you thought Pretty Boy's eyes here are weird, wait until the female Doctor Octopus tries to merge the virtual world and the real world. Or when Venom and Carnage have a fight over the internet :P
Posted by: Berend | May 21, 2015 3:41 PM
"Gateway is said to be "off singin' to the land" (which seems to imply that he's not exactly being held against his will)".
Posted by: Michael | May 21, 2015 7:59 PM
Out of sheer curiosity: are Pierce and Deathstrike really making out in this story, or are you just being ironic, Fnord? ;)
If it's the former, maybe you could include some panels from their make-out session for our amusement :)
Posted by: Piotr W | May 22, 2015 6:22 AM
I kid you not. Added a scan.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 22, 2015 8:01 AM
Although I must say that Deathstrike making out with Pierce looks weird to me. Have they been shown as a pair anywhere else? Not to mention, Deathstrike didn't seem to interested in the initial scenes...
BTW. The dialogue there is kind of awful. "I want to go" - "But I want you to stay" - "I'll stay, because it suits me". Huh?
Anyway, Pretty Boy's eyes peeking out of Microchip's screen is awesome. Absurd, but awesome :)
Posted by: Piotr W | May 22, 2015 12:30 PM
Fnord, I hope you don't mind this but, I don't know how else to ask...
Piotr, are you the same Piotr that used to hang out on comicboards years ago? From Warsaw?
Posted by: kveto from prague | May 22, 2015 2:33 PM
Yes, that's me, actually :)
I'm not hanging out on Comicboards lately, as I'm kind of burned out on modern Marvel - after all these years, my suspension of disbelief simply gave up (Original Sin was the final straw, I think). But I still like reading about the old stuff...
Anyway, I think I remember you, Kveto! You were the Czech poster who talked to me a lot, right?
Posted by: Piotr W | May 22, 2015 3:40 PM
Bonebreaker and Pretty Boy were both in the Punisher arcade game, I guess these issues are the reason why.
Posted by: MegaSpiderMan | May 22, 2015 3:51 PM
Pierce was constantly putting the moves on Lady D. from Uncanny 252 onwards, so this is in keeping with the characterizations Claremont established. (Including Deathstrike being less into Pierce.)
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 22, 2015 6:07 PM
Hi Piotr, yeah, I'm the same Czech guy. I pretty much quit comicboards as well after I found this site.
Its good to see you around again. take care.
Posted by: kveto | May 23, 2015 1:46 AM
One of Reese's arms has been blown off, he's holding Bonebreaker with the other...how is he holding that gun, too?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 23, 2015 2:36 PM
In the third panel, the Punisher's quip about the 'Dalek' and asking if it could climb up the stairs was a bit old hat, as a Dalek (the actual Daleks) had been shown hovering up a set of stairs as the cliffhanger of Episode 1 of 'Remembrance of the Daleks' during the Sylvester McCoy era before 1990...
Posted by: Harry | May 27, 2015 12:54 PM
I suspect Elliott might be a reference to Eliot R. Brown, a Marvel assistant editor who provided technical drawings and advice for the marvel Handbooks; I think he was also advising the Punisher writers on military tech by this point, and will be in charge of the Punisher Armory comics that work as a technical handbook for Frank's arsenal.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 15, 2015 3:03 PM
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