Issue(s): Punisher #4, Punisher #5
We also meet his son, "Junior".
The main story has the Punisher infiltrating a cult led by "the Rev", aka Sammy Smith...
...a stand-in for Jimmy Jones of the Jonestown cult.
Smith even tries to get his followers to drink a cyanide concoction when some government officials try to inspect the cult.
The unusual thing is that the Rev demonstrates actual healing powers...
...and befuddles the Punisher with his touch.
Very supernatural (even though the character claims to be an atheist) for an early issue of the Punisher, which otherwise goes out of its way to keep separate from the rest of the Marvel universe, and even has Punisher and company doing research in the New York Times' archives instead of the Daily Bugle (although editorial responses in the lettercol assure us that the Punisher's book is definitely part of the Marvel universe and teases an upcoming crossover with Daredevil). The Punisher leaves the Rev alive...
...and Mike Baron will return to the character later in this series and even establish a connection with Belasco.
The Rev also has a sister with precognitive abilities.
The Punisher initially gets involved with the Rev because his regularly weapons supplier (note that Microchip does not supply weapons; he only sets-up things like the Punisher's van once the weapons have been supplied) is killed by the cult members. Punisher then gets info on the cult from a police officer whose wife joined the cult. The Punisher sleeps with the wife as as part of a forced communal free sex edict while he's infiltrating the cult, but he later restores the (reluctant) wife and child to the cop.
Note the publication months for these issues. I thought that might indicate a schedule problem relating to this being Klaus Janson's last issues, but as Mark points out in the comments, this book was actually on a six week release schedule. Too bad about Janson leaving; i've enjoyed his art on this series.
It does seem to get more blotchy than usual in issue #5.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I would begin reading this series with the first two Portacio issues. This was back in the days when it was cool to pick up a new comic with only a few issues in the can to hunt down later. I remember the excitement of jumping on to books which had just begun their runs instead of dropping them once the market was saturated in the early 90's.
Micro and his son were an important part of the series for me from the start. Micro was such a great character that he would eventually receive his own back-ups and even a mini-series.
Klaus Janson would later revisit Frank on the first issues of Punisher War Zone as the book's inker. He was born to work on characters such as this although his superhero stuff was always great. (I'm thinking Klaus' inks over Sal Buscema's pencils on their 70's Defenders run.)
Posted by: Clutch | April 16, 2014 10:58 AM
This book was initially published every 6 weeks; a weird schedule that Marvel never did otherwise.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 19, 2014 5:58 PM
Punisher War Journal was published every 6 weeks up until Acts of Vengeance, and Power Pack was as well, for most of 1987 until it ended it’s run.
It’s an interesting scheduling tic. Marvel had mostly stopped doing bimonthly after the cancellation of Cloak & Dagger and Dr. Strange at the end of ‘86. They added the 6-week schedule for Power Pack and Punisher in 87, but once C&D and DS were given their own titles following their Strange Tales run in ‘88, they both resumed bimonthly status.
Dr. Strange would revert to monthly by issue 5, leaving C&D as the last of the bimonthly titles for the Marvel Universe.
What The-? Would be bimonthly, as was Star Brand, and they were also around through the late 80’s (What the-? Into the 90’s).
Posted by: DW | January 28, 2018 9:59 PM
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