Issue(s): Punisher #73, Punisher #74, Punisher #75
An organization named VIGIL has been set up. As we saw last issue, it's got a double remit: hunt down criminals the normal police can't handle, and hunt down vigilantes. It seems to focus more on the latter. This issue starts with them hunting down a minor vigilante (this is his only appearance) named Speedo (luckily not named for wearing a Speedo as a costume).
One problem we see right away is that the #2 guy at VIGIL is a bit aggressive.
The head guy is Mike 'Rusty' Nails. I wonder if he knows police detective Rebecca 'Rusty' Nales from the Cloak & Dagger series. I bet they glare at each other during police social functions. (For what it's worth, a news report calls him just "Nail" in issue #73, but it's "Nails" later in the story.)
Meanwhile, Punisher is scoping out the crack factory that he learned about last issue. It's run by a guy named MC, which is said to stand for various things (including, but not limited to, "Master of Crack", "Mind that Controls", "Maestro of Corruption"). Punisher finds that it's a bit of a fortress. People are searched for weapons when they enter. The lower level has junkies wandering around, making indiscriminate shooting more difficult (even the Punisher cares about such things). The upper floors are only accessible by an elevator. The elevator remains sealed, and a dealer deals drugs through a slot in the door. The elevator is monitored with a security cam and has two automated chain guns pointing down in front of it. It's fun to watch the Punisher infiltrate the building as a customer and scope it out.
Speaking of Speedos, the drug manufacturing is also done in the building, and the workers i guess aren't allowed to wear much clothes to cut down on theft.
VIGIL expects that Punisher will go after the factory, so they keep an eye on it.
And the Punisher does eventually attack, with robots sent by Micro drawing out the guards on the lower levels.
Punisher uses the distraction to appropriate one of the chain guns for himself (in addition to some weapons he did manage to sneak past the guards), and he makes it up the elevator.
Recoil works for MC, so Punisher has to contend with him.
I kind of thought this would be the end of Recoil, but it's even better than that.
Punisher makes it to MC when VIGIL shows up.
Punisher doesn't fight the police, so he surrenders, but they're interrupted by Recoil, who comes crashing out of the elevator shaft, high as a kite after getting his face shoved in the bowl of cocaine, and firing his machine gun.
MC escapes in a helicopter and Punisher jumps and grabs onto it. VIGIL follow in their own choppers. And here comes Recoil.
I don't know where he got that thing but i just love him flying down the avenue, bonkers on coke.
Punisher grabs a goon from MC's helicopter and tosses him at Recoil's, causing Recoil to crash in an explosion, and that really is the last of him.
Punisher eventually winds up back in the same situation as before, about to kill MC but stopped by Nails.
The Punisher arranges things so that Nails shoots MC.
On top of everything else, i think the Punisher just admitted to being a Scourge.
Nails then tries to arrest Punisher, but he's been wounded. Punisher tries to get him to go to the hospital, but Nails says he'd rather stay there and hold the Punisher until the rest of VIGIL arrive, even if it means that he'll die. So Punisher kicks away Nails' gun and then dresses his wound.
Abnett & Lanning will be back a couple more times on this series, but seemingly at random and interspersed with a hodgepodge of other creators. I've enjoyed what they've done so far. The Punisher is depicted with the kind of matter of fact grittiness that Mike Baron used, but the stories have more "continuity", not necessarily with the larger Marvel universe (although that was the case with Eurohit), but in that they're not simply one and done crimes of the month. I'm disappointed to see their run end. Doug Braithwaite's art is disappointing though. I think he naturally has a style that i would call "messy" and then on top of that we have all the inkers, which means these issues were particularly rushed. But even #75, which just has reliable Josef Rubinstein on inks, doesn't look good. The scenes with Recoil high on cocaine should have been awesome, but i didn't even show most of them because they're just unremarkable (except for the big splash of him coming out of the elevator, which is horrible).
Issue #75 is an "anniversary" issue, is has an embossed and foil cover, which i like, and some crappy back-up stories, which i don't like. There's no point in talking about the back-ups since nothing lasting happens, and one of them is only two pages. All told, the anniversary issue wasn't worth the extra $1.50.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: As noted last issue, Punisher didn't have to go after the crack factory right away, and VIGIL would have needed some time to get set up. So it's ok to have space between last issue and this arc.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBrady (VIGIL), Microchip, Mike 'Rusty' Nails, Punisher, Recoil, Riggs (VIGIL), Taylor Blackwell
Funny, Hawkeye interrogated a guy named Speedo back in Solo Avengers #9. There's no indication that the one appearing here is the same guy, I take it?
Posted by: MegaSpiderMan | May 10, 2016 1:15 PM
For a minute i thought you were on to something, MegaSpiderMan, but i was thinking of Bullet Biker. Speedo in Solo Avengers is just a low level criminal and doesn't ride a motorcycle. The Speedo in this story is described as "A vigilante who has been conducting a one-man campaign against the Park's muggers". The guy could have had a change of heart, i suppose, but it doesn't seem likely they are the same person. If he had a sidekick named Zipper, it'd be a different story...
Posted by: fnord12 | May 10, 2016 1:48 PM
Have any of the characters who belong to the VIGIL organization made any subsequent appearances? It would have seemed like a natural idea to either have SHIELD recruiting them to join their so-called "Cape Killers" division during the events of Civil War or for Norman Osborn to offer them a job during Dark Reign.
Posted by: Ben Herman | May 11, 2016 1:58 PM
pretty sure that Speedo dies in Solo #9 shot by blind justice (not that that matters in comics)
Posted by: kveto | May 11, 2016 3:08 PM
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