Punisher annual #3
Issue(s): Punisher annual #3
The story begins with someone breaking into a biotech company called Progamma and accidentally getting exposed to the genetic engineering product that they were trying to steal.
The Punisher had been tracking a lead about AIM trying to develop a biological weapon, so when he hears about the break-in he goes to investigate, disguising himself as an AIM agent.
An AIM agent says that they were hired by a Jethro Prufrock, but then the person infected by the Progamma strain returns to the AIM compound.
It turns out that the infected person is George Prufrock, son of Jethro.
Note that it seems like Jethro is talking to George. It will later turn out that Lifeform has a dual personality, so that may not actually be Jethro talking.
The Punisher escapes the AIM lab while AIM fights George. We learn from the Punisher's narration that Jethro Prufrock is a "perennial right-wing Libertarian candidate" that is an advocate for stockpiling weapons. Punisher had been "meaning to talk to Prufrock about alleged massive credit card theft" and of course now he's got a more pressing reason to pay him a visit. We find that Jethro also has a daughter, Martha.
Mike Baron has fun with Prufrock, making him a bit of a gullible conspiracy theorist, with a pair of "I knew it(s)!" after the Punisher says some outlandish stuff.
Then George, aka the titular Lifeform, shows up.
Lifeform kills his father, but Martha leads the Punisher to her father's weapons stockpile, and Punisher finds a rocket launcher.
Punisher assumes that Lifeform is killed after getting blown into the water, but obviously that won't be the case
Mike Baron keeps things relatively grounded. AIM is an "exotic weapons dealer" and therefore something that it makes sense for the Punisher to be interested in. Lifeform being created by biotech is implausible by real life standards, but it's as close to realistic as you're going to get in a story that the Punisher is sharing with the likes of the Hulk and Silver Surfer. The biotech angle and the politics are in line with Baron's regular series' tendency to include topical ideas (the Punisher says that he'd actually be doing the American political scene a favor if he let Jethro die, but i don't know if that's because of Jethro's Libertarian politics or just because Jethro was a corrupt nut). Neil Hansen's Lifeform is pretty grotesque but he does look like someone that the Punisher can handle with the right firepower.
This annual also includes the usual nonsense, including a "Punisher's Fighting Techniques" section (spoiler alert: he hurts people bad), some pin-ups of guns, a silly story where the Punisher dreams of going to Hell, and a solo Micro story where he meets an old lady that was being scammed by a fake charity, so he hacks their network.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Punisher makes a reference to not expecting to get on a motorcycle again "so soon after my set-to with Sniper. Too bad it's not him in my crosshairs". I have no idea what that's referring to. Sniper's first two appearances were a while ago at this point, and neither involved a motorcycle. Sniper does appear in Punisher War Journal #21, which was published around this time, but his scene only involves getting recruited by the Arranger; he doesn't fight the Punisher. And unless the MCP is missing some of his appearances, Sniper's next appearance is a 1993 miniseries. So i guess i'm just ignoring that comment.
See also the Considerations for the other annuals in this event, starting with Daredevil annual #6.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
You say that this should take place after Punisher War Journal 21 but you have it before Punisher War Journal 19.
Posted by: Michael | June 16, 2015 8:15 AM
I'll adjust it when i get to PWJ #21, honest!
Posted by: fnord12 | June 16, 2015 9:37 AM
Fnord, I have to wonder if that Sniper reference was to the Wolverine/Punisher: Damaging Evidence series. The Damaging Evidence series was in the works for years- it takes place some time after the death of the Arranger but before Pierce's defeat at the hand of Fitzroy- it might have been originally intended to take place before the Lifeform series but gotten delayed. Can anyone check if the Punisher rides a motorcycle at any point during Damaging Evidence?
Posted by: Michael | June 24, 2015 8:02 PM
I did a flip through and no motorcycles. Which doesn't mean you're wrong; it's obvious the story went through changes since the beginning, the most obvious example being the new female Arranger.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 24, 2015 8:24 PM
Jethro Prufrock seems to be a parody of Lyndon Larouche, given his talk of being a Presidential candidate, his conspiracy theory leanings, and his credit card fraud convictions.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 15, 2015 1:17 PM
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