Characters Appearing: Adrian Sammish, General Lewis Haywerth, Henry Peter Gyrich, Microchip, Paladin, Punisher, Raymond Sikorski, USAgent, Valerie Cooper
Punisher: No Escape
Issue(s): Punisher: No Escape
The story starts with a series of killings internal to the Maggia, i.e. the Maggia is killing off members of the organization that are disloyal or being investigated by the Feds. The Punisher gets involved because the Maggia is killing innocent family members as well. And so when he goes after one Maggia guy that is being targeted, and that guy kills himself rather than talk to the Punisher, the Punisher thinks to himself, "He was protecting his family. I respect that.".
When the Punisher gets involved, the Maggia hires the Paladin to stop him.
Independent of all of this, the Commission for Superhuman Activities sends USAgent after the Punisher.
Paladin sets a trap for the Punisher. Punisher falls for it, but puts up a fight.
However, the Paladin has super-strength (something i never really realized, but it does say so even in the first Marvel Handbook).
So the best the Punisher can do is escape. But he falls for a trap set by Paladin a second time, and gets stunned. Punisher manages to stop Paladin by punching him in the balls...
...but there are still two Maggia goons ready to kill him. Luckily that's when USAgent shows up. Paladin mistakes him for Captain America.
I wonder which alliance with the Avengers Paladin has in mind.
Anyway, USAgent is really after the Punisher.
USAgent also has super-strength, of course.
But the Punisher uses the fact that USAgent is unstable, and believes that his parents are still alive, to convince him to help him stop the Maggia.
Meanwhile, though, Paladin kidnaps Micro while Micro is out to the 7-11 to fill up on pork rinds. Paladin uses Micro at bait, conveniently enough at the mansion of the Maggia chief that the Punisher is going after. So Punisher and USAgent team up to fight Paladin and go after the Maggia boss.
Paladin tries to tell USAgent that the Punisher is a wanted criminal and a psychopath, but USAgent gives the Punisher the ringing endorsement of "He's as sane as I am". USAgent breaks both of Paladin's legs and follows the Punisher into the Maggia boss' home.
It's worth noting that the Maggia has connections inside the Superhero Commission.
Again, USAgent isn't the best judge of sanity.
In the end, the Punisher rescues Micro and kills the Maggia boss, faking his own death in a grenade explosion. Paladin somehow gets away. And the USAgent tells the Commission that the Punisher is dead (which he believes).
This was fun. It's nice seeing Paladin where he doesn't wind up on the side of the angels (yes, the Punisher is a wanted criminal, but Paladin was still working for the Maggia). And i like the idea that the government is taking an interest in the Punisher (of course we know that Nick Fury tacitly approves of him).
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This has to take place prior to USAgent learning that his parents really are dead, in Captain America #378. The MCP have the Paladin's next appearance as Captain America #381, which of course makes no reference to Paladin recovering from two broken legs, but it's not like we'll get that anywhere else. Maybe Paladin has a healing factor in addition to super-strength.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Fnord, I think "alliance with the Avengers" isn't the best wording but Wright is probably thinking with Paladin's encounters with various Avengers in Avengers 251, 271 and 273. The problem is Cap wasn't there for any of them.
Posted by: Michael | July 24, 2015 7:05 PM
It was this book that caused me to end my Punisher collecting, and to stop regularly buying Marvels in general. I'd already dumped several titles in late 1988 due to what I considered to be a downgrade in art and/or writing. I'd stuck with the Punisher because I'd had all his appearances since he showed up in 1974--but now, I became convinced that Marvel was just plain abusing its readers' wallets. All those expensive hardcover GNs were one thing, but sticking THIS THING in the expensive bookshelf format? When the script, art, and production deserved no more than a $2.99 special at best? No, I'd had it. After this, my Marvel consumption was restricted to the occasional limited series(for example, Infinity Gauntlet, Avengers Forever), a special issue once in a while, and stuff by creators I followed(like Warren Ellis). I wouldn't go back to buying Marvel regularly until Joe Quesada took over.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 24, 2015 7:57 PM
I actually liked this story, but agree it wasn't up to what should have been prestige format. Unfortunately, Marvel was putting out a lot of material at this time in higher priced formats that did not deserve it.
Posted by: Chris | July 24, 2015 10:20 PM
Adrian Sammish should be listed as a character appearing- John refers to him as "Mr.Sammish".
Posted by: Michael | July 24, 2015 11:10 PM
As for Paladin's strength, i mean, Daredevil has also gone toe-to-toe with Spider-Man but it doesn't mean he has super-strength. I've always just thought of the Paladin as an agile guy with a gun and body armor. No big deal; his strength just never stood out to me.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 24, 2015 11:36 PM
It's also possible Paladin's legs weren't really broken, just painful. Especially if he managed to get away.
I don't think the source of Paladin's strength has been mentioned anywhere.
Posted by: kveto | July 25, 2015 1:28 AM
Yeah, I don't recall ever hearing of the source of Paladin's super-strength, but I know it was referenced before this. He specifically mentioned it during his fight with Grey Gargoyle in AVENGERS #271 (as he is lifting a solid stone desk off himself, as I recall).
Posted by: Dermie | July 25, 2015 1:53 AM
Paladin was mentioned having super strength in the 80's handbook.
Posted by: entzauberung | July 25, 2015 4:09 AM
yes, that is mentioned by fnord above in the review.
Posted by: kveto | July 25, 2015 4:14 AM
I'm by no means a Punisher fan, but even then I am glad I never even learned of this story before. By this point Marvel had clearly given up on any serious attempts at developing consistent plots or even a clear status quo.
In this story that is evidenced by the intentional ambiguity about how insane exactly USAgent is; how honest exactly the Commission is and what goals it has; and the avoidance of doing anything of note with the very plot-worthy contradictions of the dealings of character such as Punisher with the likes of Nick Fury, Moon Knight, and the Commission and its pawns.
Overall, many stories of this time have a lot of posturing and persistent attempts at teasing, for ultimately little coherence and less pay-off.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 25, 2015 7:48 AM
There was various talk in fan publications at the time in 1989-1991 that Marvel was hoping to use the Punisher as "their" Batman since the 1989 Batman movie was huge and really boosted DC comics in the marketplace (lots of Batman graphic novels and limited series at this time too).
Posted by: Chris | July 26, 2015 12:37 AM
As Michael says, Paladin very clearly has superhuman strength in Spectacular 105 (the first Paladin comic I read), he punches through a brick gatepost that Spidey lands on, and it's not shown to be an effort at all. He also shows super strength in Avengers 271 and Amazing 320. I think the handbook has him able to lift 1 or 2 tons.
Posted by: Jonathan | July 26, 2015 11:23 AM
I thought the fact that USAgent was the former Cap replacement was suppose to be a secret? (Hence the "covet identity")
Posted by: Jon Dubya | January 29, 2017 11:18 PM
There's no secret that the Punisher can't find out about. He has a very good informant.
Posted by: clyde | January 30, 2017 12:33 PM
USAgent's former role as the Commission's substitute Captain America does seem to be one of the worst-kept secrets in the Marvel universe, right up there with Daredevil's secret identity.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 30, 2017 12:45 PM
Comments are now closed.
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