Characters Appearing: Angela (Trust), Derek Sternes, Harry Bendix, Lynn Michaels, Melinda Brewer, Mike 'Rusty' Nails, Payback, Punisher, Riggs (VIGIL)
Punisher War Journal #70-71
Issue(s): Punisher War Journal #70, Punisher War Journal #71 (main story only for issues #70-71)
The Punisher is still on the run and assumed dead after the events of Suicide Run. But there are wanted posters hung up around...
...and VIGIL is actively responding to potential Punisher sightings. 'Rusty' Nails is called in to deal one such sighting at a bar, but it turns out to actually be Payback.
After a long brawl, Nails subdues Payback. He accuses Payback of killing Harold Jessup, but Payback denies it, and Nails realizes that it could have been Taylor Blackwell (it was), and if so it means that Punisher's killing of Blackwell may not have been so bad after all. Nails brings the beaten-up Payback to Dr. Melinda Brewer, and learns that Brewer's other patient, Lynn Michaels, is gone. We see that she's off seeking Blackwell.
It's worth noting that this is all some pretty deep continuity for a Punisher comic. For a character where most stories can be casually read just to see which type of criminals he's blowing up this week, expecting readers to remember who Payback is and who Jessup and Blackwell were is unusual. And context clues won't necessarily help; i.e. Michaels gunning for Blackwell even though he's dead. I don't think it's bad, at all; just noting that the series is going more in the direction of, say, the X-Men, than the Punisher typically did in the past.
Meanwhile, the Punisher buys a car.
He also bribes the salesman to set him up in a service station so that he can do some work on the car. While he's there, a reporter, Lu Vincent, shows up because her car is acting funny. When the Punisher investigates, he finds that there's a bomb in it. She doesn't know why she's being targeted.
The assassins, now worried about exposure after the failed attempt, have to track down Vincent and the Punisher (who they assume is just an ordinary mechanic).
The Punisher defends Vincent from the assassins, but she realizes who he is after he drives away.
And we'll pause here because this is where the back-ups focusing on Jimmy Pierce which have been running since issue #67, catch up with the main story. (The back-ups are also why there isn't a lot of plot in these issues.)
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
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