Issue(s): Punisher #12, Punisher #13
He's also got some views on torture.
The Punisher disguises himself as a trucker on his way to the Utah prison, and that leads to a scene where he turns down a proposition by a waitress by claiming he's found the Lord.
There's a radical anarchist group, a direct analogue to the Manson family led by a guy named Charlie "Samson".
You all know Samson, don't you? In 1972, he led his band of hippy pranksters out of the Hollywood hills, into the home of expatriate film director Nor Kozalwoski. Kozalwoski wasn't home, but his pregnant wife, Julia, was. Samson's gang slaughtered her and three others as part of their "war" on rich capitalist pigs.
The Samson followers are planning to free Saunders, and the Punisher pretends to be from their group while rescuing him. But he fails to say the code word, and Saunders knocks him out and then the real radicals show up.
It turns out the Samson gang aren't even interested in Saunders anymore, so they kill him and leave with the Punisher's truck full of weapons.
The Punisher is left to be captured by the cops, but he is rescued by his contact at the prison where Saunders was being kept. Dude is totally cut.
This prison guard guy is sympathetic to the Punisher's cause, to say the least, and he insists on going along with the Punisher and bringing his wife and station wagon. The wife is also a prison guard.
They are both kind of nutty, especially the wife, Conchita.
She makes a pass at the Punisher later.
The Punisher and his weird sidekicks' operation against the Samson gang doesn't go well at first, and some police officers are shot.
And Charlie Samson nearly gets away.
Then the male prison guard sacrifices himself by blowing up the Punisher's truck, taking out the gang, and the Punisher manages to shoot down Samson. Conchita survives, and we'll be seeing her again.
It's worth noting that this whole thing is a disaster for the Punisher. Saunders was on death row; he wasn't going anywhere. And the Feds already knew about the Samson gang's planned break-out operation, so they could have been caught as well, but the Punisher needed to go and free Saunders so he could torture and kill him. Instead, Saunders would have escaped if it wasn't for the whims of the other radicals, and the Punisher got his weekend warrior prison guard friend killed as well as some police officers, and it could have been a lot worse. When i saw how this story opened my first thought was that it's here that we're seeing the conservative anti-crime fantasy that i've been looking for in Mike Baron's Punishers getting played out, but i'm left wondering if the intention was actually to show how wrong-headed that kind of thinking is.
I like Whilce Portacio's work on this title, but it's worth noting that his Punisher is getting younger looking and has free flowing hair that i don't think is a great look for the disciplined, tightly wound character.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Not sure why the Manson Family-analogues were called "pranksters". Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters never killed anybody.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 13, 2014 10:35 PM
I'll have to check later on, but I have an idea in the back of my head that Fraction's 'War Journal' run had Punisher condemning torture as ineffective.
Posted by: cullen | July 13, 2014 10:46 PM
You have these issues between Spectacular 142 and 143 where Castle is under the Persuader's control.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | August 2, 2014 1:20 AM
Thanks Erik and Michael who also pointed this out in Spectacular Spider-Man #143's entry. I did make that note in the Spectacular Spider-Man #140-142 entry but was waiting to read Punisher #14 and Punisher War Zone #1 before deciding whether it mattered if it was moved before or after the Spider-Man issues. Having read them now, it's clear it doesn't matter and i've moved this before.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 2, 2014 1:25 PM
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