Issue(s): Punisher #21
There's also a dedication to Denny O'Neil in this issue.
The Punisher really has a lot of different crimes that he's interested in pursuing. In this issue, he takes on a corrupt boxing manager. He suspects that the manager has been drugging his boxer's opponents, but this time he thinks that he's going to drug his own boxer while betting against him. And he's right, that's what happens. Punisher is unable to stop it because he winds up getting drugged himself.
The issue opens with a defense of boxing against "the liberals".
Here's the corrupt manager, Les Daniels, and the boxer, BJ Johnson.
Very blocky art from Larsen with McFarlane influences.
Punisher goes a round with Johnson as a volunteer sparring partner. Punisher cheats in the ring...
...but the boxer is cool about it. For the Punisher, the point was to confirm that Johnson is in shape and that there's no reason for him to easily lose in the upcoming match.
After the practice bout, Johnson buys the Punisher a drink, and we're introduced to his girlfriend, Iris.
She's a weird looking cartoon character, but from the reaction from everyone else, we're supposed to think she's beautiful.
Later, the Punisher practices... something.
And Microchip investigates Iris and finds that she has a degree in Pharmacology as well as a different kind of degree from Scully's Ninja Training Camp".
Punisher prepares an antidote (a universal antidote?) and then goes to investigate Iris, but winds up getting himself stabbed and injected with poison.
Thanks for the butt.
Iris then leaves him there, so he's forced to sit there, paralyzed, as Johnson mysteriously drops in the middle of the fourth round of the big match. He manages to recover just enough to bring his hand to his pocket and then his mouth to deliver the antidote before Daniels arrives to kill him.
He beats Daniels with the same cheat moves he used against Johnson.
And then stabs him with the drug that Daniels was going to kill him with.
At the end, he finds a brochure for Scully's Ninja School in Iris' room.
Punisher will spend the next two issues at Scully's looking for information to hunt down Iris.
Long term, i think Erik Larsen is one of the better Image artists, if not in terms of technical ability at least in terms of enthusiasm and creativity. But the art here is pretty wonky. I do continue to enjoy Baron's writings despite what i think is an odd choice of subject.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #22 doesn't necessarily continue directly from this. At least enough time is needed to allow Punisher to travel to Kansas.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Punisher using the name Frank Castle when he's undercover makes no sense since it's got to be in some official records.
Posted by: Michael | October 9, 2014 9:09 PM
Erik Larsen's style is very cartoony indeed, and Iris is the most Larken-like of his characters in these panels. At this point he was still trying to be slightly photo-realistic, as well as more influenced by McFarlanne.
I assume he just associates his own cartoony style with sexyness, at least for women.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | October 9, 2014 9:34 PM
Hey, fnord, I think you mean Erik Larsen's run will only last five issues not "give".
Posted by: JSfan | October 10, 2014 6:51 AM
Thanks JSfan and Michael who pointed this out in the forum. And no, i wasn't trying to extort anyone into giving me their issues.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 10, 2014 7:24 AM
A humble observation regarding the comic samples above from a Swedish POW. I read the above comic in Sweden and the print was on crisp white high quality paper. Oh mates I really feel bad for you having to read this awesome comic on the worst quality smear out everything to a fog paper... Is the print really that bad or is it the scan?
I would like to thank for the invaluable information page!
Posted by: Silverbullit | July 13, 2015 5:05 AM
@Silverbullit: better paper is often something of a mixed blessing, at least when the art was not prepared for it originally. It tends to give weird coloring results and upset the contrasts.
Also, believe me, the newspaper paper used in most comics until sometime in the late 1980s was part of their charm.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 13, 2015 9:25 AM
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