Issue(s): Punisher #22, Punisher #23
This time, the setting is the ridiculous sounding Scully's Ninja Camp, and he does a good job making it feel like a believable place with real characters. The "Ninjas" are really militia types running a kind of racket and extortion game on the people that sign up, so the fact that it's not a legitimate ninja setting (i.e., it's in Kansas and run by white guys) is the point.
Punisher is coming here because the poison expert from last issue took lessons at the camp. When he first arrives, he's bullied by the local toughs about going to a pajamaboy school...
...but it turns out to be a test and the main bully actually is Scully.
Frank is taken back to their camp and given a chance to rest before orientation.
I don't know what's going on with that shirt. Maybe Erik Larsen grew up learning how to draw from super-hero comics and didn't know how people in regular clothes are supposed to look. Maybe Larsen drew the Punisher shirtless and someone thought we couldn't handle the full-on sexiness of it so the inker and colorist did what they could. Maybe the Punisher has wrapped his body in blue saran wrap. Even if the Punisher wasn't wearing a shirt, the Punisher is incredibly ripped. That is a professional body builder an hour before a competition, after having carefully managed his hydration and sodium levels. That's not the body of a real human being, especially one that wants to have functional strength. But we'll be a seeing a lot more of that kind of muscle.
While he's resting, he notices that a female ninja has snuck into the room. And when she leaves, he's introduced to his roommate, Saracen.
A little later, we're introduced to Higganbotham, the editor of a gun magazine that is checking out the Ninja camp for his readers and sees a lot to criticize.
They later try to make an example of Higganbotham...
...and then the Punisher steps in. You've all seen scenes like this, but they are fun.
Frank is still tolerated after that.
Later, while, he, Saracen, and Higganbotham are left out overnight for survival training, Punisher breaks into Scully's house to check his records. He gets past Scully's dog using the old raccoon trick.
While he's inspecting the files, he meets that ninja again.
She is Kathryn Yakamoto, daughter of Hatsu Yakamoto, who Scully claims to have been trained by. Except that's not true, and Kathryn wants to shut down Scully's camp. She wants Frank's help, so she's led Scully and his two aides back to the house. Frank escapes by setting the house on fire as a distraction.
The camp runners aren't sure who was in the house, so they start hunting down everyone that was out for the survival training, including Frank, Saracen, and Higganbotham.
Punisher runs into the first of the teachers, and takes him out.
He doesn't kill him, which will kind of come back to bite him later.
Punisher then catches up with Saracen.
We learn that Saracen is from the Free Armenian Army, and he's also chasing Iris.
The agree to join forces, but they split up looking for the other teachers.
Here comes the first guy that the Punisher left alive.
That guy gets killed when his truck explodes thanks to shots from the second teacher, who the Punisher then kills.
And then it's down to just Scully and his dog.
Saracen has been shot at this point (and the Punisher is more interested in Scully's files than getting him to a hospital), but Kathryn returns to help Punisher against Scully.
Kathryn eventually blows up the building that they were fighting in. Punisher gets out with Saracen. Kathryn wound up taking all of Scully's files except the one on Iris, but she does invite him to the Yakamoto home.
I had hoped that with the explosion of Punisher titles i could save time on my project by just writing "The Punisher fights mobsters" for the descriptions of all of them. But i do find the Baron issues, especially, to be more engaging and worth fuller descriptions than that. And now he's developing some ongoing threads after the first year or so of self-contained stories.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Punisher's participation in Atlantis Attacks in Punisher annual #2 takes place next.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
When Punisher shows up during Larsen's ASM run, I remember he had these weird lines around his mouth that disturbed me. I couldn't tell if they were supposed to be scars or some sign of a venereal disease or what. They're absent in these issues, thankfully.
Posted by: Robert | October 9, 2014 5:27 PM
Looks like he does have a scar across his lips in the scene where Scully's about to sic his dog on him, though.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | October 9, 2014 8:30 PM
Yes you're right. I missed that before. Weird.
Posted by: Robert | October 9, 2014 8:56 PM
A lot of the early nineties art superstars seemed to get their Marvel start in Punisher - Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, and now Erik Larsen.
Posted by: Chris | October 9, 2014 10:34 PM
Interesting bit of trivia: Scully actually went on to be the first boss in the Capcom Punisher arcade game.
Posted by: mikrolik | April 4, 2015 11:50 AM
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