Characters Appearing: Punisher
Punisher: Return to Big Nothing
Issue(s): Punisher: Return to Big Nothing
The story has the Punisher stumbling onto a drug and slavery ring run by a Cambodian gang but managed by (one of) the Punisher's old sergeants from Vietnam. We get to see an eager and enthusiastic pre-war Punisher.
You might think that Sgt. Gorman is giving the snotty young recruit Frank Castle a well deserved smackdown here, but Gorman turns out to be the bad guy even in the Vietnam days.
The camp where these soldiers are waiting is called the Big Nothing, and that's the nickname that Gorman gives to Castle. But Gorman's real offense is running a drug ring while in 'Nam (just like every Vietnam War associate of the Punisher's that we've seen, i think!), and the way he transports the drugs is by killing off squadmates and filling their bodies with the drugs. Punisher, who was put on point by Gorman, is blamed for not protecting the squad from "enemy fire".
Gorman is aware that the Punisher is coming for him, but doesn't seem aware of the Punisher's rep. He only knows that he could handle Frank Castle in 'Nam so he can do it now.
But, after many ins and outs...
...that turns out to not be the case, because the Punisher isn't Castle any more.
One other kind of random thing to note. At one point at the end of the war when Castle's squad is fleeing in a helicopter, Frank gives up his seat to a guy that works for Fisk Spices International.
He ends up getting on a different helicopter with Gorman and his Cambodian cronies.
Frank gets shot and left behind (but obviously survives). Just thought i'd point out the coincidental Kingpin-related incident.
I'll leave you with this image, mentioned in the Comments.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's a Punisher story so continuity is pretty much non-existent, but the MCP drop this between Punisher War Journal #9-10.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The concept of servicemen smuggling drugs via coffins/cadavers is based on the case of "American Gangster" Frank Lucas and his associate Ike Atkinson. There's lots of he-said/she-said regarding whether this actually happened, but it's certainly a well-known legend:
(tried to copy & paste the relevant bits, but it keeps giving me an error message. Check the section under 'The Cadaver Connection' for further details)
Posted by: cullen | November 14, 2014 5:16 PM
One scene in this was extremely bizarre to me when I first read it back then: a minor villain rides a prostitute like a horse, and that is presented as unbelievably degrading to the prostitute. Considering the sort of things routinely seen on cable TV(such as HBO's "Cathouse") I've gotta say that if THAT is considered to be horrendous degradation, then that had to be one orthodox vanilla brothel.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 14, 2014 10:30 PM
That was a weird image that i almost included. The villain was wearing his boxers at the time. The prostitute ends up shooting the guy dead, shocking the Punisher. I've added it now.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 14, 2014 10:58 PM
Yeah i read this when it came out, i was 11 and that scene totally threw me, wondering if that's what adults got up to! And I would have thought i was unshockable after reading Claremont X-Men since '85.
Posted by: Jonathan | July 26, 2015 11:41 AM
Steven Grant is one of the few writers whose work on the Punisher I actually liked. The handful of stories he did with the character were very good. The way Grant wrote the Punisher, the character was simultaneously scary and tragic. He was like a walking dead man, epsecially the way he thinks to himself "Frank Castle died with his family. I'm the Punisher." He's basically a sort of zombie, going through the motions of living, existing only for revenge. Grant definitely did not glamorize or idolize the Punisher, unlike some other writers such as Mike Baron.
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 14, 2017 8:40 AM
Comments are now closed.
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