Punisher War Journal #17-19
Issue(s): Punisher War Journal #17, Punisher War Journal #18, Punisher War Journal #19
But the Punisher soon gets home, hears the conversation between Micro and Tracy (recorded on the answering machine), and rushes off to get there before Micro gets himself in trouble.
If that seems like not enough plot for three issues, you're mostly right. But the story is padded by the inclusion of Punisher's sometime ninja ally, Rikichi, who decides to try to help the Punisher live up to the potential that his master saw in him. So he also goes to Hawaii and allies himself with the local kahuna.
This arc establishes that the Punisher is afraid by wide opened bodies of water...
...and later, while fighting the kidnappers, the Punisher winds up floating out to sea. While he's out there, we get a flashback to when he was a kid and he stole a raft from a nerdier kid, and then got lost at sea. He's then rescued by a shark sent by the kahuna...
...and then uses her powers to forgive (or "kala") his guilt over the childhood incident.
And that is supposed to remove the Punisher's fear of water. The Punisher isn't sure if he believes that the kahuna is really performing magic, or if it's just psychological, or nothing. But he does get over his fear of water. The kahuna notes that there is a lot more in the Punisher's psychology to kala, but she says that "there are times when guilt can be a good temporary impetus to accomplish things that need to be done" even though "eventually the unforgiven guilt will cause you to have other serious problems". But for now she focuses on the water phobia.
The kidnappers also have a kahuna, a former student of the one that helped the Punisher. The gang attacks her house while the Punisher is there, and he has to fight them off with only a pistol left behind in Hawaii by Captain Cook 200 years ago. It doesn't work so well.
But of course the Punisher survives, and eventually shoots everyone.
Micro helps up by taking advantage of the other kahuna's superstition and dressing up as the flaming skull.
The Punisher doesn't speak with Rikichi this issue, but Rikichi leaves him a note and a boogie board at the end. I don't think we ever hear from Tracy Wiggins again.
Carl Potts is perhaps trying too hard here. The Punisher really just needs a target and an issue or, at most, two, to hunt down the target and shoot it. I don't think he needs a ninja in his support cast, and he doesn't need a fake phobia made up so that it can be cured by a Hawaiian kahuna in the same arc. This is still an enjoyable and mostly content free story, allowing Jim Lee to just draw the Punisher shooting stuff and riding jet skis, but it runs the risk of getting into themes that the Punisher doesn't need to get into.
Also in these issues, the Kingpin tells the Arranger that he wants a new assassin.
The Arranger focuses on Damage, the gang leader from Punisher War Journal #8.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 243,025. Single issue closest to filing date = 222,800.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: From Hawaii in this story, the Punisher travels to various places around the world through Punisher War Journal #24, so he shouldn't elsewhere in between.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showArranger, Damage, Kingpin, Microchip, Punisher, Rikichi
Note this issue has to take place before Spectacular Spider-Man 165, since the Arranger is still alive.
Posted by: Michael | May 19, 2015 7:59 PM
The cover to issue #19 is pretty great. "You've just rented a jet-ski to The Punisher. Kiss that baby goodbye!" All it needs to be perfect is Frank punching out a shark.
Posted by: TCP | May 20, 2015 10:25 AM
Silliest scene yet in the Punisher stories: Microchip standing in front of a bonfire, but conveniently shaded in so nobody can see he's just a fat guy in makeup.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 23, 2015 2:12 PM
Is 'Chris' in panel 5 based on Chris Claremont? And if so, given he never wrote the Punisher, why?
Posted by: Harry | May 27, 2015 1:25 PM
I wonder if the bit in the first scan of Microchip trying to get his gun past an airport metal detector was inspired by the 1988 movie A Fish Called Wanda, in which Kevin Kline did the same stunt (successfully).
Posted by: Tony Lewis | September 21, 2015 5:23 PM
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