Characters Appearing: Punisher
Punisher War Journal #37
Issue(s): Punisher War Journal #37
(I also think if you are going to use an Oliver North stand-in, you should use Gulliver South from Spectacular Spider-Man #137 instead of inventing a new character. Or why not just use the real guy's name?)
But the Punisher writes in his war journal that he sometimes listens to the radio show while he's on stakeout and "some of what he says makes sense". There's no twist at the end, definitely no "both sides do it". The "leftist pinko commies" turn out to be exactly that, and there's nothing more to it.
(Note the "The Hulk is Real" poster. Is that in doubt in the Marvel universe?)
So the Punisher shoots them all.
I guess there's a little nuance at the end, with the Punisher gently pushing back on the topic of gun rights and rainforest destruction.
I've complained about stories that try to take on politics but wimp out with a false sense of equivalence. And i've also said it's a cheat when a comic is nominally about a topic but suddenly an additional element is dropped in to give the Punisher something to shoot (like when the people protesting flag burning turned out to also be drug dealers). So i've got no grounds for complaint here. I'm just noting the difference between this and most of Baron's work, which does have more nuance. In fact, there are no credits on this issue, and i was sure that this was a fill-in by lower quality writer (credits are provided next issue). Part of the problem may be the art, which is undeniably amateurish looking (even though Mike Harris has worked for Marvel and even on the Punisher before).
Even if i try to separate the politics out, though, this is a very thin story with nothing going on, even by the standards of this book.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Well, I look at it this way- the villains aren't villains because of their political ideologies; they're villains because they resort to kidnapping and are willing to murder a person just because they disagree with what that person is saying. It's like they're a left-leaning version of the Watchdogs; it's not their views which make them villains, but their actions. You don't have to like Percy Baxter (heck, I think part of the point of the story is that you shouldn't like him completely, else the villains just come off completely insane), but he doesn't warrant a killing based on his views or speech.
Posted by: mikrolik | November 17, 2015 6:00 PM
This is... weird.
Posted by: cullen | November 17, 2015 8:29 PM
@mikrolik: well, that is exactly why this story is weird and sort of offensive.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 18, 2015 4:47 AM
A movie with a similar plot was made in 1995 called Last Supper.
Posted by: Grom | November 18, 2015 9:53 AM
Surely we're supposed to draw some contrast between the Punisher and the "commie pinkos;" they both want to enact deadly vigilante justice on evil-doers, but (by the logic of the book) Punisher is right in his moral judgments, and they're wrong. And they're wrong, presumably, because animal life is worth less than human life -- a judgment most people agree with, but could at least be argued a little.
For me, that's the political content here, and Percy Baxter is almost a red herring. The real conflict is between law-and-order vigilantism (good, or at least okay), and left wing vigilantism (bad).
Posted by: FF3 | November 18, 2015 9:59 AM
@Luis Dantas: No clue what you mean by that.
Posted by: mikrolik | November 18, 2015 10:41 AM
@mikrolik Maybe it's just from the scans, but Punisher seems to gun down/kill the entire crew on the basis of one of their members threatening someone... and takes special glee in taking them down due to their pansy ideology. He's given more quarter to Actual Murderous Supervillains.
Posted by: cullen | November 18, 2015 11:30 AM
Cullen: Yeah, that's kinda what the Punisher does. As far as Castle is concerned, they're all party to kidnapping and conspiracy, and arguably attempted murder.
Now by no means am I saying they deserved to get killed, but really you could say that about anyone the Punisher kills. The "right" thing to do is to bring them to the authorities so they can be tried for their crimes in a court of justice. Spider-Man and Daredevil are constantly making that point (when they are being well written).
As for the whole "pansy ideology" thing... the Punisher is a violent, arguably insane man who has killed dozens of people out of a need for revenge. He's not exactly Captain America in the role model department.
Posted by: mikrolik | November 18, 2015 12:42 PM
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