Punisher War Journal #4-5
Issue(s): Punisher War Journal #4, Punisher War Journal #5
The story here is that there's a reunion of Frank Castle's Vietnam unit, and a sniper is killing off all the soldiers as they arrive in the city. As the first one dies we see a flashback of Castle's time in 'Nam.
I'll have to watch to see if we see flashbacks of these characters again, aside from the killer, Rich von Burian, aka the Sniper, who will appear again in future issues. My guess is that the Punisher had a lot of different platoons and assignments in 'Nam and that in the long run this one isn't particularly important.
Here's Sniper, though.
With these issues we really get into James Bond style weaponry. We've already seen the Punisher's little skateboard thing, but here it is again, and we've also got oilslicks...
...and roof mounted surface to air rocket launchers.
A high tech automated defense system, too.
I don't think it's necessary to go deep on the story synopsis. It turns out that no less than three of Frank's former mates are working for the DEA, which stands for the "Defense Espionage Agency". Their commander, Schoonover, had been using army operations in 'Nam to smuggle drugs, and now he's planning to run for Senator. The Punisher makes him confess what he did and then kill himself.
The Sniper had been cleaning up Schoonover's past, killing off anyone that might have known about the drug smuggling. And a third guy, Levin, was also a DEA agent but backed out when he found out about the killing of his mates.
Aside from the implications of the army using the Vietnam War for drug smuggling, the other philosophical point is the question of civilian causalities in the Punisher's War. Early in the story, the Punisher declines to engage with the Sniper because too many civilians were around. But later the Sniper winds up killing civilians while he's escaping. So did the Punisher just make things worse by not killing the guy when he had a chance?
Another point is a reporter that didn't think her cocaine habit was hurting anyone, but when she learns what Schoonover was doing, she gives it up.
Even after that, the Punisher doesn't have much use for her, and leaves her to herself to get off a booby trapped mansion's grounds.
You'll notice he does let the Sniper get away in order to save her innocent life, though.
As is usually the case, these issues have little relevance to my project, but it's a tight well done action-adventure shoot-em-up.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: You might have expected the Punisher to go on the run after the Kingpin told him their truce would last 24 hours at the end of Punisher #18, but both this book and the main series go on with business as usual. The MCP places this between Punisher #18-19.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
How many people in Castle's old squad became a supervillain? There's Sniper, the Hitman...
Posted by: MikeCheyne | September 30, 2014 12:35 AM
style weaponry. We've already seen the Punisher's little skateboard thing, but here it is again, and we've also got oilslicks...
*(The author also had the hero endure genital torture with a carpet beater and express disdain for homosexuals.)
Posted by: PB210 | October 3, 2014 8:50 PM
Doc Savage Double #18 featured the Gerry Conway quote. Conway seemed familiar with the pulps such as the Shadow (homaging him with Larry Cranston perhaps) and Doc Savage. (He of course knew about paperback original novel heroes such as Mack Bolan.)
Posted by: PB210 | October 3, 2014 9:13 PM
Re-reading this, I remember how much I liked Levin's togs. It looked like a low-rent SHIELD uniform, but I liked it - even the totally 80s hair.
Posted by: Mark Black | October 11, 2014 9:15 PM
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