Characters Appearing: Mike 'Ice' Phillips, Punisher
Punisher War Journal #52-53
Issue(s): Punisher War Journal #52, Punisher War Journal #53
But Mike Phillips is nonetheless somehow here.
The story starts by introducing a paramilitary terrorist group called the Sword of Liberty.
Obviously that particular cell is no longer active, but the Punisher decides to infiltrate the larger group.
In that group is a woman named Deena, girlfriend to the group's insane paranoid leader, Armstrong.
Deena is the daughter of a wealthy man, who hires Phillips to retrieve her.
So the Punisher and Phillips cross paths on their way to the Sword's camp, "Valhalla" (of course), in Oregon.
Even though they have slightly different goals, they work together for now. The Punisher's narration says that Ice did additional tours in Southeast Asia in BlackOps and as a hunter/sniper.
The first scan's use of "Southeast Asia" made me wonder if we were indeed retconning The 'Nam to be about a less specific war, but MACV was specific to Vietnam.
After fighting through some perimeter guards, their different goals cause conflict. The Punisher just wants to blow base up. Phillips needs to grab Deena first. Phillips tases the Punisher...
...and heads into the camp. The Punisher wakes up to find Sword troops on him, but he's able to take them quickly, saying that these militiamen are "not soldiers like they pretend to be".
Gotta love the Punisher disparaging people for being nuts with guns.
Meanwhile, Phillips has gotten himself captured. Phillips tries to convince Deena that she'd be better off convincing Armstrong to let them both leave, and then Deena could bankroll the Swords from home.
Punisher rescues Phillips, but they continue to fight about whether or not to bother taking Deena.
In the end Armstrong and the rest of the Sword troops are wiped out, and Phillips is able to bring Deena back.
I didn't read much 'Nam, so when i read this years ago (not in realtime, but Punisher issues were always a decent investment from the quarter bins) it didn't really occur to me that "Ice" was a character from that series. The logo on the cover of #52 was really the only clue; there are no footnotes or anything like that. So it seemed like just a typical Punisher story, although it did have me going, "Holy crap, another of the Punisher's old Vietnam associates?". Now that i'm aware of Mike Phillips, these issues seem more important for who is in them then what happens. Although, to be clear, it's not that Phillips will turn out to be super-important; he'll only appear in one more (Punisher) story. It's just that his appearance here adds an interesting wrinkle to Marvel continuity.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 168,317. Single issue closest to filing date = 161,200.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
That guy with the flag mask thing is pretty horrific.
I don't think we really needed the Punisher in the 'Nam book, and they certainly didn't need to return the favor.
Posted by: Wanyas the Self-Proclaimed | September 23, 2016 3:55 PM
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