Characters Appearing: Microchip, Phalanx (Cord Mather), Punisher
Punisher War Zone annual #1
Issue(s): Punisher War Zone annual #1
Anyway, this is one of the 1993 annuals which introduce new characters. Both this and the regular Punisher annual introduce guys in exo-skeletons, and i wouldn't be able to tell you which one was which without looking at the books. But this one is Phalanx. His deal is that he's tricked by an arms dealer into building a suit to be auctioned off to criminals. Art is by John Buscema, so that's something.
Phalanx rebels and fights the criminals, and he's aided by the Punisher.
Punisher then demands the suit because he doesn't want it getting into the wrong hands. But Phalanx says the suit only fits him and the Punisher lets him keep it. However, he warns the guy, whose civilian name is Cord Mather, that his family will be a target for criminals, so Cord calls his wife and separates himself from her and his kid.
Not very memorable, but Phalanx will appear in two more issues, in the regular Punisher series (written by Chuck Dixon, the writer here).
A second story features the guy who was the lookout during the mob hit where the Punisher's family got killed in the crossfire. His failure to "look out" is what allowed the family to get in the middle. The guy is now trying to work his way up the mob ranks. But the Punisher encounters him and kills him, seemingly unaware of his involvement in the death of his family.
A third story shows that the Punisher is getting intel from a prostitute that sleeps with mobsters. But she's fallen in loooooove with him, unaware that he's the Punisher. When she finds that out, she briefly worries that he's going to kill her, since she's a "criminal". But he just kills the people she's been giving him intel on, and then sends her out of town with some cash.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Crossover: 1993 Annuals
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The great John Buscema, exiled to the annual of an also-ran Spin-off when the Punisher craze was well past its sell-by date.
Scarce backgrounds - was he required to Image-ize his art, too?
Posted by: Bob | February 8, 2017 6:33 PM
George Caragonne was primarily known as the editor of Penthouse Comix magazine. Before it got cancelled, he developed a serious drug habit and committed suicide by jumping out of a high building.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 9, 2017 10:42 AM
@Bob: You're right, the art by John Buscema here is glaring for the lack of backgrounds. I wonder if this was the equivalent of Big John phoning it in. The artwork here is still more impressive than half the stuff Marvel was publishing at the time, but by Buscema's own standards it's quite underwhelming. I'm really surprised that he inked his own work on this story. Even on Conan, which was one of his favorite assignments, Buscema only did full artwork on a handful of occasions.
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 9, 2017 9:32 PM
@Mark Drummond: Not just "a high building," but the INSIDE of the lobby of the Marriott Marquis hotel in New York. Caragonne weighed over 400 pounds at the time. To quote his friend Mark Evanier, "Miraculously, no one else was killed but many people, including some children, suffered severe emotional traumas and required years of treatment, all because of what they witnessed. I believe human beings have a right to do away with themselves, but not when they're insane and certainly not the way George did it."
Posted by: Thanos6 | February 10, 2017 12:46 AM
Caragonne's sad, short life -- eager-beaver office boy for Marvel ending up a drug-assisted porno publisher -- would be rejected as contrived and hyperbolic if you wrote it as fiction.
Posted by: Oliver_C | February 10, 2017 7:23 AM
And the work he did for Valiant's Nintendo-licensed comics was actually quite good.
Posted by: Thanos6 | February 10, 2017 10:19 AM
I did read Evanier's column about that when first published, but his statements seemed a tad hyperbolic to me. How did he know that some people required years of therapy? And if people commit suicide that way, how do you deal with if they're successful? Smack the corpse around?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 10, 2017 2:02 PM
The only thing I can remember Caragonne from is as the writer on the two issue What If Phoenix Had Not Died story.
Chris Claremont was given co-writer credit on that one and, since he'd probably already left Marvel by then, I assume that's because Caragonne used Claremont's outline of the alternate ending to Uncanny X-men #137.
Posted by: Red Comet | February 10, 2017 5:19 PM
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