cyberghostface: (Rumplestiltskin)
[personal profile] cyberghostface posting in [community profile] scans_daily

This was Garth Ennis's first Punisher story for Marvel. There's a lot that could be said but... well, that cover speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Flash forward to the present and the X-Men and the Avengers are having a battle with an alien attack force in Central Park. Frank Castle's wife and kid were at the park at the time.

He ends up shooting some other X-Men but is knocked out. Wolverine ends up slashing his face.

Castle is freed from prison by a secret society.

Spider-Man is fighting Venom in the sewer when Venom ends up getting fried by rigged electrical wires.

Punisher gets help from Microchip, who in this universe lost both of his legs to Dr. Octopus. He manages to kill the Hulk (after he turns back into Banner) and the Kingpin. He gets arrested but is broken out again by the society.

He goes after Dr. Doom next.

Frank steals all of Punisher's equipment, which includes a nuclear bomb.

Wolverine was in Japan at the time on a false lead from the Punisher. They later meet up again.

I think it should be said that Wolverine has actually been reduced to his skeleton before in actual canon and he's been able to regenerate his muscle and skin.

Punisher is arrested again.

Punisher escapes again and months later he's fighting Captain America. Cap tells him that he used to be soldier, but now he's just a disgrace.

The Punisher's last target is Daredevil. Beforehand he ends up killing the leader of the cabal when they want to keep him as their own private weapon against any future threats.

Date: 2016-02-17 05:32 am (UTC)
beyondthefringe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] beyondthefringe
Oh God, this.
The only way it truly works is if every single hero and villain in the Marvel Universe picks up the idiot ball and runs with it into a minefield made up of other idiot balls.

I can believe that he might have gotten the drop on the X-Men in the beginning (popping caps in Cyclops' face? Damn) but this story requires us to believe in an unstoppable Punisher and a hardcore class of victimized civilians as well as a world in which the entire mutant race can be lured to the Moon and nuked.

Fred Hembeck's method of killing the entire Marvel stable of characters about as realistic.

I love it. "You murdered some of this nation's greatest heroes... and also a couple of X-Men." Fuck those mutants, amirite?


Date: 2016-02-17 06:23 am (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
The only way it truly works is if every single hero and villain in the Marvel Universe picks up the idiot ball and runs with it into a minefield made up of other idiot balls.

That was also The Boys, only stretched out to sixty-some issues. (I'm not really sure because I dropped out well before the end. From what I saw of it on s_d, I didn't miss much.)

Date: 2016-02-17 06:26 am (UTC)
beyondthefringe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] beyondthefringe
At least with that series, Ennis had the advantage of creating the world and the supers in it... and he made most of them either figurative or literal idiots. It's not like this story, where we're supposed to believe that Frank could take down Doctor Doom, Captain America, or Wolverine in such a fashion.

Date: 2016-02-17 02:16 pm (UTC)
sagrada: Clan sigil of Rahab (Default)
From: [personal profile] sagrada
The punchline is "superhero reboots are just papering over a fundamental flaw in the genre", which is both hard to argue with and maddening after years of kind of mentioning problems with the superhero comics industry. There was MM's dad, but MM could not matter less, so that was a wash.

Date: 2016-02-17 07:06 am (UTC)
doctor_spanky: (Default)
From: [personal profile] doctor_spanky
I was gonna argue that the match-ups aren't the point of the story, but the title is "Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe" so it's clearly meant to be selling these fights, and they're not all that well thought out. So I can get behind that

I still just don't really care about "who would win?" speculations because the answer every time is "who's writing it?"

Date: 2016-02-17 10:09 am (UTC)
liliaeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] liliaeth
Or which character is more popular and won the vote.

My personal head canon is...

Date: 2016-02-18 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] 7dialsmystery
...Frank had a nervous breakdown after the death of his family. He might have killed Cyclops but there's no Secret Society and no murder spree or nukes. The other Supes took him down immediately and he's drugged to his eyeballs in some mental institution fantasizing this.

Date: 2016-02-17 06:11 am (UTC)
crinos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crinos
When I see this, I recall a scene from an issue of What If where Punisher succeeds in killing Spidey in his first appearance, there is a two page montage that shows every single super hero in New York, from Daredevil to Cap to Luke Cage to the Thing coming for Frank Castle, and him just barely holding on and escaping.

Here I found it:

My personal favorite part is the one with Luke Cage, where we see Frank has shot him in the chest, and Luke is like :Yeah, and?"

Because Frank Castle is a guy with guns who shoots people very well. He's devastating against non powered criminals, and maybe against powered ones if he gets lucky, but against super heroes he doesn't have any real chance.

See also: JLA/Avengers where Batman kicks his ass off panel.
Edited Date: 2016-02-17 06:13 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-02-17 06:38 am (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
The only time I've ever been really convinced by a story with Frank against superheroes was Rucka's final Warzone story, where Frank barely manages to operate an Iron Man armour because Tony develops them to be used fairly intuitively, he can't hold his own against Spider-Man for long, only throws Black Widow off his trail by leading her to a child slavery camp, and Wolverine and Thor aren't interested in fighting him. When it comes to the full Avengers, it's just him holding them off to let his protege get away. It was smart, good to read and didn't make any party involved look dumb.

This is just.. Bilge.

Date: 2016-02-17 01:53 pm (UTC)
informationgeek: (Default)
From: [personal profile] informationgeek
Oh yeah, Rucka's Warzone. Good comic that was!

...I miss Rucka's Punisher run. It's the only Punisher run I've liked. :(

Date: 2016-02-17 06:13 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
Ditto. Rather than the above, or any instance in which Frank is made out to be special or awesome, Rucka's run really spoke to me because it highlighted the tragedy of Frank, and told us that really, no, he isn't special. Anyone, with the right motivation, could become the Punisher. That wasn't to say Rucka made Frank unlikeable, but I think he had the sort of awareness that nobody would want to be what Frank is. But.. Yeah. Solid run that, again, didn't make any of the parties involved out to be idiots to benefit the other.

Date: 2016-02-17 06:52 pm (UTC)
silverhammerman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverhammerman
So do Thor and Wolverine just approve of his actions/not want to stop the Punisher? Because that would actually make quite of bit of sense, and be a fairly good explanation for why the Punisher doesn't get taken down by the heavy hitters.

Date: 2016-02-17 06:59 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
Logan actively assists Frank in getting away at one point. Thor is employed in a somewhat wiser role than usual and just attempts to talk Frank down from what he's doing and the two share a few beers, which is all Cap wanted Thor to do.

Date: 2016-02-19 12:51 am (UTC)
zylly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zylly

That is precisely what should happen if the Punisher goes up against super-heroes. My favorite is the part with the Thing, where Frank's just like "oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit."

I'm also just kind of amused that the montage of heroes includes the Cat.

Date: 2016-02-17 06:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Didn't Fred Hembeck already do this?

Date: 2016-02-17 01:35 pm (UTC)
cygnia: (Vodka!)
From: [personal profile] cygnia

Fred: "Yeah, well, that's then you were killing litterbugs -- you just weren't popular then..."

Date: 2016-02-17 08:02 am (UTC)
commodus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] commodus
Anything to make the Frankster look good, eh?
Awful. Absolutely awful.

Date: 2016-02-17 10:50 am (UTC)
panelsarewindows: (Default)
From: [personal profile] panelsarewindows
I'm not exactly a huge fan of this story (mostly because it's kinda lame, played out and predictable) but I feel there is no way you can actually read this story and think Frank is the hero, or that Ennis is trying to make him look good. It's pretty obvious frank is supposed to be a deranged ignorant man, whose poor and wrong assumptions about superheroes gets proven wrong at the end, causing the need for his own death.

A general mistake I think people make about Ennis and the Punisher is that he tries and glorifies him. But I think Ennis (and this is why his stuff works for me so well) is portraying the Punisher in a very pathetic and miserable way. He's not a man doing things for the right reason or noble causes, but because he has nothing left and is a deranged obsessive

Date: 2016-02-17 11:37 am (UTC)
commodus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] commodus
Honestly, sometimes I get that impression, too. There are moments in his stories which, as you say, DO demonstrate what an unpleasant, entitled and immoral person he is. But other stuff like this just reads like a power fantasy. The suicide ending feels shoehorned in to give it some emotional depth, but before that it seemed to try to place him firmly on the moral high ground, like a lot of stories bizarrely do.
Honestly, the character just gets my back up. Which is usually the mark of a great villain, but then writers treat him like a hero, and it's just morally insulting, you know?

Date: 2016-02-17 07:01 pm (UTC)
wizardru: Hellboy (Default)
From: [personal profile] wizardru
I don't know, I think it's made pretty clear that he's a monster. I mean, he assassinates Spiderman with the justification that 'Somebody has to be first' as a justification for 'punishing' him. He doesn't have a legitimate reason, right at the start. The only person with the moral high ground here is Daredevil, who's death at the end makes it clear to the Punisher that he's a villain, not a hero (which presumably he knew but now realizes that any justification he had for his rampage is now null and void). After all, he specifically calls himself a mass murderer. I do find the 'My Lai kind of day' comment kind of tone deaf, but I guess it kind of sums up his villanious outlook. I do find it amusing that he thinks (because Ennis is enough of a student of history to know better) that Cap has never seen a dirty war because he didn't experience Vietnam.

That said, all the Punisher is doing here is making the world vulnerable for any number of threats that he didn't kill, like Kang, The Master of the World, Dread Dormammu, Thanos and so on. So, good work there, Frank.

Date: 2016-02-17 07:29 pm (UTC)
pwiggins: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pwiggins
That said, all the Punisher is doing here is making the world vulnerable for any number of threats that he didn't kill, like Kang, The Master of the World, Dread Dormammu, Thanos and so on. So, good work there, Frank.

Without trying to derail the thread, speaking of the likes of Dormmamu and other extra-dimensional/mystical nasties, does Frank actually take out Dr Strange on-panel?

Date: 2016-02-17 07:53 pm (UTC)
pwiggins: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pwiggins
I do find it amusing that he thinks (because Ennis is enough of a student of history to know better) that Cap has never seen a dirty war because he didn't experience Vietnam.

Ennis probably threw that bit in there because of his distate for Cap, on the basis that he finds Cap's status as a WWII veteran to be offensive to real-life WWII veterans (this is why in THE BOYS, his Cap stand-in got singled out for particular humiliation). He seems to be ignorant of the fact Cap's creators, Joe Simon and JACK FUCKIN' KIRBY! actually were real-life WWII veterans. Kirby in particular had an extremely dangerous job as a scout, sneaking into enemy territory and drawing reconnaissance maps and pictures, and nearly lost both legs to frostbite. So ironically, by disrespecting Cap, Ennis is unknowingly disrespecting the very same people he holds in such high esteem, which he could have avoided if he'd cared enough to do his research. And baby, NOBODY disses THE KING! :P
Edited Date: 2016-02-17 07:53 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-02-18 03:26 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
I don't see how your logic makes sense. Disliking a particular work of art is not the same as disrespecting the creator.

Date: 2016-02-17 08:36 pm (UTC)
pwiggins: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pwiggins
I remember reading Ennis's introduction to Welcome Back Frank way back in which he described those who could justify what Frank does as "morons". What Ennis understood from day one is that the appeal of Frank (and other vigilante "action heroes") is that he kills baddies en masse and gets away with it, so what we got with Welcome Back Frank and then Ennis's ongoing was straight-up action movie laced with Ennis's trademark black comedy (with the occasional wonder into more serious subject matter). Then came BORN which was Ennis's first full-length examination of Frank and the forces that shaped him. I remember one reviewer expressing outrage of Ennis's characterisation of Frank as anything other than a good man driven to make the world a better place. Oh, how I laughed.

Whatever else you may say about him, Ennis slowly turned Frank into a much more complex and compelling protagonist than the one-note "action hero" he started as, by showing us what sort of monster he has allowed himself to become (albeit a monster with a very small sliver of humanity left in him), and the stark horror and ugliness of what he does. Ennis's Punisher stories demolish any notion that Frank is someone worthy of admiration or glorification.
Edited Date: 2016-02-17 08:39 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-02-17 08:34 am (UTC)
laughing_tree: (Default)
From: [personal profile] laughing_tree
Eh, it's not in-continuity anyway, so I don't see what the big deal is about these heroes suddenly being much less competent or whatever. The whole point here, it seems, is to be a schlocky sort of action-fest with the Punisher going around killing everyone, and surely more "realistic" confrontations would just dilute that?

Criticizing the realism of the fights here is like criticizing the scientific realism in a typical superhero book. In both cases, it's simply not what the story's about.

Date: 2016-02-17 08:54 pm (UTC)
leoboiko: manga-style picture of a female-identified person with long hair, face not drawn, putting on a Japanese fox-spirit max (Default)
From: [personal profile] leoboiko
That's how I read this too. I got tired of Ennis' repetitive anti-superhero motif, but out of the thousand times he told the same story, this is the one I like. It's pure popcorn entertainment.

Date: 2016-02-18 06:09 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] palgrave_goldenrod
On the one hand, that's fair -- it's basically giving you what the title says it's going to give you, and if that's all you want, fair enough.

On the other hand, though, even for a schlocky action fest, it just seems a bit too... easy. I mean, okay, an schlocky action comic where Frank Castle figures out how to overcome the many handicaps he has against the powerful beings of the Marvel Universe in order to take them out, I can see that being interesting; one lone man with a gun vs. walking gods, there's a challenge there. I can see the appeal of this comic.

But I can't imagine even people who just want to read a schlocky action-fest where Frank Castle kills all the Marvel superheroes being particularly satisfied by seeing Frank somehow contrive a reason to get all the X-Men on the moon just so he can drop a nuke on them, or shoot Captain America in the back because Captain America's dumb enough to turn his back on someone who's trying to kill him. That's not a schlocky action-fest, that smacks more of an author coming up with slightly lazy handwaves so his pet character can win a fight that deep down he knows he's outclassed in.

I mean, at least when authors have Batman fight Superman they usually give him a Kryptonite power-suit or have him something to even the odds. They at least pay lip-service to the fact that Batman would otherwise be totally outclassed if he didn't do something to level the playing field a bit. This is just Ennis doing his "hyper-competent man who does what needs to be done" thing without ever really justifying it in this case.

Date: 2016-02-20 08:40 am (UTC)
lbd_nytetrayn: Star Force Dragonzord Power! (Default)
From: [personal profile] lbd_nytetrayn
It being a one-issue one-off probably plays into it, too. I imagine if it were, say, a series? Then things would play out a little different as it moves towards the promised goal.

But killing everyone in one issue? Gotta trim the fat, I guess.

Date: 2016-02-17 01:46 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] locuatico
if there is something in this story that i REALLY like is the final scene. that, to me, is what defines Punisher and his morality. He is not an hypocrite who think his black and white morality doesn't apply to him, he is as guilty as the people he kills and knows it.

Date: 2016-02-17 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tcampbell1000
Not only does not one of these fights make any sense if you understand the characters Frank is supposedly "resourcefully" "outwitting," a story like this kind of underlines why the Punisher doesn't make sense as anything more than a fringe player in the Marvel universe. Out on the edges, he can do what he does and occasionally get away from a heavy hitter with a clever feint or a guerrilla trick.

And here's the ugly truth: no matter how many times Spidey says every life matters to him, he's still going to prioritize a guy who threatens inarguably innocent people over someone who shoots mobsters, as long as the mobster shooter isn't doing it right in front of him. He just has to, no matter how guilty he feels about it. There are only so many hours in the day.

Daredevil just about works as a sparring partner in other stories because he's more in Frank's weight class and kind of a mess most of the time. And the Daredevil TV show, with its distanced, hands-off Avengers and thinner superhero population, is already the most believable setup that Frank Castle has ever been given.

But in the Marvel Comics U, as soon as Frank becomes a big enough issue for anyone with Spidey's level of power or above to decide he's worth making a project, Frank goes down, hard. Any other scenario is just an insult to the reader's intelligence. Among the other unbelievable things about this book, it asks us to think that Frank could stay off the radar until he finished his job.

But that's just a subset of the problem with all Ennis' "vs. superheroes" stories. Only Frank is allowed to have a clever or even particularly coherent thought here, because if he didn't, he wouldn't have a chance against Captain America or Doctor Doom, much less the entire militarized mutant population. Gee, why does no one else just stab Wolverine with Wolverine's own claws using normal human strength? How hard could it be?

Date: 2016-02-17 07:10 pm (UTC)
wizardru: Hellboy (Default)
From: [personal profile] wizardru

That's the biggest problem with the Punisher; the minute SHIELD decides that its time to take down one of the most egregious mass murderers in history, it's over. That's what makes this a silly read. The Punisher is not Batman, with billions to spend on his crusade. Sure, he can ambush a few heroes at the right time, but after the first few? Nah, that's not happening. Killing Doctor Doom in his lair? Oh, I see, the dozens of enemies that Doom has just didn't WANT IT BAD ENOUGH. Apparently Doom is like the Insane Clown Posse when it comes to magnets.

Date: 2016-02-19 12:54 am (UTC)
zylly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zylly
I have to admit, I laughed so hard at "You've killed some of our country's greatest heroes! ...And also Cyclops and Jubilee." It's like the X-Men are Dr. Zoidberg.

Date: 2016-02-20 08:41 am (UTC)
lbd_nytetrayn: Star Force Dragonzord Power! (Default)
From: [personal profile] lbd_nytetrayn
Same. Loved that.

Who else did he kill there, though?

Date: 2016-02-20 03:13 am (UTC)
yap: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yap
I'm also reminded of Lobo 50, where he's hired to kill the dcu


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