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A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 315

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

A commenter wanted me to celebrate Veteran’s Day with a Cool Comic Book Moment, so fair enough, tomorrow we’ll get the last New Frontier moment. Today we’ll look at the conclusion to Garth Ennis’ run on Punisher.

Okay, the gist of the story is (SPOILERS!!!!!)…

A bunch of corrupt military officials ran afoul of the Punisher fairly early on in the Punisher Max series. They’ve been running from him ever since. Their current plan was to get a group of Army Special Forces to take him down. However, Frank Castle has shown the commander of the men, General Howe, the truth behind the evil military guys.

Howe has now left Castle alone in an apartment waiting for the officials, with a gun with 8 bullets – enough for each one of the 8 officials.

Meanwhile, Ennis has been interspersing the story of the men of Valley Forge (the Marines who were killed in Punisher:Born) through a new book written by the younger brother of the narrator of Punisher: Born.

For good measure, Ennis has Nick Fury show up as an example of an exhausted good American soldier.

So, with that all said and done, enjoy the conclusion of Garth Ennis’ Punisher run (art courtesy of the great Goran Parlov), which also serves as a nice celebration of American soldiers…

Simply awesome.

Happy Veteran’s Day to all you veterans reading out there!

20 Comments

I might need to check out Ennis’s Punisher stuff. I never liked his Hellblazer, but this looks good…

On a side note, shouldn’t Frank have been retconned into a Gulf War vet by now? He must be in his early sixties to have fought in Vietnam.

In Punisher MAX he’s over fifty years old and did 3 tours in Vietnam.
I don’t know about the regular Marvel Universe though.

And you should definitely check out Ennis’ Punisher. It’s the definitive run of the character and only one of the reasons why Garth Ennis is my favourite writer.

It’s amazing how he managed to keep it so tight over such a long run, including Born and the specials.

You could read any single storyline and not feel you were missing anything, but if you read the whole run, you were really rewarded. I love how Valley Forge (this storyline) tied in with Born and also wrapped up a lot of other stuff from the series. I love how he brought back back Barracuda for the Long, Cold Dark (as well as having the Barracuda mini, which was good fun, to bridge the gap between his first storyline and Dark). In many ways, I see Long, Cold Dark as the conclusion and Valley Forge as an epilogue.

Once Ennis was finished, there was nothing more to say. He covered the Punisher’s youth in The Tyger, his days in ‘Nam in Born, and his “future” in The End. The Cell was great fun as well.

So many great moments. I don’t think there’s ever been a monthly series that I’ve enjoyed as much as I enjoyed this.

Like I said before, I was on the verge of dropping Punisher towards the end of the Marvel Knights run. I don’t think any series benefited as much from getting a “Max” imprint, not so much in what could be shown on the page, but in the change in mindset of Ennis, which he expounded upon himself, when writing it.

Certainly one of my favourite two runs by any creator from “the big two” companies in the last ten years.

Speaking as someone who’s not an Ennis fan: yes, his Punisher MAX run was quite good.

They say that Ennis’ Punisher in the Marvel Knights and Max imprint is, have been, and will always be THE
definitive Punisher in all of Marvel’s past, present and future.

Can’t WAIT to see what Jason Aaron does with the character in PUNISHER MAX.

loved the scene with nick in the bar remincing showing his age plus the punisher doing his damage again. proving garth and the punisher are the perfect pair. for garth knows what makes the punisher tick

I’ll still in shock that the Punisher is now going to be a zombie. Trying to kill and never killing supervillains wasn’t enough? this makes the angel-avenger idea seem so much better by comparison.

Punisher MAX is a beast unto its own, which is the way I like it. No matter what Marvel does with the character from this point on, Ennis’s masterwork will stand head and shoulders above most other comics work. It’s incredibly well-done, and unique in that there are very few other works as psychologically complex, yet so violently cathartic at the same time. The Long Cold Dark is one of my favourite storylines ever, and for entirely different reasons than other things that I enjoy, such as All-Star Superman or Casanova; Ennis delves so deeply into Frank Castle’s character throughout his entire run, and this arc is the payoff. Someone above said that it was the conclusion and Valley Forge is the epilogue, which is dead-on accurate. The finale of The Long Cold Dark left me unable to read or watch anything else for about two days: it’s haunting.

It’s a nice moment but… a gazillion war comics in the world and you chose an issue of the Punisher? What about Harvey Kurtzman’s EC war comics? Archie Goodwin’s Blazing Combat? Kirby’s The Losers? Kubert’s Sgt. Rock? The Nam?

Honestly, I think a more fitting Veterans Day tribute could have been found than an extremely f*cked-up super-hero togged vigilante, no matter how poignant it is. Count me disappointed.

(If you had to use superheroes it’s a shame you didn’t plot things out a calendar, Brian. You could have used the Hal Jordan in a trench moment from New Frontier for Veteran’s Day!)

One small nitpick from the retired army guy here:

Hower gave Castle back his 1911 with 8 bullets. 7+1 chambered , presumably. Castle shot the 8 corrupt generals = empty gun. Yet in that last shot Castle is walking away and the slide on his 1911 isn’t in the locked back position.

Just goes to show you how good this run was if that’s the only nitpick I can find with it. :)

I know a lot of people don’t care for the Punisher. Forget everything you know or think you know. The Max series was it’s own animal.

Stupid ass Franken-Castle…..

Easily one of the best runs of the decade.

I seem to be in the minority here in that I loved Ennis’ Punisher run, both MK and MAX, but I’m also looking forward to the FrankenCastle storyline. Remender’s run so far has been a ton of fun, so I’m willing to trust him to make this work.

I should mention I haven’t made it to my LCS in 2 weeks now, so maybe the first issue is out and was horrible and that’s why people are down on it. The last Punisher issue I read was The List one-shot.

“Thinking about Vietnam once in a while, in a crazy kind of way,
I wish that just for an hour I could be back there.
Maybe just to be there so I’d wish I was back here again.”
– American Vietnam veteran

Man, that art is SMOKIN’ good. Very much looks like Alex Toth. Goran Parlov? What work is he doing nowandays? Solid storyteller, great art…I think I found someone to follow.

@Tom Fitz, that sounds like a quote from Apocalypse Now, yeah?

More likely from Preacher # 18.

Guess who wrote that book? ;-)

Until I read MK Punisher I didn’t think I could enjoy the character, but Ennis made me realise that slapstick violence was the only way to make me enjoy him. Then I fairly quickly got bored of that and Garth Ennis proved me wrong again by doing serious Punisher stories that are just excellent.

When Ennis is on form he’s great. Thinking about it I should probably have stuck something from this run in my top 100 storylines vote.

Not sure the Punisher’s backstory would have worked had he been in the Gulf War as opposed to Vietnam…though, the part about people/shadowy gov’t officials and big business profiting would apply…

Not a fan of Ennis, but I can see why people like this. And Parlov does some solid work. What else has he done?

That is SO much better than yesterday’s comic!
More like this please!

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