Tuesday, February 07, 2012

It's the nature of the character, but there aren't a lot of recurring Punisher villains. Which is fine, since usually they're complete monsters that you want to see Frank shoot in the face; and most of them aren't strong enough to carry more than an issue or two. Still, in the early nineties, Pat Mills gave it a shot with former vet, sadist, and snuff-film auteur "the legendary Colonel de Sade." Frank had a run-in with him the previous year's summer special, and left de Sade bound up with barbed wire in a house fire. Sadly for everyone involved, the cops pulled him out: de Sade thought he was going out on a high note, but no dice.
I would love it if this happened to more Batman villains: instead of narrowly escaping certain death, they have to be rescued by the cops...
At a local training center, Frank plays a little too rough, as he thinks about killing de Sade, then gets a tape left for him of a murder. Tracking a lead to a talent agency, the Punisher finds several goons and a scam to recruit young women with no close ties...that won't be missed. He shakes down Alison, a ruthless agent who shows no qualms selling women to de Sade, even though she knows what he'll do to them. At this point in the Punisher's stories, it would've been considered 'too far,' for Frank to beat information out of a woman; so he lets Alison's potential victims do it, then lets her go so he can follow her to de Sade.
Since de Sade's hideout is a fuel depot, Frank knows he can't go in guns blazing as usual. It's going to be knives, and he's got the tools for the job. But, de Sade knows Frank's coming, and welcomes it; since he's set up a series of damsels in distress for Frank to try and free. Still, de Sade makes one particularly egregious error: if your deathtraps revolve around the idea the Punisher is going to put himself in harm's way to try and rescue the damsel; don't use a damsel like Alison. Frank lets de Sade crush her with a storage container; then finishes him off. De Sade does go out on a movie line, though.

From Punisher Summer Special #2, "Rough Cut" Written by Pat Mills, pencils by Mike McKone, inks by Mark McKenna.

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