Tuesday, January 05, 2016

In Frank's defense, it was one heavy sofa...


Today, I'm missing the days when there were four Punisher books and a couple of guest-spots every month; when the Punisher worked on all kinds of crime. From drug pushers to yo-yo welding engineering frauds to the U.S. Navy...really? Okay...Frank fought a lot more diverse crimes than you probably gave him credit for. And he usually fought them better than he did in today's book! From 1990, Punisher War Journal #16, "Panhandle" Written by Mike Baron, pencils by Neil Hansen, inks by Mike Texeira. This issue, it's the Punisher versus the savings and loan crisis! Once again...really?

All joking aside, it's an interesting topic for Baron to tackle, and Frank makes a brief explanation of the crisis--which was probably tough enough to explain at the time, when it was happening, pre-Wikipedia. He also points out the general unlikelihood of any of the guilty parties seeing any jail time, since it's such a long, tedious crime to prosecute. (If you were serious about getting a jury to convict any sort of financial crime, you'd probably have to make a clever video that explains it in thirty seconds or less!) Frank and Microchip have been researching an especially egregious S&L profiteer, rancher Reese Kelleher; and wonder if Frank should execute someone for what amounts to theft. It's a moot point, since Kelleher is also a racist, drug-smuggling, murderer.

Frank poses as a homeless man, befriending some others who lost their lives' savings in Kelleher's real-estate scam; and plants a bug on his car. Kelleher's lawyer wonders why his boss even bothers with the S&L nonsense, since smuggling drugs was actually more profit and less risk; but he also has a soft spot of Kelleher's wife Carlotta. Kelleher was bringing her brother across the Mexican border, but as a mule, and he kills him over the loss of his drugs.

Tipped that the Feds were coming, Kelleher starts shredding everything he can, so Frank shows up to take him out. It doesn't go well: Kelleher surprises Frank with a grenade, and Frank is partially pinned by a sofa. He manages to keep him talking until Kelleher's lawyer shows up with a gun, and Kelleher shoots him, suspecting him of talking to the Feds. Frank manages to get his throwing knife and...

Swing and a miss! Frank is saved by the intervention of Carlotta, who murders Kelleher with a frying pan. (Probably over the death of her brother, but the jokey explanation is he didn't show proper appreciation for her cooking.) She and Frank then escape, with a bunch of Kelleher's ill-gotten cash: Frank gives her 10%, then the rest to the S&L victims, after "expenses." OK, not the Punisher's finest hour, but I do miss the days when he--and other super-heroes, for that matter--went after a multitude of offenses, beyond that of the latest crossover...

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Damn. Financial fraud huh? Must've been a slow day for Frank. Waste of really good Texiera art too.