Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Night Fights--Long Arm Of The Lawless Style!!

Back in the day, before Marvel decided to transform him into a Warner Brothers-style cartoon character, the Punisher was just an urban vigilante who used guns to kill crooks.

Nowadays, he's a complete badass, Marvel's Batman, the guy who is ready for anything and can take down anyone, from a street punk to the toughest super-villain, who can do literally anything because he's Batman the Punisher, dammit. He's a super-hero now.

Seriously...this is what Rick Remander says about the future of Frank Castle:

Frank has escalated to a different power level, and he's staying there as long as I'm on the book. Frank is going to be dishing out his style of ass-kickery on a different level to a different level of person. I wanted to put him on an even playing field with the type of characters he's been confronting. He's not the guy who shows up occasionally with an AK-47 and tries to shoot a crack dealer or something. When Frank Castle shows up from here on out, he's on an even playing field with the other A-list characters in the Marvel Universe.

Not to my tastes, I guess. Back when Punisher was just the Punisher and not a franchise, he was tough, to be sure. But could Frank Castle really take down a super-villain? Let's check, shall we?

The scene: Punisher has to steal a mysterious ring from a corpse in the morgue (don't ask why). Piece of cake, right? Until someone else takes an interest in that same ring...

Epic fail, Castle.

Now, some of you are saying, "yeah, but he was that he's ready and knows that he's facing Doctor Octopus, he'll have some special weapons and a super brilliant tactical plan and take him down. He's just a pudgy scientist with mechanical arms, after all."

If only. Although this violates Spacebooger's rules that the fight must be from "one consecutive fight scene," I want to show you the rematch, in the same issue (so don't count this next batch o' panels in your voting). Frank Castle, fully prepared, here's your rematch, from the same issue:

Yep, Otto Octavius totally trashes the Punisher--while nonchalantly chatting on the phone. You're out of your league, Frank.

So please remember, as all you kids with your iPads and your baggy pants and your social networking are reading your modern Punisher stories with a Frank Castle who shows up in World War Hulk and fights super-villains and gets super-powers and hangs with legions of monsters: back in my day the Punisher was just a guy with a gun, who killed mobsters. And was much cooler for it, even if Doctor Octopus could kick his ass.

Denny O'Neill and Frank Miller and Klaus Janson showed us the real Punisher in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15 (1981). And yes, I know this is the second fight in a row I've used a battle from a Spider-Man annual that doesn't actually feature Spider-Man. Again, that's how we rolled in the 80s, dudes.


Siskoid said...

It's the kind of thing that makes you go: Why doesn't the writer create his own character rather than change an established character to drastically.

snell said...

Because a brand new character wouldn't have the built in sales of an existing super-franchise like the Punisher...