Friday, December 20, 2013

Throwback Thursday 12/19/13 Punisher Holiday Specials 1993-95

   What is more Christmas than shooting bad guys in the face? I can't really think of anything more Christmasy. This is why I read three issues of The Punisher Holiday Special. These were released one a year from 1993 through 1995. With a plethora of writers and artists taking the reigns of Frank Castle during the holidays. To be honest they weren't really that great, but like so many movies out there, it was so bad it's good. The stories in the books are your standard Punisher stories, with the exception that they all take place during Christmas, and may occasionally involve a holiday themed kill.

   The first story from issue one is probably my favorite. A mob boss sends out a hit on the Punisher as revenge for killing his father. Frank is lured to a mall and is forced to dispatch a squad of killers in a rather Die Hard like fashion. Frank looses his weapons at some point and is forced to use a sleigh and reindeer decoration to impale one of his would be killers. He also uses the giant Christmas tree in the mall to leap from the second story and bring it crashing down on the unsuspecting mob below. The Punisher of course gets out alive and gives a present to the mob boss, because Frank is in a giving mood. It s the head of the boss's lieutenant who organized this mall hit on the Punisher.

Christmas Tree Attack

   Things get worse from here, or better depending on your view I suppose. We learn why Frank hates Christmas so much. During his tour of Vietnam he went back to base to get a tree for his men to boost morale, only to return to find them killed bu the Vietcong. In the same story we also get Frank dressing up as Santa to kill a party of mafia members, one of which he impales on a metal Christmas tree. All this murder and mayhem of course gets Frank in the Christmas spirit and he joins his buddy Microchip for a Christmas party, still dressed in a bloody Santa outfit.

Death by deer

   I'm not going to spend any more time on the plots of the other half a dozen or so stories spread out through theses issues, but it should be noted that the Punisher also dispatched people with an avalanche, a yule log, and various rifles, pistols and knives. These stories are insane. I enjoy delving into the Punisher's world from time to time, but I sometimes forget how ridiculous his stories can be and how one dimensional he is. He's such a morose and boring character who I think works much better as a supporting character. Every story in these issues is basically the same. Frank kills the bad people. I understand these are specials and not part of the ongoing narrative of the Punisher, but everything felt so one note and flat. But that isn't to say theses stories weren't entertaining. They were a hoot, I found myself laughing at the crazy ways Frank went about dispatching criminals and how cold he was to everyone else around him. It was an insane trip down memory lane reading 90's Punisher comics.

   So remember Christmas is about caring and loving your fellow man. Unless they are criminals, in that case you should shoot them in the face, or strangle them with a wreath or impale them on your Christmas tree. Merry Christmas, happy holidays.

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