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Punisher / Captain America #1: Review

Oct 1992
Margaret Clark, Klaus Janson

Story Name:

We the People…

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

Punisher / Captain America #1 Review by (November 14, 2011)
Review: On the face of it, Captain America and the Punisher seem like an unlikely team-up: and it is. So Chichester and Clark take advantage of the disparity between these two soldiers to explore the issue of patriotism. Steve Rogers is a soldier, dedicated to serving his country and fighting for its ideals in the face of all threats. Frank Castle is also a soldier but his mission consists of punishing those who cause the innocent to suffer. The one fights for freedom, the other is on a personal vendetta. Putting them together is a brilliant way to contrast their different approaches while maintaining a common goal; interestingly, it’s the Punisher who learns the great lesson that a soldier’s duty demands he join with his compatriots for a common mission. Cap, on the other hand, has already learned that we need all the allies we can get. The fact that it is the Punisher who grows as a person probably explains why he gets top billing. At the time of writing, the Iran-Contra scandal was still in everyone’s minds (similar dirty deal by the US Government—Google it for details) so the authors deserve kudos for exploring the issues clearly and honestly, without the knee-jerk cynicism that accompanied Cap in the Bush Years (I’m looking at you, Chuck Austen). And they can be forgiven for sneaking in Terror from Marvel’s Epic line, even though the supernatural figure is out of place in this otherwise realistic story. And what is there to say about the superb art by Klaus Janson? For a gritty, realistic look, he’s the next best thing to Frank Miller. The big question? Why doesn’t Nick Fury ever offer to help? Seems like a dozen SHIELD Agents would have come in handy.

Comments: The title comes from the first words of the US Constitution. Cameo: First Lady Barbara Bush and her dog Millie.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Punisher / Captain America #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In a warehouse near the docks of an unnamed city in Texas, a shady deal is going down. An opportunist who calls himself Dr. Slickster and his bodyguard Bull are selling a cache of military weapons to representatives of General Miguel Navatilas, dictator of the Latin American nation of Medisuelas. The deal is broken up by the sudden appearance of Captain America, acting in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The General’s men open fire on Cap but he dodges easily. When one uses a rocket launcher from the weapons cache, it explodes in his face. As Cap questions Slickster and Bull about the malfunctioning weapon, a team of soldiers from the Defense Intelligence Agency, led by Colonel Max Kalee, arrive and take the criminals into custody. But Cap sees conspiratorial glances between the soldiers and their captives and takes the opportunity to make off with a piece of the ruined gun….

In Washington, Attorney General Roger Mollech, with his efficient aide Angela Stone by his side, announces his efforts to indict General Miguel Navatilas for his drug trafficking….

In New York, Dr. Slickster and Bull are selling a satchel of cocaine to leaders of a street gang called the Die Hards; suddenly the room explodes from a planted bomb. The Punisher enters the scene of fiery chaos and guns down the gang members. Slickster and Bull head to the roof where the henchman tries to hold off the vigilante. Punisher sends him over the edge of the roof but the boss has sent for an escape line: a military helicopter picks him up and flies away. Punisher hitches a ride on the aircraft and disables the tail rotor sending the copter plummeting to the ground. The vigilante and his quarry, still clutching the briefcase full of cash, leap to safety before the copter explodes in a fireball. Punisher pursues Slickster onto a subway train where, after a violent struggle, the "hero" manages to stab his foe to death with a shard of broken glass.

In Medisuela, Angela Stone assures General Navatilas that their system is working again: after the brief interruption in Texas and New York, drugs confiscated on the street are again being resold to purchase arms for the General….

Captain America has a scientist friend at the Smithsonian examine the piece of the damaged gun and the expert concludes that the weapon was sabotaged. Cap heads to the warehouse to examine the other impounded weapons and finds they were checked out by Colonel Kalee of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Cap traces Kalee’s flight and sneaks aboard the plane just before take-off; he examines the weapons and discovers they were likewise sabotaged. Caught by Kalee’s aide, he manages to leap overboard and parachute to safety. Kalee contacts Angela Stone who takes steps to deal with Captain America. She lets down her hair and removes her glasses to appear more attractive and arranges a meeting with the Punisher. Posing as a whistleblower inside the government, she meets him in a hotel room; when a killer (actually a dupe in her pay) takes a shot at her (and is killed by the ex-soldier), the Punisher is convinced to investigate the conspiracy. The secret files reveal that the mastermind behind the sinister dealings is none other than Captain America….

That evening, as Cap is talking to his scientist friend on the Capitol steps, the Punisher is on a roof across the way. Steeling his resolve, he takes aim with a sniper rifle and fires a shot into the chest of Captain America….


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> Punisher / Captain America: Book info and issue index

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Klaus Janson
Klaus Janson
John Wellington
Klaus Janson (Cover Penciler)
Klaus Janson (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Punisher
Punisher

(Frank Castle)