Tuesday, June 2, 2015
PC POST #253: -ARTICLE- The Punisher's BattleVan ( Some 1980s Punisher Nostalgia )
I first started reading Punisher comics in the mid to late 80's. At that time in the Punisher's history, he had a lot more resources to draw on than he does in current continuity. Even now I look back on the early issues of The Punisher and Punisher War Journal and miss those times and stories even if they may not seem realistic by today's standards.
The thing that made those stories work was the time period they came out in. In the 1980s, LE did not have the hi-tech ability to find people and the Feds did not have satellites and drones. It was not out of the questions that clever few guys could set up dummy business and accumulate all they needed with the millions of dollars Frank took from dead drug dealers. The safe house abandoned warehouses was another aspect of those times I loved and still miss now.
In those days, Frank had his partner Microchip as his Intel and armorer to get him what he needed and outfit his safe houses and training areas as well as help finding targets and avoiding the less sympathetic police agencies wanting to bring him in.
One of the best things from that time is the battlevan. Frank's transport and weapons platform. Also serving as a a computer station and sleeping quarters at times. The van played a major part in many stories. with a couple of other vehicles standing in at times for special mission. One mission was The Punisher hunting down a serial killer of cab drivers. Turns out the killer was a woman raped by a cab driver and was now out to kill them all. Frank was some what sympathetic. but he still killed her.
Another story was an early War Journal issue where Punisher raids a crack house and the antagonist of the book tries to break into the Van. They fail over and over and when he does get in, he sets off the booby trap. The van was almost a character in itself in the issue and it was a favorite of mine.
A few times the van was upgraded with heavier weaponry and armor for special mission and even once made to be a small airplane. But it seemed to always get destroyed for the most part. Frank is hard on his equipment.
I may be alone, but I think it is a shame that we probably will not see those days again. Current writers seem to like the idea of Frank being constantly on the run and living in flea bite apartments with very little gear beyond the bare minimum. I think its a little bit of a mistake. Frank is smart and there is no reason why he would not have some of the safe houses left in NJ. Sure most were destroyed in the events of the last few issues of the 3 original book's runs, but comics are retconned all the time. Of course, to go with the vans and safe houses, Frank needs a side kick like Micro' again. Punisher always does better with some one to interact with. Not some one trying to talk him out of what he is doing, but some one who understands but also considers him a comrade , thought the friendship can not be returned equally. The Punisher is The Punisher after all.
We are probably not going to see a return of the Battlevan and safe houses in New Jersey anytime soon in the 616, but I like to look back and remember the excellent 80s stories. When the stories were written by guys who understood Frank and how his stories should go.