by Michael DeLaney
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
The Vietnam War is often pointed to as a clear turning point in modern American History. The confluence of improvements in broadcast television and questionable international interference led to disastrous results – taking millions of lives and leaving a devastating impact on those who walked away with their lives. Among those survivors – in the fictional Marvel world – was Frank Castle.
Punisher: The Platoon is a semi-prequel to Garth Ennis’ acclaimed PunisherMAX run. In the limited series Born, Ennis shows us Frank Castle’s last tour of duty in Vietnam via author Michael Goodwin. In Punisher: The Platoon 1, Ennis has returned with Goodwin to complete the story with Castle’s very first tour of duty.
Here Frank Castle is not yet the cold, no-nonsense soldier he was by the end of his last tour nor is he the merciless one man army he’d eventually become. Goran Parlov draws Castle as a broad-shouldered, handsome, stone-faced giant. He’s the new commanding officer of his platoon and his zero combat experience, but that doesn’t mean he’s completely green. He orders an airstrike based on some rumored intel from his sergeant.
I think the most effective scene in the book is near the beginning of Punisher: The Platoon 1, where Goodwin is approaching Castle’s former brothers-in-arms for his new book. Goodwin alludes to how Vietnam changed the men who fought in the war, as well as America.
I do believe that there is a lot of truth in this statement but one of the vets Goodwin interviews interjects “When was America ever innocent?” I think this is especially poignant for today, as we seem to be finding more and more ways to lose any semblance of innocence.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?