Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Punisher 29 - Acts of Vengeance

As might be guessed from the cover, this issue is one of the easiest to place in the overall order of the crossover since it features the same fight as in Avengers #312. However it also demonstrates some poor communication and editing across the crossover since the Avengers shown are the-then regular line-up of the east coast team and the venue shown inside is the exterior of the Guggenheim Museum, whereas the actual fight involves a team of mostly west coast Avengers in Avengers Park. More pertinently both Doctors Doom and the mysterious stranger are shown watching the events without the rest of the leading super-villains. It's moments like these that really undermine a crossover as the inconsistencies stand out so prominently. This becomes even more irritating when the Avengers' fight only appears in one panel despite also seizing the cover.

Punisher #29

Writer: Mike Baron
Penciler: Bill Reinhold
Inker: Mark Farmer
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colourist: Gregory Wright
Editor: Carl Potts
Dr Doom: Tom DeFalco

At a baser level it's also something of a shock to come straight from the Avengers issue where Doctor Doom pointedly stayed aloof from the petty squabbles of the other villains whereas here his scene with the Kingpin shows a much more argumentative Doom who is openly contemptuous of his ally as a "cheap gangster" and much easier to manipulate. The story is entitled "Too many Dooms", which proves quite appropriate given the multiple portrayals of the deposed monarch. Curiously it's the other Doctor Doom, the boy Kristoff with Doom's implanted memories and personality, who comes closer to the more conventional portrayal than the real thing.

Or maybe, as the Punisher speculates, we haven't seen the real Doom at all and instead there are more impostors than a first glance would suggest?

The Punisher is left trying to navigate between the two rival Dooms, with one hoping he will destroy the other but Frank is canny enough to realise the futility of this given the number of Doombots around. Instead he opts to free himself and find a way to bargain out of the situation. This leads to him and Microchip making a dramatic escape from Latveria with even Shield as an obstacle to returning to the States. But his eventual solution proves quite logical.

As individual issues of Punisher this two-part storyline has been quite a good way of taking the crossover premise to produce a solid story with an unusual for. However as part of a wider crossover story the different presentation of a key scene in one of the core chapters and the different portrayal of Doctor Doom sticks out, making this corner rather less effective.

Punisher #29 has been reprinted in:

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