Monday, February 5, 2018

Punisher: The Platoon #5 Review

Punisher: The Platoon #5

Writer: Garth Ennis
Art Team: Goran Parlov , Jordie Bellaire
Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 31, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99

Battle Tested, Soldier Approved

A Frank Castle Marvel Max series hasn't been done in awhile. So Garth Ennis stepped to the helm and picked a wartime setting, featuring Frank in Vietnam, leading a platoon of soldiers through a jungle mission, where you just know shit will pop off. So let's take a peek at the series already in progress and see if it'll force us back for more. I'll start by saying not having read back issues I have lots of questions lol.

Issue five begins as the Platoon lead by Frank Castle approach a stream/swampy area of the forestisation they’re traveling, filled with dead bodies of fallen soldiers. We transition from there to a few of the troops talking about the events we’re seeing in the past at a table, mainly debating about the validity of risking bodies to bring back dead soldiers. Why are they reminiscing? Admittedly, I didn't read past issue of this series, but its not made entirely made clear here.

Checking back in on Vietnam, Frank orders a call back to base, but the group discovers the batteries are bunk after a scam to sell fresh ones to locals by fellow troops, appears to have affected them. Meanwhile we also discover, the crew wandering in a bad area of the jungle, is being snooped on by the chick on the cover, obviously not a fan of Castle and company from past issues events.

Ennis isn't kind to people who just jump in here, with a lot of points being touched on, mixed with military speak, all which leves my head is spinning at points in this book. We jump to a Vietnamese bunker, where it seems a General of sorts is mulling his next move. Taking word from the spy girl we’ve just seen, he sends a squad of troops out after the platoon run by Frank nearby.

The Platoon moves forward anticipating they still have the element of surprise, while the Comm‘s guy takes the high ground climbing a tree, to get word to Artillery, or to Pick Up, to reach them. Suddenly mortars start pouring in on their position hitting a few of the platoon soldiers. The Vietnamese move forward, and Franks squad spreads out into position, to take on the troops that outnumber them severely. 

The Platoon decides that their best course of action is to get back across the stream bed, in seperate groups, while the others hold off the advancing troops. Airstrike will hopefully arrive in time to bomb the streamside they just left seems to be the plan. As the final group starts moving across the stream they get word a few are left behind and wounded. Frank hands off control to the Corporal, and on the way back into the jungle, gets snuck up on and stabbed ... as our issue concludes, by the spy girl, who’s sneaking around all issue long.

Overall, the concept and idea of this series intrigues me, but this was not a good point to jump in cold and experience what the Punisher Platoon series has to offer. Ennis does little to recap past events, really pushing the story forward in this penultimate issue, which Im sure pleases series regulars, but left me to fend for myself and understand what I could from context. The art is a perfect accompaniment to this series and looks great, having a truly gritty feel to it, gives it a classic throwback feel I really like.

I would highly recommend this as a strong beginning to a conclusion for a series, you’re already reading, but if the ideas here intrigue you and you’re new, start from the beginning of the story and don't just jump into this issue cold.

Bits and Pieces

Ennis does a good jump of setting up a tense conclusion to this mini series, which has some cool looking and seriously gritty art, that accompanies a war story very well. However if the concept intrigues you I would recommend you start fresh from #1 and not jump into the middle of this series.


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