Finished off the final episode of season 1 today. It was a good, solid chunk of story that dealt with themes of the human toll of violence in war, the exploitation of soldiers to serve the (potentially) ignoble ends of their superiors. What it was not, was a Punisher story. Not necessarily. For me, Frank is at his best when he is methodically murdering his way up the chain of a criminal syndicate because all he knows is war and he has focused that rage on organized crime. Settling personal scores and untangling the conspiracy that ended up taking his family away is fine, and I see why they decided to focus the series on that personal mission, with the built-in stakes. But for my money, I would rather see the Punisher abusing rental return policies in the service of delivering hot lead to scumbags:
Or maybe punching a polar bear to get it riled up enough to eat a criminal he has cornered in it’s enclosure:
Either way, the slow burn investigation into the off-the-books heroin smuggling/assassination ring Franks’ superiors had him caught up in was fine but it lead to several episodes where Frank didn’t kill anyone at all. What kind of Punisher tale is that?
Frank Einstein had a brief flirtation with a career in the circus. He traveled with the troup on a sea journey, but to say that the circus folk didn’t exactly warm to our snazzily dressed hero would be putting it mildly. Take for example this early encounter with the show’s skinless strongman:
Frank may in fact be something of a scaredy-cat, but the man has some serious moves:
A master of running an interior dialogue, even after getting kneed in the chain, Frank may hate pain but can still take a punch:
Pain, maybe. But never death. He has also apparently mastered some heretofore unknown martial art thatmakes his kicks have defecatory sound effects:
He even manages to lay the final smackdown while pondering some of the deeper questions that plague us on this moving sidewalk we call life:
Madman has it all: depth, agility, charisma. Just like Bahlactus.
Stupid things like traveling to new parts of the country, spending time with family and friends, and working on law school briefs have really cut into my posting-scanned-comics-panels-on-the-internet time. As a result, I’ve had to sit out the last few rounds of Friday Night Fights refereed by the dread Bahlactus, but now I feel the need to step back into the ring.
Mike Allred’s Madman faces a dizzying array of opponents in Madman Gargantua, fighting robots, terrorists, and giant puke blobs with equal vigor. He even goes toe-to-toe with the creatures of the deep. To set the scene: Our Hero has been traveling on the giant swollen brain of his mutating friend and employer Dr. Boiffard. After much soul searching and bonding on the open ocean, Madman finds himself approaching an island. Unfortunately, shortly after making landfall, Madman (a.k.a. Frank Einstein) accidentally drops his rocket pack into the briny deep.
Much to Frank’s chagrin, he finds the device protected by some manner of purple cephalapod. Frank knows what to do.
Having gone all Santiagio on the creature, Frank escapes from his watery grave but has to take care not to let his mind run away from him, as it were. But the wounded squid blocks his approach.
This quick thinking marked the end of Frank’s nautical excursion but the not the end of his time on the island.
Hey, Frank Einstein (a.k.a Madman), What do you think about the television program Lost? I think it’s really interesting how they were able to weave such a dense, multi-layered story around a bunch of people hanging around an island. But I am a little worried that the creators sometimes try to cram too many amazing things into the story.
Oh, I feel better already. Did you see the one where they got taken to a separate, nearby island? And what do you think about the mysterious appearances of Jack’s dead Dad and the otherworldly “Jacob”? Did you see those?
Hey, Frank Einstein (a.k.a Madman), What kind of grades did you get when you were in school?
Recently I finished reading the Madman Gargantua, a pleasantly hefty volume collecting the adventures of Mike Allred’s ginchiest creation. There will be a full review later, but suffice it to say it’s about a re-animated hitman named Frank Einstein and his mad scientist pals and it’s overflowing with aliens, robots, time travel, and other awesome wackiness. In honor of this volume, I’ve decided to dedicate the month of March to celebrating it with a little something I’m calling March Mad(man)ness. To kick things off, our hero meets a fan:
Lately I’ve been reading the early Iron Fist stories, trying to get a better feel of the raw materials that Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction are working with to craft the all-kinds-of-bad-ass Immortal Iron Fist series. There’s a fair amount of 70s cheese to the early tales from Doug Moench, Chris Claremont, et al. But from the start there is something compelling about young Danny Rand and his mystical king-fu abilities. He may not have had the coolest rogues gallery, but even jobbers like Khumbala Bey up there served the purposes of the story well enough. That purpose being: walking punching bag.
This little donnybrook occurred before the character really came into his own as a Hero for Hire alongside the eternally silk-shirted Luke Cage. Iron Fist suffered from some sartorial missteps of his own, rocking the comically over-sized collar, while showing off his chest tattoo:
He may not have had the keenest fashion sense, but he had the skills. His is a story as old as time. Boy goes on vacation with parents and family friend. Family friend is actually evil and kills Boy’s father and leaves Boy and his mother to die in the Himalayas. Mom gets eaten by wolves. Boy is given refuge by mystical mountain city of immortal bad-asses. Boy learns kung-fu from immortal bad-asses, thereby becoming the Grand High Bad-Ass (which the call Iron Fist). Boy uses kung-fu skills to avenge his father’s death. There are also ninjas.
I can’t help but wonder why nobody else had the idea to take this character off the shelf before Frubaker came along. But I’m glad they did.
Bahlactus knows what I mean.
The fist in question belongs to one Marc Spector, whose nom de superhero is Moon Knight. Before he went around mutilating people’s faces, he used to just lay a little smack down on the poor thugs. This example is from Essential Moon Knight Vol. 2, part of the excellent line of old school Marvel reprints that make up for the lack of color with pure grit, son. All the issues in this volume are drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz, and the man was on his game at this point in the swingin’ seventies. Moon Knight may not have had the coolest villains, but he could throw down and Sienkiewcz always made it look good.
Brought to you by Bahlactus, as usual.
This comes from the recently released and very awesome graphic novel The Goon: Chinatown –
It’s a kind of origin story for Eric Powell’s heavily scarred noir character and it looks incredible. The Goon pretends to be an enforcer for a crime family while actually running the show himself, frequently going up against zombies and supernatural weirdness as a natural cost of doing business. Chinatown varies from the usual formula, eschewing humor for a darker, more emotional tone. From the first page Powell warns the reader that “This ain’t funny” and he ain’t kidding as he shows us how The Goon got his scars, inside and out. If this is more than you want to know, take it up with Bahlactus.