Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Born #1-4

Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Darick Robertson and Tom Palmer

 I haven't read any of Garth Ennis's Punisher comics, and I've never been particularly interested in reading any.  I think, some time after Preacher ended, I reached my saturation point on Ennis's writing, unless he's writing a war comic.  Somehow, his war comic starring the Punisher that came out in 2003 got past me until this last week.

Born shows us what the end of the Vietnam War was like for Frank Castle. He places Frank, on his third tour of duty, in a mostly forgotten Firebase (Valley Forge) near the Cambodian border.  The officer in charge just wants to wait out the war, and is concerned more about rocking the boat than keeping his men alive.  Most of the soldiers are addicted to drugs, and hardly anyone cares about doing their actual job.

Frank, being the super-soldier that he is, is holding everything together, although his motivations aren't exactly pure either.  Ennis seems to suggest that the Punisher is a different persona, speaking to Frank, either from within, or from without, a concept that wasn't ever picked up on again, to my knowledge.  I made a conscious decision to read this as more of a war comic than as a Marvel comic, so I tended to fixate more on how Ennis portrayed the war as one completely bankrupt of purpose and justification.  Many of the usual Vietnam tropes were trotted out (grenades in the latrines, the overwhelming number of enemies outside the wire, etc.), but Ennis always uses these elements to good effect.

Darick Robertson and Tom Palmer created some very nice art for this book, as both their reputations demand.  I did find that their Vietnamese did not often look very Vietnamese, but other than that, this was a very likeable comic.

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