Punisher Valley Forge, Valley Forge – Trade Paperback
Writer Garth Ennis
Art Goran Parlov
Colors Lee Loughridge
I have picked up the Punisher Max run by Garth Ennis as trades and have sent them on, but I have loved the series so much I have also picked up the 12 issues deluxe hard covers for my own bookshelf. It was with a little bit of sadness that I finally got around to reading Valley Forge, Valley Forge, as this was Ennis’ swan song on the Max Punisher (who is essentially in his own little corner of the Marvel Universe). This is not the same Punisher in any other book this is the “real” Punisher.
By saying he is the real Punisher, Garth has crafted a portrait of a hard man who has transcended himself and become a living legend among the underworld and intelligence operations. He is one of the more real feeling characters under Ennis pen in then almost any other “super hero”. Frank looks and feels like he could be 50/60 years old and just a mean big nasty tough as nails son of a b*tch who can take down any operation and fight off any bad guys.
Seminal runs are rare in comics. The medium has a seventy year history and I would be hard pressed to name more then two dozen or so seminal runs. So a true seminal run has to define a character in ways the character has never been defined before or create a character and define them in such a way that it will always be looked at as a shining moment in the character’s history . Garth Ennis’ sixty issues on the Punisher is a seminal run. This character has been defined like never before. You can feel and understand Frank’s harsh set of morals. You feel Frank’s anger, lack of remorse, hate, sense of loss and even that tiny spark of humanity. Frank Castle can walk out of the book and you would know him and be able to talk to him, since you know him so well. When you look back at all the Punisher stories and go over all his history in comics, you can throw it all away and just read these books and you have what Frank Castle is and will be in my mind for a very long time. Thank you Garth for giving us this portrayal of this character.
I guess you know by now that I liked Valley Forge, Valley Forge a lot. It tied together almost the entire run and put a nice bow on it, by using the site where Frank met death in Viet Nam as the center piece (Valley Forge). The story is simple enough as Frank ultimately takes out some generals who as part of the military industrial complex that had it in for Frank for f**king up a lot of their plans. It is the emotional content of the story that will always stay with me. Frank hates the killing, but feels doomed to be a part of it. He is not scared of dying, but he will not go gently into the good night. Frank believes in right and wrong and not the law. Frank Castle maybe classified as an anti-hero, but in some ways he is the hero for doing what we can not or will not do.
Valley Forge, Valley Forge – AN ABSOLUTE “A” as was the entire run.