Frank Castle’s military experience is an essential part of his transition into his Punisher vigilante persona, and writer Garth Ennis is dedicated to exploring how Frank’s time in the Vietnam War shaped him into the criminal killer he would become. His 2003 Born miniseries looked at Frank’s final tour in Vietnam, recounting the massacre at Firebase Valley Forge that brought out his dark side and forever changed him, but that darkness was lingering beneath the surface before that traumatic incident. Punisher: The Platoon is a prequel to Born that jumps back to Frank’s first tour of Vietnam, when he’s a young soldier who has yet to make his first kill. The six-issue miniseries reunites Ennis with his Punisher MAX and Fury MAX collaborator Goran Parlov, and these creators have a deep understanding of Frank’s character that makes them the ideal team to delve into this major period of The Punisher’s life.
It’s been four years since Ennis and Parlov worked together on the Fury MAX miniseries detailing Nick Fury’s military career after World War II, and they both have a remarkable talent for wartime stories that tackle the subject matter with brutal authenticity. This exclusive preview of Punisher: The Platoon #1 begins with callbacks to Ennis’ earlier Punisher stories as Frank’s Marine buddies are interviewed by the brother of Stevie Goodwin, the point-of-view character of Born. Parlov’s skill for creating an immersive, lively environment is at the forefront of these pages, whether he’s depicting an upscale bar or a field in Vietnam littered with soldiers. Parlov is one of the great ink artists working in comics today, and colorist Jordie Bellaire makes sure that her rendering doesn’t overpower the linework. There’s a grainy texture to the coloring that gives these pages an aged look that is appropriate for a flashback tale, and one of the most exciting things about this series is seeing these two artist powerhouses working together for the first time.