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The Punisher and Wolverine: African Saga (1989, October)

October 1, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So I somehow completely missed a story. In Punisher War Journal #6 and 7, there was a two-part story that featured Wolverine. I missed them when I was going through. So, here’s both parts now. By Carl Potts, Jim Lee, Gregory Wright, and Jim Novak, Part 1: “On the Track of Unknown Animals.”

On the Track of Unknown Animals

This is an awesome cover.

Microchip tries to tell Punisher to relax, a billionaire stares at a wall of dead animal heads with a plaque ready for something called a Mokele-Mbembe, an African cryptid comparable to the Loch Ness Monster, and a bunch of pygmy hunters flee from something that looks like that. And in Madripoor, Logan spots a dude wearing a coat made of king cheetah skin, driving a truck full of dead animals. He threatens details out of the guy about the smuggling ring, then has him strip to his undies and run away. Because Logan has a bit of a cruel streak sometimes. Then he makes plans to head to Africa. Which is also where Microchip convinces Punisher to go. Anyway, there’s lots of Punisher stuff I won’t talk about here because I do X-Men, but a lot of it’s pretty good. Potts always did good work with the character.

But, Wolverine! He’s in the same jungle the Punisher’s in, looking for the poachers, so he can shut down the ring. He spots a red flag that’s the marker for where some parts are located. He finds the Punisher, who’s just killed a gorilla that attacked him. Logan slashes him and he falls into the water. This issue features little of Logan, which is fair, it’s the Punisher’s book, after all. But it’s still an enjoyable issue, well-written, great art. Jim Lee’s fantastic. The couple of Logan scenes are good, even if there’s only a couple. He looks scary and nasty. The moment where he pops his claws on that smuggler guy is especially awesome.

And Part 2: Endangered Species.

Endangered Species

Less awesome, but still pretty cool.

It opens with Punisher wrestling a crocodile, so that’s neat. Logan’s hunting the poachers, ignores a bite from a snake, and takes down a gazelle that he’s forced to give up to a cheetah. Logan ends up tracking the poachers to where they’ve found the Mokele-Mbembe. I should note that the poachers are the wife of the professor leading the scientific expedition the Punisher’s on, and a Corporal in the country’s military. So Logan finds them, and Punisher finds Logan, so it’s a big ol’ fight time! The noise of the fight scares off the dinos, and the expedition arrives, so the poaching plan is pretty much ruined. And the poachers get killed.

So, uh, this was sure a story. Dinosaurs in Africa. OK then. I’ll accept it in Antarctic. Fine, OK, secret world with dinosaurs, sure. But in Africa? Yeah, sorry, that’s a harder sell for me. Also, not much Wolverine in these issues. Wish he’d gotten a bigger role, but again, I understand that this isn’t his book. It’s worth noting that this is the first meeting between Logan and Castle, and it’s treated that way. I’m pretty sure later stories have implied much earlier meetings between them, because Marvel started to really love retconning Logan Knows Goddamn Everyone shit into Logan’s history.

Regardless, this story’s not very memorable. It’s somewhat memorable as the first meeting between Wolverine and the Punisher, but even that doesn’t really help much. It’s still an odd-ball story about African dinosaurs. It’s not a bad story, by any means. It’s enjoyable for what it is. And it might be more memorable for Punisher fans, I don’t know. But coming at it from an X-Men angle, it’s just a story that happened.

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