In a few weeks we’ll be returning to the adventures of the Fantastic Four, but first the conclusion to Punisher / Wolverine The African Saga. This week we’ll take a look at Punisher War Journal No. 7. To recap last issue… Punisher is in Africa, hunting dinosaurs (but he doesn’t know that, well he knows he’s in Africa, but he doesn’t know he’s hunting dinos), Wolverine is also in Africa (again, fully aware he is there) hunting poachers. A case of mistaken identity later, Wolvie kicked Punisher’s skulled butt.
Issue 7 begins with the ultimate comeback as Punisher kills an alligator with a stick. This piece of brilliant Jim Lee art holds a very special place in my heart. I had a trading card featuring this image, I might still have it, regardless it’s an iconic Punisher image for Josiah (me).
Frank still thinks that Logan is the poacher, just as Wolverine believes there are more poachers out there, so he’s hunting down the rest of the expedition. Wolverine is hungry, so he kills a deer (maybe a cow, a cow-deer, is that a thing?). He doesn’t finish but shares it with a cheetah.
Meanwhile, in Texas, we have the part of the story we don’t care about. It kind of matters later, but it also doesn’t. I assume this is planting seeds for ongoing Punisher stories, but here it’s just less Wolverine and less Punisher. In Africa, some villagers refuse to talk of the expedition, meaning they won’t say where the dinos are. Evil wife, who we’ll call Blondie, bribes one of the locals with a gold bracelet. Only Blondie and her boyfriend, the colonel who’s a poacher, go to see… cue the Jurassic Park music….
Round 2 kicks off as Punisher now has the upper hand, being that Wolverine thought he killed him. Pun gets the drop on Wolvie. Blondie also gives us some clunky exposition just in case you didn’t understand that they both think the other is the real poacher. She also stupidly shouts “kill them both” because they were scaring the dinos when clearly they would have just did you a favor and killed each other.
The rest of the expedition finally shows up, bracelet lady went back and spilled the dino shaped beans. A random Congolese soldier shoots his colonel, the poacher. The Punisher feels he’s left with “no choice” and guns Blondie down, shooting her in the back, in front of her husband!
Punisher lets Wolverine go, leaving the potential for a much more interesting battle between the two (did it ever come?). Dying, Blondie reveals the plot. The rich Texan paid her a million dollars to do all this to get his dino trophy. Both Punisher and Wolverine leave the poacher to his fate. That fate? Getting trampled by dinosaurs.
Also, be sure to check out my video review of the “graphic novel” version of this. I made the video a year ago and intentionally didn’t watch it when working on this review in order to allow each to be it’s own thing. Thanks once again for hanging out with me in the past. Time is a precious commodity and you gifted me with yours. Next week we’ll have another personally significant comic (and maybe even socially significant).
Josiah Golojuh is a writer, he REALLY loved this comic as a kid (find his collection of short stories here), he’s also a YouTube commentator (where, among other things, he does things similar to these Retro Reviews).