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The Punisher War Journal #9
“Guilt Trip”

By Carl Potts and Jim Lee
Published October 1989

As a favor to Daredevil, Black Widow is swinging across town to check in on the Punisher’s Asian neighbors, who are being attacked by a small army of armored suits piloted by clones of the young woman’s father. Punisher rolls up in his van and gets involved in the fight. He and the young woman and knocked out so the old man does some ninja magic/Vulcan mindmeld which allows him to see each of their origin stories side by side. One we already know and the other we don’t care about.

Eventually, they get back up and fight off one of the armored suits when she takes a grenade from Frank and uses her ninja reflexes to throw it into the exhaust port of the armor. Then Black Widow takes out another suit.

The Punisher #25
“Land of the Eternal Sun”

By Mike Baron, Erik Larsen, and Al Williamson
Published November 1989

In a double-sized issue, the Shadowmasters sneak a bomb into the headquarters of the Eternal Sun and blow it up. Then the boxer’s girlfriend shoots Yakamoto with an arrow and kills him in retaliation.

Punisher, the Shadowmaters, and Yakamoto’s daughter return to the states and go to a banquet where the boxer’s girlfriend/head of Eternal Sun is meeting with a congressman who is also a gun nut. They fight in an airplane hanger where he fires a gun that blows up all the jet fuel. Punisher and Yakamoto’s daughter manage to survive by wrapping themselves in a heavy canvas and standing near a window so the explosion blows them outside.

I am genuinely intrigued to see whether the fact a congressman was just blown up in an airplane hangar with several ninjas, at least one of whom had a criminal record, will ever come up again.

The Punisher #24
“Land of the Eternal Sun”

By Mike Baron, Erik Larsen, and Scott Williams
Published October 1989

Punisher goes to Japan to meet ninja master Hatsu Yakamoto. He climbs a mountain and is attacked by then kills a ninja. Over tea at Yakamoto’s home, the Punisher is asked to be the headmaster of a ninja school in the United States that would be the true representative of Yakamoto’s ninjitsu.

The Shadowmasters minus the old man show up and have brought assault rifles and a rocket launcher. A rival ninja clan shows up with an Apache helicopter. Punisher, Yakamoto, and the Shadowmasters fend them off, but not before Yakamoto’s home is burned down. Yakamoto’s daughter reveals herself, vaguely hinting at some ninja trick she used to survive the explosion that killed the fake ninjamaster in Kansas.

We learn that the rival clan is called Eternal Sun. They are working with a congressman who has sent an envoy. The Shadowmasters intercept him and pose as him to meet the head of Eternal Sun, who turns out to be the boxer’s girlfriend that poisoned Punisher a few issues ago.

The Punisher War Journal #8
“Damage”

By Carl Potts and Jim Lee
Published September 1989

Damage and Ronnie from a gang called the Bunsen Burners gun down some shopkeeper in broad daylight for having the gall to try to organize an anti-drug movement in the neighborhood. The Punisher finds Ronnie in an alley later and beat him to get Damage’s location. He’s about to kill him when Ronnie’s grandmother starts yelling down the alley for him to come home and take care of his little sister. Punisher lets him go.

Damage calls Ronnie at home and threatens to “cut him loose” if he doesn’t come to a gang meeting. Ronnie offers up the location of Punisher’s battle van and says he has to babysit. Damage and the gang try to break into the van and get slaughtered by its defenses. Meanwhile, the Punisher raids the Bunsen Burner headquarters and kills a bunch of dudes.

Punisher gets back to his van and finds Damage entwined in some metal trap that looks a lot like Doctor Octopus’s tentacles. He’s got broken bones and torn flesh and “will never up properly.” Punisher takes him to the hospital.

Meanwhile, Punisher’s Asian neighbors are visited by a friend who has been followed by a man in a mechanical suit of armor and who has the face of the young girl’s father (which she only learns after killing him). They are Shadowmasters and need a grandmaster, who they hope might be Hatsu Yakamoto, the ninja mentioned in the last two Punisher issues. The book also promises a four-issue Shadowmasters miniseries starting next month (which I bought even though it was prestige format, cost $4.95 an issue, and was a step down in storytelling quality for Carl Potts).

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