Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where we’re looking at the Marvel Mangaverse and an ostensibly mainstream one-shot worthy of the MAX label – Marvel Mangaverse: Punisher #1!
How’s It Different?
Like the rest of the Mangaverse, it’s an Imaginary Story wherein Marvel’s characters are reinterpreted through the lens of Japanese comics. Or more accurately, through American creators’ understanding of Japanese comic tropes and conventions.
What’s The Story?
The Punisher is a brutal, geisha-themed vigilante that is punishing the Yakuza….with canings, spankings, and cruel words! Sosumi Brown is an uptight boarding school headmistress who is taking custody of her juvenile delinquent/martial arts master sister Hashi. These two women, seemingly opposites, are actually one in the same and her both of her lives are threatened by the machinations of the Korean Yakuza gang, the Skang Kee family and their cruel leader Ho.
Best of Differences
- This one-shot is written by Peter David, a man famous/infamous for his love of punny names. Skang Kee Ho & her ally the Oni Yew battle sisters Sosumi and Hashi Brown. That’s like peak Peter David, man.
- Reinterpreting The Punisher’s name more…corporally is an amusing twist on the character, and easily the furthest from the source material any Mangaverse hero got – so far as I know, Frank Castle has never tickled a bound mafioso’s feet with a feather or spanked them sore.
- The Punisher rides to and from battle on horseback. How she keeps that discreet is never explained, but it’s cool.
- Hashi’s use of a cursed sword (about “turns into a panda when splashed by water” cursed) saves her sister from Skang Kee Ho and allows her to kill Oni Yew. This may well be the only Punisher in the Marvel Multiverse with a teen sidekick.
Lest you think Sosumi is a pushover, she can use her spanking paddles to deflect bullets and used her caning stick to blind a Yakuza soldier during a skirmish. As she rides past him on horseback. She may not be packing Frank’s level of hardware, but she’s tougher than your average vigilante dominatrix.
Worst of Differences
“The Kinkiest Superhero in Tokyo” is undoubtedly not a family friendly concept…but then again, neither is Marvel’s most violent vigilante.