In every installment of Abandoned Love we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer without actively retconnng away the previous story. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.
Today, we look at how an issue of She-Hulk saved the lives of a bunch of crooks.
During Civil War, the Punisher received his own comic book series set in the Marvel Universe again (as Garth Ennis had been doing Punisher MAX for a while at this point), in a title called Punisher War Journal by Matt Fraction. The idea was that Ennis’ series would be the “realistic” Punisher stories, while Fraction would have Punisher go after super-powered threats.
As part of this new approach, Fraction had the Punisher knock off a longtime Marvel supervillain, the always reliable for cannon fodder, Stilt-Man!
In Punisher War Journal #4 (by Fraction and Mike Deodato), Fraction wrote a clever issue (with beautiful Deodato art) showing how Stilt-Man’s peers mourned their friend at a wake at the famous “Bar With No Name.” They eventually got into a brawl that was broken up by Spider-Man (in one of the rare guest appearances by Spider-Man during the time that his secret identity was briefly known publicly following Civil War). During the whole time, there was a bartender serving everyone with a thick mustache. And yes, you guessed it, that bartender was the Punisher!
So he killed a bar filled with low-level villains, but there were some fairly notable characters mixed in there, like the Chameleon.
So very soon after this, in She-Hulk #17 (by Dan SLott, Rick Burchett and Cliff Rathburn), She-Hulk becomes an agent of SHIELD following the events of Civil War. Her lawyer co-worker, a famous super-villain defense attorney, visits the bar and she reveals that, nope, none of them died that night in Punisher War Journal #4…
I’m torn, as the Punisher War Journal issue was REALLY good, but I also hate killing off that many characters at once, so I think it was good job of abandoning it.
If anyone has a suggestion of an interesting abandoned comic book plot, drop me a line at email@example.com!
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