Punisher War Journal #7

Issue Date: 
July 1989
Story Title: 
Endangered Species

Carl Potts (writer), Jim Lee (pencils), Jim Novak (letters), Gregory Wright (colors), Don Daley (editor), Kelly Corvese (assistant editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The Punisher has been thrown into an African river by Wolverine. He is attacked by an alligator, but after a battle manages to kill the creature and bring himself into safety. Wolverine continues his search for the expedition team, falsely suspecting that they are all responsible for the dead animals. After killing some deer for food, Logan goes on with his quest. Meanwhile in Texas, the Deli owner has found a house that looks like the one he saw in his visions. He breaks into it, and realizes it belongs to a bounty hunter searching for a mokele mbembe creature. The deli owner decides to investigate the hunter’s computer. Back at the village in Africa, Professor Wyeth becomes worried about Frank and sends Jacques after him, who eventually finds him. Norma and Embale continue with their separate plan to earn a million dollars for a mbembe head, and persuade a young village girl for info in return for Norma’s golden bracelet. The three take off unnoticed, and find a group of mbembe dinosaurs. Norma sends the girl back to the village, not wanting her to cause problems. However, once the girl is back at the village, Wyeth recognizes his wife’s bracelet around the girl’s arm, and demands that the girl tells him where she is. At the same time, Logan and the Punisher meet up with each other again and continue their battle. However, as they hear Norma wanting them dead because she doesn’t want witnesses, both Logan and Frank realize that they aren’t enemies from each other anymore and work together to stop her. Wyeth and the others also meet up with Logan and Frank, and Bokenga shoots Ebembe in his leg for betraying them. As Norma goes insane, wanting to kill one of the dinosaurs, Frank realizes he’s got no choice and kills her instead. With her final breath, Norma confesses to her husband that she was hired by a Texan bounty hunter to join his expedition team so she could get the money. She dies into his arms. Logan takes off alone, and follows an escaping Ebembe into the jungle but decides to let the jungle animals take care of him. Ten days later, Frank has returned home and Wolverine informs him through a letter that he took care of the bounty hunter. Frank still doesn’t know who Logan really is and wonders if Microchip has information about him. A month later, a mbembe dinosaur steps over Ebembe’s corpse, crushing it, and continues its trek throughout the African swamps.

Full Summary: 

The Punisher wakes up in the river Wolverine just tossed him in, but isn’t sure where he is. He takes a quick look around, realizing he is underwater and needs to follow the bubbles he can see to reach the surface again. Suddenly, he notices that an alligator is quickly approaching him, and opens its mouth at Frank, ready to eat him!

Moving quickly, Frank quickly grabs the alligator, making it swim to the surface. There, the raining has already started again. He spots a tree, and breaks a branch from it, beginning to beat the reptile. After a while, he amazingly manages to kill the alligator with it. It stops raining.

The next morning…
An exhausted Frank has been crawling over the ground all night, and feels cold. But he is determined to pay Logan back for what he did to him. Frank also believes that Logan must be the one who killed Jean, and is probably also the gorilla poacher. A few minutes later, Frank has re-gathered his strength and is ready for action. He recalls that his gun and equipment were still lying in the place where he dropped them during the fight. He remembers that Microchip had sent him on this African expedition to get away from his war on crime. Micro told Frank that he was too obsessed in avenging his family’s murder by mobsters. Micro said Frank needed to get away from hoods, fists and bodies and to instead take on the name of “Fort” as a pseudonym, so he could leave the Punisher behind back in New York. But instead, the Punisher stowed away and has arrived in the dark heart of the Congo.

Miles away…
Wolverine is busy tracking the other members of the expedition team, and hides in the high trees. He remembers how the Punisher was part of the expedition team, and believes that some of them are part of a big-game poaching ring, keeping themselves occupied by killing rare animals for fun and profit. The storm from last night wiped out most of the expedition team’s tracks, but Logan managed to find a way from at least two of the gorilla killers.

Suddenly, a snake bites Logan in his fist! Logan quickly unsheathes his claws and kills the snake with them, and afterward throws it away. His healing factor should counter the toxin of the snake before it gets up to his arm. He spots some deer below him, and smiles it’s time to eat. He jumps down from the tree and starts fighting one of the dears and is ready to kill it. However, as a wild and hungry cheetah approaches Logan, he decides to let the cheetah have its share, and Logan himself takes off.

Meanwhile, at a ranch outside of San Antonio in Texas…
The Deli owner takes a look at the ranch, and remembers it from the visions he had back in New York. He notices that the ranch has some dogs in it that act as security guards. As the Deli owner spots a rabbit, he picks it up, walks toward the ranch and feeds the rabbit to the hungry dogs. While they eat the rabbit up, the Deli owner gracefully jumps over the fence! He takes a note to himself that he has to withhold his energy and to keep his “presence” less than the rabbits’ so that the dogs ignore him. He climbs into a tree, and through a window spots a man admiring his room full of big game trophies. One plaque awaits its mount and has been described as “Mokele Mbembe.”

The Deli owner’s visions start to make sense to him now. He sees the man working: buying, selling and transferring investments on his computer. The man leaves, and the Deli owner makes it to the house’s skylight. He opens it, and explains that the electronic security is minimal and easily breached. The man relies too much on his dogs. The Deli owner isn’t familiar with the type of computer he sees, and he believes it will take some time for him to figure it out.

Frank continues his way through the jungle. He states that, whoever the guy that attacked him is, he seems to know his way in the bush. Frank also finds some animal carcasses, and it looks like his attacker stopped for a meal that was later scavenged by a cat. He finds some cut vines and drinks the water from it, believing it should slake his parched throat. However, Frank realizes that there is no time for anything more substantial. His attacker is tracking down the rest of the expedition team, and Frank can’t let him do the same thing he believes Logan also did to Jean, and tried to do to him.

At a nearby village…
Wyeth believes they can’t wait for Frank anymore, before they set out for their final objective. Soon, Wyeth explains, the rivers will start to fall, which will make their return impossible. They also need to get the village natives to give their team some information on where in the lake they would be likely to find a mokele mbembe. He wants Bokenga to give it a try, since he’s a government official.

Norma mentions that the Chief of the village has taken Jean’s body back to his village. Wyeth suggests that they move on to the lake, even if the villagers prove uncooperative. He asks Jacques to go find “Mr. Fort” and to inform him that the team will meet him at the lake’s southernmost shore point. He believes Fort’s location should be between them and the site of Jean’s death, because the Chief said Fort would go investigate some mysterious tracks. Jacques takes off and promises he’ll find Frank.

Wyeth has noticed that the villagers all know French from the Colonial times. He walks over to some villagers, and in French asks them where to find the mokele mbembe. The villagers claim that they can’t help the team. Bokenga shows them a picture book and wants them to identify any creature that may look like the mbembe. The villagers don’t think they’ll be able to. Wyeth wonders why the villagers are hesitant to help them.

Wyeth explains to the villagers that people from the south don’t believe the mbembe legend and asks the villagers’ help to prove the truth, but the villagers claim that they don’t know what Wyeth is talking about. Norma realizes that Ebambe is again trying to impress the local young girls, and notices one of the young girls staring at her golden bracelet. Norma thinks she can persuade the girl into talking if she gives her the bracelet, and gives it a try.

The girl tells Norma that all of the other women of the village would envy her if she had the bracelet. But, she isn’t supposed to tell about the legend. Norma promises the girl that she won’t get into any trouble and just wants to learn what she wants to know, and in return the girl can keep the bracelet. The girl confirms that there exist a few of the mbembe in this area. Almost every midmorning, these great beasts travel from the thick swamp jungle down a stream into the lake. There, the beasts feed, and only return to the jungle by nightfall. The mbembe are fearsome when they are being aroused, and even the Pygmies stay away from the swamps. She tells Norma she can still reach it if they hurry. Norma quietly informs Ebambe about this news and takes the young girl with her as a guide. She wants to reach the beast before the rest of the expedition team will.

Several kilometers away, Jacques has managed to find Frank and they begin their track to the lake. Suddenly, Jacques tells Frank to wait and they hide behind some bushes. Jacques shows Frank a leopard feasting on the body of a dead gorilla. They’ll have to move around it, as the leopard will be protective of its kill. Jacques also suspects that more gorillas will probably appear soon to attack the lone leopard to avenge their fallen friend, so Jacques thinks it’s best they move to the left.

Later, at lake Tele…
Norma, Ebambe and the young girl have found some mbembe creatures. A happy Norma shouts that they’ll be rich now. She tells the girl she can go back to the village now, but doesn’t want her to tell the others about this or else she’ll take her bracelet back. The girl leaves, and Emambe takes some tranquilizers out of a suitcase.

Back at the village…
Wyeth gives up, and tells Bokenga to give it a try. Bokenga threatens the villagers to better tell them what they want to know, or else their government might stop sending them medical supplies. The villagers agree to cooperate now, thinking their government wants them too. They explain that for years, the Russian advisers their government used to send warned them to never trust American people.

In the next few minutes, Wyeth and the rest of the team hear the same information Norma received earlier about the dinosaurs. On that moment, the young girl comes back to the village, and Wyeth recognizes the bracelet around her arm, as it belonged to his wife. He wants to know where she is. The young girl doesn’t want to talk at first, but the chief tells her to obey and she points the expedition team to the place Norma and Ebambe are.

Elsewhere in the jungle…
The Punisher has finally caught up with Logan, and from a tree spots him running towards Norma and Ebambe. Frank can’t see any of the other of the expedition team and worries if Logan has already killed them. He thinks he’ll have to haul in to get a close enough shot at Logan. But, Frank reminds himself to talk to Logan first before he sends him into the next world, so he can at least hear what his story is. Frank jumps out of his tree, and shoots a dart into Logan’s leg! Though it affects him, Logan feels that his healing factor is already kicking in, and he can feel the pain of the wound knitting together. He also hears the Punisher coming after him, and Logan realizes he’ll have to move his leg up before Frank attacks him.

Logan manages to do this, and quickly snikts out his claws and slices off the top of the Punisher’s gun! Frank in return punches and kicks Logan into his face. Logan slices Frank through his chest, causing him to bleed. Logan shouts to Frank that he will no longer kill gorillas. Frank takes out his other gun and starts shooting at Logan again, who dodges all of the shots.

Ebambe laughs, having heard that both Frank and Logan suspect each other to be the gorilla killers, and don’t even suspect him or Norma. Norma believes otherwise, plus the two combatants are scaring away the dinosaurs. Norma tells Ebambe to shoot both Frank and Logan, who stop fighting when they hear this. Logan recognizes a scent, and realizes that Norma and Ebambe are the real killers.

Norma sees the dinosaurs returning back to the swamps, and wants to hold them back. Wyeth and the others arrive, and want to know what Norma is up too. Norma thinks they’ll have to shoot the mbembe’s if they want the money. Ebambe wants to shoot, but Bokenga is faster and shoots Ebambe, calling him a disgrace for their country’s force. Frank believes that the quarrel he has with Logan is over. An injured Ebambe follows the dinosaurs into the swamps, and Bokenga tells the expedition team to let the guy go because he is now entering swamp area even the pygmies won’t enter. Norma tries to shoot some of the dinosaurs. Frank realizes he’s got no other choice, and kills Norma!

Logan goes into the swamp and takes off. Bokenga sees this and wants to shoot Logan, thinking he is “Fort’s” enemy, but Frank tells Bokenga not to, realizing Logan isn’t. Wyeth takes his dying wife into his arms, not understanding why she did this. With her final breath, Norma confesses that Wyeth has been played for a fool. She admits that she was hired by a rich, Texan trophy hunter to get close to him when Wyeth first decided to mount this expedition team. She was offered a million dollars for the head of a mokele mbembe, and she just wanted to be reach. On that moment, Norma dies.

Meanwhile, Logan reminds himself that he has to pay this Texan trophy hunter a visit some time soon. He goes out of the swamp, and finds Ebambe crawling over the ground. Ebambe begs for help. Logan takes a look at the wound, and thinks in himself that the shot did its job. He takes off his shirt and leaves it on the ground near Ebambe. Logan takes off, as he can smell more than one animal coming. Ebambe cries for help, but Logan believes that the guy has more than enough friends for him to help out. He has had enough and is going back home.

A few moments later, Frank meets up with Ebambe. He finds Logan’s shirt, and also hears a group of big apes off in the bushes, heading this way. He remembers Jacques’ words, and decides to leave Ebambe. He ties him up with Logan’s shirt, confident that the apes will take care of the rest.

Ten days later, on the New York upper East Side…
Frank remembers that in all the excitement, nobody even thought of taking a picture of the dinosaurs. The expedition team members all decided to stay quiet about the dinosaurs for their own safety, and keep the legend a legend. Frank even tried to track Logan down for a while, so he could get him to a doctor or something so the guy could heal from their battle wounds. However, Logan was better at covering his tracks than Frank was at following him. The amount of ground Logan covered was not that a serious injured man would do. Frank returns to his apartment, and wonders if Microchip has any information on Logan.

Frank also thinks he’ll have to tell Micro that his vacation idea resulted in the death of his friend’s wife. Frank now knows that human greed and conflicts don’t just affect the man. It also affects the woman. He thinks he’ll go take care of the Texan bounty hunter now. Frank goes to his door, and notices a letter, a newspaper, some beers and a plaque reading “mokele mbembe.”

The letter comes from Logan, and he informs Frank that he already took care of the guy in Texas. He also asks Frank to take the newspaper, and read the article he circled. The article reads that Otis C. Roberts, a Texas oil tycoon, donated more than a million dollars to the World Wildlife Fund. Frank doesn’t understand who could know he lives there, not realizing that Logan did all this. Frank suspects that Daredevil is the culprit of the beer and such, but Frank corrects himself that Daredevil doesn’t even leave his New York turf. He thinks it might have been Microchip, and if it wasn’t him, he might have been compromised and maybe should move out.

Months later in the Congolese jungle swamps…
Ebambe’s corpse still lies on the jungle grounds. It gets crushed by the tail of a big mokele mbembe, and the dinosaurs continues his trek throughout the swamps…

Characters Involved: 

The Punisher

Wolverine (in his Patch identity)

Bill Lim, Corporal Ebambe, Lieutenant Bokenga, Professor Norma Wyeth, Professor Richard Wyeth (all expedition team)

Jacques Tsolo, Victor Obiang (all Pygmy guides)

Deli owner (unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Included in this issue is another recap page, explaining more of the weapons the Punishers uses.

Written By: