By far one of the most anticipated reads of 2017, Garth Ennis and Gorlan Parlov's Punisher MAX: The Platoon centres on Frank Castle during his first tour of Vietnam. Billed as a thematic prelude to Punisher: Born, The Platoon is flawless in its depiction of the sixties zeitgeist and meticulous in its analysis of Vietnam as not only a transformative event in American history, but also for the character of Frank Castle himself.
It's a gripping read, and while the question of just where, exactly, the Punisher was made has been broached by the writer before, it's the way Ennis flips it on its head in the Platoon that makes it such a fascinating comic. One of the ways in which he does this, remarkably, is to downplay the significance of Frank Castle's first ever kill, using the moment less to chronicle the Punisher's genesis, and more to exemplify the chaos and carnage of the Tet Offensive.
While that event was seen as a watershed moment across the United States in that it seemingly swerved public opinion to come out against the war, Tet bears no such significance for Frank himself, who merely treats it (much like his homegrown war), as a mission and little else.
It's a remarkable distillation of one of the character's founding traits, and a complete reversal of most people's expectations of what Frank's first murder would've been like. It's unceremonious and unglamorous, and an exemplification of everything Ennis' Punisher has come to be.