Real Name: Mike Phillips
Identity/Class: Human, conventional weapons user
Occupation: Mercenary, former soldier (sergeant)
Group Membership: 23rd Infantry Division
Affiliations: Sergeant Bo, CIA, Major McCandles, Microchip (Linus Lieberman), Punisher (Frank Castle), 23rd Infantry Division (including Mike Aeder, Lieutenant Alarnick, Bacon, Lieutenant Biggs, Jeffrey Brooks, Casey Brown, Andy "Aesop" Clark, Lonnie Crews, Howie Carson, Mark Callahan, Jim DeMaio, Dennis Daniels, Ron Fuentes, Rich Geigerich, Dwight Jones, Rob Little, Ralph Marchese, Oscar Martinez, Lou Martini, Cal "Pig" Meachum, Arlen Miller, Fitz Mills, First Sergeant Rowland, Jimmy Rubino, Jose Santos, Scott, Williams, Daniel White),
Enemies: Armstrong, Communist soldiers, the Ghost, Puerto Dulce Guardia Nacional, Puerto Dulce rebels, The Sword of Liberty, Captain Tran
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Mobile, formerly Southeast Asia
First Appearance: The 'Nam#17 (April
(mainstream) Punisher War Journal#52 (March 1993)
Powers/Abilities: Phillips is a skilled soldier, trained in American-style combat techniques.
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 200 lbs.
History: (The 'Nam#34 (fb) - BTS) - Mike "Ice" Phillips worked for the CIA during an American police action in a Southeast Asian country undergoing a civil war between its Northern, Communist section and its non-Communist Southern part (see comments). Phillips worked under Major McCandles. Eventually sickened by the torture that the CIA routinely resorted to, Phillips decided to transfer to the army, specifically an infantry division.
His dedication to his work gained Phillips the nickname "The Iceman".
Journal#52 (fb, bts)
(The 'Nam#17) -
(The 'Nam#18) -
Later on, Alarnick returned to his bunk. He found a mysterious package on his bed. He opened it-and was killed by the explosion of the bomb inside.
(The 'Nam#19) -
(The 'Nam#20) -
(The 'Nam#21) -
(The 'Nam#22) -
(The 'Nam#23) -
(The 'Nam#24) -
(The 'Nam#26) -
(The 'Nam#28) -
(The 'Nam#30) -
(The 'Nam#31) -
(The 'Nam#32) -
(The 'Nam#33) -
(The 'Nam#34) -
(The 'Nam35) -
(The 'Nam#36) -
(The 'Nam#37) -
(The 'Nam#38) -
(The 'Nam#39) -
(The 'Nam#41) -
(The 'Nam#62 (fb) - BTS) - However, at some point, Phillips returned to Southeast Asia to work for Special Ops.
(The 'Nam#62) -
As this was going on, back in the city, Lameer's lover Minky found her brother Phat bleeding from a gunshot wound. The non-Communist military police broke up a student meeting that Phat had attended. Just then, the non-Communist military police broke into Minky's apartment and arrested her and her brother.
(The 'Nam#63) - Phillips, Little Minh, Bivins, and Lameer uncovered a secret Communist radio station, and found an American soldier broadcasting there. Lameer died during this mission, though. Phillips brought the turncoat soldier to his superiors in Special Ops. Upon questioning, this traitor turned out to be Anthony Sloan from Spokane, Washington-not Oklahoma. Thus, they had not captured the right man.
Meanwhile, Minky had been thrown into prison by corrupt native, non-Communist military police.
(The 'Nam#64) -
Captain Tran's men (including his cousin), seeing their leader's death, pursued Phillips and his men. Eventually, the situation came to a Mexican standoff between Phillips and Captain Tran's cousin. Phillips told Tran's cousin "We have a choice here. We can say that Captain Tran got greased by some Cong [Communist] terrorists and everybody walks away clean. Tran had a sweet deal here. You're family. You're in line for all this. You get five Q-huts full of goods, and this fine Caddy. Heck, they'll probably give you his commission". Tran's cousin replied "And if I do not go along with your story...?". Phillips answered by saying "Then you leave us no way out of this. Do you know what happens when you leave a man no choices?". So, Captain Tran's cousin said "Throw me the keys".
(The 'Nam#65) -
(The 'Nam#67) -
(The 'Nam#68) -
(The 'Nam#69) -
(Punisher War Journal#52 (fb) - BTS) - After his time with Special Ops, Ice Phillips spent time as a hunter/sniper.
(Punisher War Journal#52 (fb) - BTS) - Not feeling up to any other sort of work, after his time as a hunter/sniper, Ice Phillips became a mercenary.
(Punisher War Journal#52) - Phillips accepted an assignment from a Texas millionaire named Hammond to find his daughter Deena, who had joined a paramilitary group called the Sword of Liberty. Phillips tracked her down to the Sword of Liberty's base Valhalla, which was a compound near the Oregon border. However, as he made his way to Valhalla, Phillips bumped into Frank Castle, now the Punisher, who had come to destroy the Sword of Liberty.
(Punisher War Journal#53) - Working together, Phillips and the Punisher managed to defeat the Sword of Liberty, with the Punisher slaying their leader, Armstrong. The Punisher and Phillips also managed to return Deena Hammond to her father.
(Punisher War Zone#27) - Frank Castle, while attempting to bring down the Puerto Dulce (an island in the Caribbean) drug lords Ernesto and Carmelita Villamos, was captured and put into forced labor in the sugarcane fields. When Castle failed to make contact with his aide Microchip, Microchip made contact with Ice Phillips, who now lived in a flophouse. Microchip hired Phillips to come to Puerto Dulce to aid him in freeing the Punisher.
Phillips met up with Microchip, who informed him that Villamos was tightly connected to Puerto Dulce's ruling military junta. Phillips and Microchip observed as armed Communist rebels engaged the junta's soldiers on the streets of Puerto Dulce's cities.
(Punisher War Zone#28) - Microchip (by bribing a policeman) discovered that the Punisher had been placed in a forced labor camp near Lake Mentira in the center of the island.
Phillips and Microchip managed to free Castle from the labor camp, though they then had to engage in a boat chase through the swamps with the Puerto Dulce soldiers. Losing the soldiers only to be attacked by Communist rebels, Phillips, Castle and Microchip then managed to escape the rebels, too. However, a group of crocodiles then moved on them.
(Punisher War Zone#29) With the coming of night, the cold-blooded reptiles immediately went to sleep. Phillips, Castle and Microchip made their way through the swamp. Finding an encampment of Guardia Nacional (government soldiers), Castle and Phillips ambushed them. Interrogating the soldiers, Phillips discovered that they were headed to a private airfield called Rancho Florida, intending to take a plane off of Puerto Dulce, which was on the verge of a Communist rebel victory. Killing the soldiers, Castle and his compatriots stole their truck, intent on reaching the airfield.
(Punisher War Zone#30) - Driving to Rancho Florida, Phillips and Castle were spotted by more Puerto Dulce soldiers. Though they managed to slay these soldiers, the truck they were driving was seriously damaged, so that they could not drive it the rest of the way to Rancho Florida.
Just as Phillips, Castle, and Microchip arrived
at the Rancho Florida airfield, the Communist rebels started
opening fire on it. Ernesto and Carmelita Villamos, fleeing the
Communist revolution, had also just then arrived at Rancho
Florida, intent on chartering a plane to flee Puerto Dulce.
However, Phillips, Castle, and Microchip managed to steal the
only remaining airplane at Rancho Florida, and flew away to
Comments: Created by Doug Murray and Wayne Vansant.
Savage Tales and The 'Nam
A bit of background on this one; for those of you who may not remember, in the 1980's, a new volume of Savage Tales was published. It emphasized historical adventure stories. In two issues (#1 and #4) a series called "The Fifth to the 1st" appeared. It took place during the Vietnam War. Doug Murray (a real-life veteran) wrote and Mike Golden drew these two tales.
The reaction to the "Fifth to the 1st" was strong enough that a new ongoing series set during the Vietnam war was announced. Not unexpectedly, this series was called The 'Nam, and hit stands in 1986. The 'Nam featured different characters than those from "The Fifth to the 1st", but was in-continuity with them, as "Fifth to the 1st" characters crossed over in The 'Nam#8 and #26. According to the letters page of issue#8, though, The 'Nam was not a Marvel Universe title and did not take place on Earth-616.
The 'Nam was acclaimed as a serious war drama, even winning an award from a veterans organization called The Bravos. It also started out with strong sales-which was very interesting, as around the time that The 'Nam debuted, DC had just cancelled all of its long-running war comics such as Sergeant Rock.
As Chuck Dixon noted, though, The 'Nam was taken off the newsstands with issue#18 and only sold in the direct market after that, resulting in a slip in sales. This precipitated a move to boost attention that would have a long-term impact; namely, in The 'Nam#52-53 (published in 1991) and The 'Nam#67-69 (published in 1992), a pre-Punisher Frank Castle was spotlighted in two story arcs depicting his military career. Not only that, but the Punisher's entry in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition referenced The 'Nam#52-53 in its bibliography section.
Having a mainstream character such as the Punisher make a 'Nam appearance shocked readers, especially since the earlier issues of The 'Nam indicated that the series did not take place in the Marvel Universe, since Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America were all referred to by the soldiers as fictional. In time, traffic went the other way, as Chuck Dixon in Punisher War Journal#52-53 (published in 1993), had Ice Phillips (introduced in The 'Nam#17) pop up in the modern era.
The 'Nam was intended to last 100 issues, but was cancelled with issue #84 in 1993. This issue started what was intended as the final flashback story to the Punisher's military career. (Of course, since then, the Max series Born has come out.) The already prepared last two issues of The 'Nam (#85-86) were eventually released (along with a reprint of #84) in the one-shot Punisher In The 'Nam: Final Invasion, released in 1994. Ice Phillips was once again used by Chuck Dixon for a Punisher storyline in Punisher War Zone that same year.
Ice Phillips is significant as the only known character introduced in The 'Nam to appear in a mainstream title. While it is always fun to have a fringe book have a character who breaks into mainstream continuity, delineating The 'Nam's connection to Earth-616 is a bit challenging.
The first problem is that, as they are written, The 'Nam stories implicitly take place in a world where there are no superhumans other than in comic books. The soldiers in the 23rd Infantry were shown with Nick Fury, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Fantastic Four, etc. issues countless times.
Now, Stan Lee and Marvel Comics Group have been shown to exist on Earth-616 numerous times. However, even though Fantastic Four comic books exist on Earth-616, they did not begin publication until after the events of Fantastic Four I#9-a story that is firmly part of the rolling timescale convention (i.e. for the characters in the story, it has only been ten years since the origin of the Fantastic Four). So, the Fantastic Four was not around during the 1960's and 1970's. This creates a problem with The 'Nam stories, since, as they are written, they contain too many topical references to personalities and events of the 1960's and 1970's (i.e. Richard Nixon, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Bob Hope, Ann Margaret, etc).
Considering this, our profile was written with
several presumptions in mind. Namely, that there are two versions
of Ice Phillips.
Version#1: The Ice Phillips seen in The 'Nam stories, as they were written, took place on a hypothetical alternate Earth we will refer to as Earth-Fallow.
Version#2: The Earth-616 Ice Phillips is the one who interacted with the Punisher in the modern era.
In sum; The 'Nam series took place on Earth-Fallow, but similar events took place for the Earth-616 Frank Castle and Ice Phillips somewhat later. This profile highlights the Earth-616 Ice Phillips, so the history section has generally been left vague to accomodate the rolling timescale convention.
Oh, as for The 'Nam#41; as the hypothetical Southeast Asian war that Phillips fought in would have taken place a few years prior to the modern era, this creates problems with Phillips finding Aeder's comics. Aeder was shown to have Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man comics. While Aeder could have had Captain America comics (since Cap was famous since World War II) and Thor (known from ancient mythology), Iron Man did not begin his career until after the Fantastic Four emerged.
In The 'Nam#69, when Ice visits the soldier in the hospital, the artwork on page one accidentally depicts the name tag on Ice Phillips' uniform as "Eisenman". This is a mistake resulting from something that happened in The 'Nam#62: when Bivins asked for Phillips, he accidentally called him "Eisenman", not realizing that one of Phillips' nicknames was "The Iceman".
Despite the fact that he named his base after Valhalla, there is nothing else to indicate that Armstrong from Punisher War Journal#52-53 worshipped Odin....or for that matter Ymir and Atali.
A bit of a geography problem occurs with Puerto Dulce. Punisher War Zone#26 states that Portugal owned the island, yet the rest of the story has the Puerto Dulce natives speaking Spanish!
Chuck Dixon, who wrote Phillips' later 'Nam appearances and Punisher guest-shots, once remarked to me that he enjoyed writing Phillips so much that when the time came to introduce yet another of Frank Castle's old army buddies, he decided to go with an established character. As far as continuity goes, he said "You can believe what you'd like".
Oh, since The 'Nam was code-approved, the soldiers in it would often call new soldiers "greenies". However, that is not the way soldiers actually talk. They call new soldiers "cherries". Why? Look to the Varnae profile, under Cristina and Serge.
Profile by Per Degaton and Snood
CLARIFICATIONS: Ice Phillips should not be confused with:
The Ghost, the Communist Sniper, should not be
Frank Castle should not be confused with other Punisher characters, such as:
Punisher War Zone#30, page 3, panel 1
Puniser War Zone#30, page 4, panel 4
Nam#31 (page 20, panel 4)
Nam#34 (page 20, panel 2)
The 'Nam#65, page 15, panel 1
The 'Nam#18-24 (May-November, 1988) - Doug Murray (writer), Wayne Vansant (pencils), Geof Isherwood (#18-22, 24) & Frank Springer (#23) (inks), Mike Higgins (#18-20) & Don Daley (#21-24) (editor)
The 'Nam#26 (January, 1989) - Doug Murray (writer), Wayne Vansant (pencils), Geof Isherwood (inks), Don Daley (editor)
The 'Nam#29-39 (April-December, 1989) - Doug Murray (writer), Wayne Vansant (pencils), Frank Springer (#29), Geof Isherwood (#30-35, 37-39) & Wayne Vansant (#36) (inks), Don Daley (editor)
The 'Nam#41 (February, 1990) - Doug Murray (writer), Wayne Vansant (pencils), Geoff Isherwood (inks), Don Daley (editor)
The 'Nam#62-65 (November, 1991 - January, 1992) - Chuck Dixon (writer), Wayne Vansant (pencils), Kim DeMulder (#62-63), Art Nichols (#64) & Tim Touhy (#64) (inks), Don Daley (editor)
The 'Nam#65 (February, 1992) - Chuck Dixon (writer), Russ Heath (artist), Don Daley (editor)
The 'Nam#67-69 (April-June, 1992) - Chuck Dixon (writer), Kevin Kobasic (pencils), Jimmy Palmiotti (inks), Don Daley (editor)
Punisher War Journal#53 (April, 1993) - Charles Dixon (writer), Gary Kwapisz (artist)
Punisher War Zone#27-30 (May-August, 1994) - Charles Dixon (writer), John Buscema (pencils), John Buscema (#28-29), Klaus Janson (#30), Art Nichols (#30) & Tom Palmer (30) (inks)
Last updated: 07/30/12
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Back to Characters