ICE PHILLIPS

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

Aliases: Iceman

Base of Operations: Mobile, formerly Southeast Asia

First Appearance: The 'Nam#17 (April 1988);
    (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".

 

 

(Punisher War Journal#52 (fb, bts) At some point during his time in Southeast Asia, Ice Phillips met marine Frank Castle, while the latter was still a soldier but before he had shortened his name from Castiglione.

(The 'Nam#17) - Ice Phillips began his service under Platoon Sergeant Rob Little in the 23rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). Phillips started his service under Little at the same time as Dennis Daniels, Cal "Pig" Meachum, Private Dan White, and Private Dan Geigerich. They all went to a village in search of enemy soldiers, an operation that proved fruitless, with Daniel White and Jeffrey Brooks both being killed by enemy troops.

(The 'Nam#18) - With his platoon, Phillips investigated another village. They discovered a cache of enemy weapons hidden in the town. Phillips also found a Communist soldier hiding in a hut. He brought the unarmed captive to Lieutenant Alarnick. The impetuous Lieutenant Alarnick struck the enemy soldier, who spat on him. Enraged, Alarnick drew his gun and shot the enemy soldier in the head. Sergeant Little attempted to restrain Lieutenant Alarnick and disarm him. The struggle between Alarnick and Little distracted the American soldiers, allowing a villager to pull out a grenade, which she threw at both Alarnick and Little. Little threw himself on Alarnick, taking the brunt of the explosion. Both Little and Alarnick survived, though Little was seriously wounded.

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) - Phillips and his platoon saved a downed Marine pilot named Captain "Irish" Kelly from Communist soldiers.

(The 'Nam#20) - Phillips and his men met with Sergeant Bo of the Royal Thai Army regiment and participated in a mission with the Thai soldiers. Rob Little returned to the United States, discharged due to the injuries he suffered to his leg from the grenade.

(The 'Nam#21) - On night patrol, fellow soldier Andy Clark was wounded. Phillips visited him in the hospital.

(The 'Nam#22) - On Thanksgiving day, Phillips and his men took part in a search and destroy mission to find a Communist hospital facility. They never found it, as it was cleverly constructed so that it was underneath the ground.

(The 'Nam#23) - Phillips and his men enjoyed a performance put on by a celebrity.

(The 'Nam#24) - Ice Phillips and his platoon were sent to protect the American embassy, which Communist soldiers had attacked. Defeating the Communist soldiers, Phillips and his men then helped free a radio station seized by the Communists.

(The 'Nam#26) - Phillips' platoon was moved to a new area of operation.

(The 'Nam#28) - Andy "Aesop" Clark and Jimmy Rubino ended their tours of duty and returned to the USA. Phillips met with returning soldier Lonnie Crews as troops Mark Callahan, Dwight Jones, Jim DeMaio, Arlen Miller, and Lou Martini joined the platoon. Phillips and his men then went on a mission where they destroyed captured enemy weapons.

(The 'Nam#29) - Phillips and ?? enjoyed some Rest & Recreation, during which time he romanced a pretty Red Cross girl and learned of the assassination of a US presidential candidate.

(The 'Nam#30) - - Returning to duty, Phillips and ?? were sent into bunker duty under the supervision of Lt. Biggs, who unwittingly led the soldiers to open fire on what he thought was an enemy soldier. When the shooting stopped, the soldiers realized that they had been firing at a duck, which escaped unscathed. Biggs asked Ice to stop him from doing something so stupid again.

(The 'Nam#31) - With Lieutenant Biggs, Phillips directed his platoon to a battle with Communist soldiers in a local village. While they were going through the village, Cal "Pig" Meachum noticed that the streets looked suspiciously familiar. To his horror, Meachum remembered that this was the village where fellow soldier Mike Aeder's lover (a native villager) lived. Soon, Phillips found the corpses of Aeder and his lover, both slain by Communist soldiers. Phillips and his men defeated the Communist soldiers.

(The 'Nam#32) - Ice Phillips and his men picked up their mail before engaging in another battle in a village.

 

 

(The 'Nam#33) - Phillips and his men guarded a convoy of trucks. A group of hidden Communist soldiers saw them, but chose not to attack them. Private Dennis Daniels rejoined Phillips' platoon.

(The 'Nam#34) - Ice and his men took part in a battle in a village. Later, passing through this same village, they were stopped by non-Communist native military police, who told them to detour around the village. As Lieutenant Biggs argued with the military police, Phillips searched around the village's huts and found a man who had been tortured during an interrogation. Major McCandles, an associate of Phillips from the CIA, confronted him, reminding Phillips of the days when they worked together. Disgusted with McCandles, Phillips and his men left the village.

(The 'Nam35) - Phillips and his men enjoyed the antics of a comedian who had come to entertain the troops.

(The 'Nam#36) - The stubborn Private Williams got into a fight with Dennis Daniels, allowing the Communist soldiers to sneak up on Phillips and his men. During this attack, both Private Scott and Dennis Daniels were wounded.

(The 'Nam#37) - Private Williams dozed off during guard duty, allowing Communist soldiers to sneak up on the American soldiers. As a result, both Arlen Miller and Jim DeMaio died. Later, Williams, once again arguing with another American soldier, caused a white phosphorus charge to go off, which seriously injured Cal "Pig" Meachum.

(The 'Nam#38) - Private Williams stepped on a landmine, forcing him to keep his foot on the landmine or else set it off. However, as the other soldiers attempted to free him from the landmine, the Communist snipers starting picking them off one by one; Williams had become the bait in a trap. Eventually, Lou Martini found a solution to the landmine problem by lodging a branch between the landmine and a nearby log, providing a substitute for the weight.

(The 'Nam#39) - Private Williams paid for sex with a native woman named Mai, and her brother Bui saw him give her the cash. Later, Bui and his father Tran (who was a friend of Phillips) went to the base of the 23rd. Phillips and his men attended a party at the base with new platoon members Oscar Martinez, Howie Carson, and Ron Fuentes. Williams then arrived, and Bui recognized him. Bui started shouting at Williams. Just then, Communist soldiers started attacking the base of the 23rd. Williams jumped to the conclusion that Bui was in league with the Communists, and pulled out a gun intent on firing on Bui. Tran jumped in the way, so that Williams ended up killing him instead. Phillips hit Williams with his shotgun, causing Williams to drop his gun. Bui ran away, picking up Williams' gun, intent on joining the Communist rebels attacking the base. However, not trusting him, the Communist rebels shot Bui.

(The 'Nam#41) - Going through some old comic books Mike Aeder left behind, Ice imagined himself and Daniels meeting Captain America, Thor, and another costumed hero (see comments). He also imagined the other costumed hero, Thor, and Captain America capturing the leader of the Communist rebels. Meeting up with Lou Martini and Private Jones, Ice announced that he had completed four tours of duty and was returning to the USA.

(The 'Nam#62 (fb) - BTS) - However, at some point, Phillips returned to Southeast Asia to work for Special Ops.

(The 'Nam#62) - Speed Bivins, a younger soldier, was assigned to Special Ops. He met with Ice Phillips (whom he accidentally called "Eisenman", not realizing that people called Phillips "The Iceman" as a nickname), Augie "Doggie" Lameer, and a non-Communist native soldier named Little Minh. Lameer told Speed about his native lover, Minky (true name Mai Bac Xuan). Phillips, Bivins, Lameer, and Little Minh were told to track down an American soldier who had gone over to the Communists to broadcast anti-American propaganda on the radio. Based on the reports of linguistic experts, the traitor was from Oklahoma. Phillips was told to bring in the Okie traitor alive for questioning.

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) - Phillips and Bivins discovered that Minky had been thrown in jail, and started to negotiate with the crooked Captain Tran for her release. Phillips, however, discovered that Captain Train was secretly engaging in stockpiling goods for the black market. So, Bivins, Phillips, and Little Minh ambushed Tran at one of his warehouses, demanding that Tran send one of his underlings in the military police to fetch Minky within one hour and bring her to the warehouse. Tran's cronies brought Minky back in a red Cadillac, and Phillips, Bivins, and Little Minh, taking Captain Tran as a hostage, got into the car, intending to return Minky to her home. However, Minky flipped out when Bivins told her of Lameer's death, grabbed Phillips' gun, and shot Captain Tran.

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) - Still working with Speed Bivins in Special Ops, Phillips helped him in a mission in which they slew a Communist sniper named the Ghost.

(The 'Nam#67) - Ice told a wounded soldier called Troop about a soldier named Frank Castle/Castiglione (who, of course, would become the Punisher after the war).

(The 'Nam#68) - As troop is loaded into an evac chopper, Ice continued his story.

(The 'Nam#69) - Ice visited the wounded soldier he had spoken to earlier in the hospital and finished the story about Castiglione. Troop was shipped home.

(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 safety.

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

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.

Other

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 confused with:

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


Other appearances:
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.

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