Sure, The Punisher would seem a little out of place teaming up with The Silver Surfer or (ugh) Quasar, but there are certain superheroes who gel nicely with the Man in Black. Therein lies the premise of Marvel Knights, the 2000 flagship title ofJoe Quesada's Marvel Knights imprint. This book and other MK titles like Daredevil sold very well - so well in fact that they gave Joey Q the keys to the proverbial kingdom and made him Marvel Editor-in-Chief, and then he totally fucked up Spider-Man and there was much vex and wroth in the land.
But we're not here to bitch about Spider-Man, much as I'd like to. Others have done so at greater length and more eloquently than I could. (Although what's up with the guy on YouTube who burned his copy of One More Day? Burning books is creepy, even comic books. You're not in good company if you burn books.)
Anyway, back to Marvel Knights. Chuck Dixon wrote this three-parter in which The Punisher assembles a gang of "do-gooders" to help him take down a mysterious new underworld menace in New York City. He ropes in Daredevil, The Black Widow, Motherfuckin' Shang-Chi, and Dagger (of Cloak & ...) to help him crush these new players in the NYC mob scene.
Turns out the bad guys are Asgardian monstroids led by Ulik the Troll, Thor's old sparring partner. The Punisher's ad hoc team quickly come to blow with these otherworldly creatures - and that means...
In this final issue of the storyline, the heroes have broken into three groups, more or less. The Punisher and his seemingly endless supply of weaponry take on Ulik in a suicidal battle before he can chop down a skyscraper with his bare hands. For reals, yo. Ulik is a Thor-level bad ass who can shrug off anything The Punisher can throw at him. Things don't look good for Frank Castle.
Meanwhile The Black Widow, Dagger, and Shang Chi defend a subway car from wave after wave of giant cockroach things. Oh, wait. That's Mimic. They defend a subway car from generic mindless Asgardian troll-things who all shop at the same tattered loincloth store. Things look bad for our heroes.
Here, the Widow supplies one of the civilians with a sidearm before the three heroes march out into the tunnel to bust some monster heads. The panels on this page overlay a big picture of The Black Widow in the background, but since I only scanned the bottom part of the page it looks a little odd: Panel 1, Panel 2, Panel 3, CLEAVAGE SHOT! You can't go wrong with out-of-context cleavage, no sir.
Unless I'm mistaken, there's a slight spelling error in the second panel, above. I think the phrase they were looking for was "repel boarders" and not "rebel boarders," unless The Widow is talking about Confederates in a hotel.
Moving on, Daredevil gets to the bottom of this whole Ulik Kraziness. The trolls are in town to recover a magic Asgardian horn, which an effete mobster has aquired as part of his art collection. I'm not sure what the signifigance of the horn is. Perhaps it contains the ashes of Waggy, Ulik's beloved and deceased troll dog. Regardless, Ulik is so pissed about the horn that he's willing to chop the whole frickin' building down. I'm not sure why he has to destroy the building to get the horn - Ulik has evidently never heard of elevators.
Thankfully, Daredevil kicks some mobster ass (off panel) and gets the horn just in time to stop The Punisher from getting crushed. Everybody's happy and goes on their merry way.
Inker Klaus Janson classes up the joint - it's great to see him drawing DD again. Dixon's Daredevil dialogue seemed out of character, but overall this first Marvel Knights arc was some decent plot-driven slugfest fun. It ends a little too abruptly, though - I would have liked to see a panel of misty-eyed Ulik hugging his horn and remembering better times when he frolicked in the spring meadows of Jotunheim with Waggy.
"Ulik will always love Waggy."