The Battle You Never Knew You Wanted!
What with all the Jack Kirby tributes and reviews of new graphic novels that you really should buy over the past few days, things here on the ISB have come very close to having an almost-alarming air of legitimate comics journalism.
This cannot be allowed to continue.
And that is why tonight, I turn once again to the continuing saga of The Punisher.
Specifically, I'm talking about Punisher #62, the penultimate chapter of 1992's seven-part "EuroHit," the standard by which all other mid-90s Punisher epics must be judged. It was one of the bi-weekly stories that ran through The Punisher every summer, capitalizing on the fact that the Punisher's target market--impressionable children--were a) out of school, and b) possessed of an uncontrollable thirst for vengeance.
This was, of course, back when Marvel had a publishing schedule.
As you might expect (and as I've mentioned before), "EuroHit" revolves around the Punisher going to Europe for a hit on some bigtime European crime bosses at a meeting called by one Wilson Fisk, alias The Kingpin. And it goes on for seven entire issues. Not exactly the high point of Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Dougie Braithwaite's careers, but this particular issue is surprisingly entertaining.
See, this is the one where it all comes together, as the Punisher and his strike team infiltrate the high-rise office building where the meeting's going to go down, with the express purpose of killing pretty much everybody in the room. "But wait," you ask, "The Punisher has a Strike Team?"
Feast thine eyes, dear reader:
Frank, of course, takes center stage, and needs no introduction. To
Unlike Frank, Nigel's actually pretty happy-go-lucky, as far as murderous vigilantes go, and is often way too eager for his own good to get to the part where he shoots people and blows things up. You can see the appeal for me.
Unfortunately, he's also completely irrelevant, because the mind-blowingly awesome punch-out of this issue revolves around that dapper gentleman on the right: Spider-Man's old foe The Tarantula (although technically, this is the second Tarantula--third if you count the Western one--but really: I can assure you that nobody cares).
He's brought on as hired muscle by the Punisher to counteract any unexpected security measures that the Kingpin's brought to the party, and brother, does he earn his pay in that regard. Why?
Because this is the issue where the Tarantula fights Batroc Zee Leaper.
It is amazing that it took those two that long to fight each other, especially when you consider that they are exactly the same character, but with slightly different moustaches and accents.
Anyway, they fight for a total of four pages, which is actually the longest sequence in the book, and as far as a pair of third-rate villains wailing on each other goes, it's a throwdown that wouldn't be matched until years later, when their respective daughters would team up to fight the Taskmaster in the pages of Agent X. Seriously, it entertains me way more than it actually should, and that can most likely be attributed to one simple reason: Nunchucks.
Unfortunately, Tarantula's edge is short-lived, and Batroc's able to get the upper hand (or possibly the upper foot), thanks to--what else?--a well-timed kick to the face, sending his opponent careening through an interior window that seems to have been placed there solely for a super-villain to be kicked through.
And thus, everything is once again made right with the world.