Under the Marvel Knights imprint, the Punisher got a 12 issue limited series last year. It was an overnight success (well, overyear, anyhow).
An ongoing monthly series had to follow. Issue 1 ended with the resurrected Russian (now with a female body) throwing the Punisher of the Empire State Building, hands tied to his back. Things are not looking good for Frank.
Frank Castle, aka The Punisher falls to a certain death when a familiair THWIPP is heard. Spidey saves the day, but when he pulls the guy up, he notices he has just saved the Punisher. Major bummer. They start argueing right away. Then Spider-Man senses someone behind him.
It's the Russian. In the limited series, Frank decapitated him but he now has a new body attached to his old head. And that body is that of a woman with enormous breasts. The Russian is big a fan of Spidey, but Spidey hits him anyway. Since the Russian is mighty strong, he kinda throws our wall-crawler of the building. He then starts looking for Frank who slipped away during the fight with Spidey.
Seems the Russian is new and improved. His sticks his head through the roof on which Frank is standing. Frank immediately kicks him but hurts his foot because of the titanium jaw of the Russian. When the Russian starts complaing about his new body, you know, being cranky once a month, Spidey is back. Only to be thrown out of the way a second time.
We then get to see the men behind the Russian. They're remotely monitoring his actions and talk about adding a third heart because there's plenty of room behind the gorilla lungs.
Meanwhile the Russian has located the Punisher again. Just as he is about to hit Frank our webhead is back again. This time, the Russian is actually getting mad at Spidey, which gives Frank an idea. He picks up the unconscious webcrawler and holds him like a shield between him and the Russian. And then he asks the Russian whether that's all he's got.
The big Ivan starts to like the Punisher and keeps hitting Spider-Man. Laughing, he wonders what they should do when the head of Spider-Man falls off, get Captain America? Meanwhile Frank has located the webshooter on Spidey's wrist and shoots some webbing into the mouth of the Russian. Balancing on the edge of the roof, using his index finger Frank pushes the big choking guy over the edge. The Russian then falls down, goes through the pavement and comes to a stop on the tracks of the subway. Surprise, a train is coming!
Leaving the roof, Spider-Man regains consciousness and asks what happened. Then Frank says "We had a team-up. You were great". Frank leaves.
The story is coming to an end when we get to see a trainwreck in the subway. The train has hit something, which of course is no longer there. And all the driver can say, for the past six hours anyway, is "They were huge". I guess I do not have to tell you that he's holding his hands in front of his own chest at the time.
This book has it all, great story, great fun, great characters, great movie references (nah, find 'em yourself!) and great violence. Not the violence we got to see in Preacher and Hitman, no, the graphic detail was a bit toned down, but the same fun was definitely there. Add the final remark Frank made to Spidey after fighting the Russian, and you've got the best book I've read in July.
Yep, maximum score on this baby. Why? Because Garth Ennis is writing it, or because Steve Dillon is drawing it? In a way, but mostly because this is a story I did read again right after finishing it. Not many stories get that kind of attention from me. In fact, it's been months (actually the last one being Preacher #66) that I gave a book a second read right after finishing it.