MARVEL KNIGHTS #4-6 (2000)

Marvel Knights was basically the year 2000 version of Netflix’s version of The Defenders. Or vice-versa, actually, since this came first.

Issue #5 is all setting the table. The issue starts with a silent sequence of D-list unknown villain Zaran breaking into an AIM base and stealing some biological weapons.

Most of the Zaran sequences are wordless, actually. It’s pretty cool. Until he finally delivers the stolen weapon to a mysterious figure that he refers to as “Master” and who is pretty obviously Shang-Chi’s “dead” father, Fu Manchu.

Meanwhile, Nick Fury talks to Natasha about aligning with Punisher.

He gives her some intelligence, and the team eats at a diner in full costume and decide to hunt down Punisher because he’s a “serial killer.”

It happens to be a diner frequented by Moon Knight alias Jake Lockley, and he overhears them. Of course, so does Punisher–who is surveilling them because that’s what Punisher does. He prepares.

In this way, he’s. alot like Batman–and artist Ed Barreto seems to be offering conscious nod to this fact in this panel:

Natasha takes in Dagger, because Cloak is missing.

She makes some comments about Dagger’s tight white outfit…

The rest of this story has Fu Manchu creeping closer to his son with random attacks, while the MK team hunt Punisher who is hunting a half-man, half-spider called Daddy Wronglegs. During the big fight, the Fantastic Four make a guest appearance because they want to cure Daddy Wronglegs. I wasn’t a fan of that part of this story, but Punisher is not impressed by them and I did dig his reaction…

…But Frank Castle drinking? That’s very out of character.

On the whole, this is a much better set of issues than the initial ones–but this book still has a ways to go to get from good to great.

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