Punisher War Journal #9 and Shadowmasters #1-4 (1989-1990)

Superspy and New York rooftop visitor Black Widow makes an appearance.

I never realized her Widow’s Sting could “melt” a gun.  I always thought it was an electrical thing that caused neuron-level pain.

Black Widow is in town to flirt with Matt Murdock, and happens upon The Sunrise Society who are hunting a clan of ninjs called Shadowmasters.  Punisher’s also in the area (it’s not a coincidence—it’s all explained in the story), so he too gets involved.  There’s some ninja meditation psychic stuff (which I could do without), and the Sunrisers are foiled once again.

The story formally introduces the Shadowmasters, who have been appearing in earlier issues without the name of their clan. The team got a four-issue miniseries on plush paper, selling direct-market.  

The miniseries launched the same month as War Journal #9, but takes place years earlier, and shows the children of a ninja master foiling the evil plans of the Sunrise Society and then fleeing to New York. I’m not giving it much play because it doesn’t matter and it’s not very good. Note that it had Punisher’s logo on the cover but he’s not even in it.

The Shadowmasters will reappear in Punisher War Journal, but nobody other than Carl Potts makes use of them.  

Carl Potts wrote both stories with art by Jim Lee (PWJ) and Dan Lawlis (Shadowmasters)

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