The Punisher holds an interesting place in my personal comic history. On the one hand I’ve generally opted for the more fantastic or comically absurd characters, so “guy with a gun” has never been huge on my radar. On the other hand, the Netflix series was excellent, I’ve enjoyed a number of story arcs, he was the centerpiece of one of my favorite VS System decks, and he was responsible for the death of one of my very favourite D-listers, having shot a bazooka at the crotch of Wilbur Day, the fabulous Stilt-Man. The Punisher is positively mundane when compared to most of Marvel’s character stable, but his place in it is nevertheless cemented.
Taskmaster, on the other hand, has spent much of his career featuring in my headcanon as the Skeletor of the Marvel Universe. A nefarious bad guy who can counter all your tricks while cackling behind a skull mask. More recent iterations have turned him into something more sinister than comical, but let’s face it, there’s something kind of glorious about the melodromatic hooded cape, and I’m looking forward to seeing his portrayal in Black Widow whenever it finally releases.
It’s time to do a little unboxing.
The box comes with the standard array of four bases, both character sprues, character cards, tokens (including Punishment tokens), and three Team Tactics cards: Extreme Conditioning (Reactive, pay 2 power at the start of a character’s movement to use the Long tool instead of whatever’s printed on their base), Heavy Ordnance (Pay 2 power to use the Explosive Barrage attack, doing 1 auto damage to enemies within 2 of the target, and rolling 6 dice on the target itself) and Blood Red and Personal (Reactive, Punisher pays 4 to earn VP’s any time an enemy is KO’d this round)
Continuing the trend we saw with Daredevil and Bullseye, these models are very easy to assemble. The only fiddly bit on Punisher’s sprue is the radio that pops in on his left hip, but that’s only cos it’s itty-bitty. It’s sure as hell no Yan-Lo’s moustache.
yes, it’s the Punisher. Yes, he’s holding a badass rifle and a hand grenade. Yes, he has pouches which may or may not have hand sanitizer in them, because while he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, ol’ Frank sure ain’t going down to no pandemic. All of that aside, my favorite part of this entire model is the gym bag. I make no apologies for absolutely loving that someone had to sculpt a miniature gym bag for this piece.
Taskmaster’s sprue is more elaborate, but then, he’s always understood the Megamind Principle – the different between a villain and a supervillain? Presentation. Despite the higher component count, Taskmater is still a simple assembly. My only complaint is that his scabbard gets lost under the cape when he’s fully assembled, but there’s no questioning those abs.
As photogenic as his reflexes, Taskmaster somehow manages to marry malevolence and mayhem with a mischievous mockery of the heroes he’s emulating. Sporting a sinister simulacrum of their skillsets, I suspect he’ll slide into a squad slot for a significant segment of the player community.
Punisher and Taskmaster are October releases, to be found through your FLGS or preferred online retailer. Just imagine I wrote some fancy alliterative text at the end here; I’m worn out from the last paragraph.