Everyone knows the Punisher's shtick, right? A former police officer (or soldier depending on which origin you want to go with), sees his family gunned down in front of him and a corrupt legal system that lets their killers go free. That's pretty much the origin for this version, as well. His name is Jake Gallows and has far more hi-tech weaponry to carry out his one man war on crime than Frank Castle could ever dream of!
|Writer:||Pat Mills, Tony Skinner|
We start this issue off with all the heroes of 2099 assembled together. Each one gets a line. Spidey quips, “So what are we supposed to say? All for one and one for all?” Ravage replies, “I see your point. None of use are exactly team players.” Punisher adds, “No offense, but I'm a professional. I don't hang out with costumed amateurs.” And Doom says, “Circumstances have forced your hand. We must become a team, like it or not.” Heh, you know you're in a bad spot when Dr. Doom is the voice of reason!
They are suddenly attacked by a gang of Berzerkers, Valhalla's ersatz enforcers. Punisher lays into these creeps with his club. Spidey leaps around and does a lot of kicking. It looks like Ravage is butting heads (?) with a few of them. Doom, of course, is shooting finger lasers everywhere. After that distraction is handled, Doom outlines his plans. Him and Ravage are going to assault the engine room and stop the floating city from crashing. Spidey and Punny, meanwhile, need to delay the Aesir.
Before they can split up, Avatarr shows up (in hologram form) to taunt them. Ravage tries to ram the image and winds up running into a wall. Doom easily disrupts the transmission and stops Avatarr from spying on them while the group enacts their plan. Doom asks Punisher if he is armed with enough firepower. “Is water wet?” Punisher retorts. We then a full page spread of Punny leveling up with some hi-tech hardware with names like “smart targeting grenazers”, “vibro-knux”, and “heat haze anti-personnel dark missiles”. Ravage is impressed, saying Punisher is a one man army, but Spidey is less so, saying “You're sick man... you need help!”
Doom and Ravage skedaddle just as Heimdall and Baldur make their appearance. Don't ask me how to tell them apart. One has a horned helmet and carries a broadsword and the other has a ponytail and holds a rapier. It doesn't really matter; they're dog food within a few seconds thanks to Punisher's plasma gun.
Doom and Ravage make it to the engine room in order to get the“Null-G Warp Matrix” up and running to save the city. Ravage trashes the old operating system with a few powerful punches (hasn't he ever heard of Ctrl-Alt-Del?) which somehow enables Doom to take command of the city and send it floating harmlessly away from Manhattan.
Before they can break out the champagne, however, Thor shows up. He is maddened with rage and declares, “There must be a Ragnarok! The mortals must suffer the Wrath of the Gods!” And now its his turn to smash stuff. Doom declares that Thor's blows have ruptured the city's anti-grav drives which where keeping it afloat. So, Doom's fix lasted all of one minute and the heroes are right back in the same situation they started in. Uh oh.
Now, the pace starts to pick up from here, but unfortunately the art gets less clear...
Instead of confronting the heroes Thor flies off and somehow ends up in Manhattan (I think) and the Punisher and Spider-Man have somehow followed him. They struggle to restrain the so-called God of Thunder to prevent him from causing more harm. Meanwhile, Doom and Ravage show up on the scene (wherever that happens to be). Doom advises Spider-Man and Punisher to grab Thor's hammer and throw it at the head of the vortex. What vortex, you ask? Well, I guess the explosion that Thor caused released some sort of energy tornado. I'm... confused. Luckily, Doom explains, “It will ground the power back into the city.” Sure, whatever you say...
Anyway, Spidey and Punny do their best to overwhelm Thor, but even their combined might is no match for him. The Punisher switches tactics and tries a psychological attack, because he somehow recognizes the Aesir as his former minister (I'm not sure how he got that useful bit of info). Thor is sufficiently distracted by this appeal to his humanity, and Spidey lands a kick square on his back. Punny snatches the hammer away and makes one helluva throw to... somewhere. Thor screams and flies after it. There's a big explosion and Valhalla is righted (again).
Our assembled heroes convene once again in Manhattan, I think. They have found the Punisher's body in some rubble. “Is he alive?” Asks Spider-Man. “Unlikely,” says Doom. Punisher gingerly gets up but before they can start singing Kumbaya Avatarr appears once again in hologram form to gloat.
Doom cuts his monologue short by saying, “We just happened to have beaten you.” Avatarr then starts in on the ranting. “I can do anything to anyone, anytime I wish... my power is truly limitless.” Punisher rightly points out that if he is so powerful, why go through the whole Valhalla scheme in the first place. Why not take out the heroes directly? That's a really good question, but Avatarr brushes it off by saying “A grand master influences events from above.” Right. Then, as a token of his revenge he reveals a vision to the Punisher of his future demise.
And, with that Avatarr says “The next battle in this war, you all die!” Ooh, I'm shaking in my hologram-skinned boots...
To be honest, I got bored halfway through this story. The ending was telegraphed last issue. I already knew Avatarr was gonna get away while swearing vengeance, Valhalla would be salvaged by Doom for some future scheme, and the heroes would go their separate ways.
The Big Bad – Avatarr – suffers from the writers ignoring that old adage “show, don't tell”. He talks a big game but doesn't really show he can back it up.
The Aesir are never heard from again.
Avatarr next appears in Doom 2099 #31 where he is revealed to be an alien and then executed by Doom. So much for being all powerful.
Jordan Boone / Loki next appears in X-Men 2099 #16 where he changes his appearance, renames himself Halloween Jack, and tries to take over Las Vegas.
Punisher cheats the fate shown here in Punisher 2099 #15 where he fights against the 2099 version of Jigsaw.
The flying city of Valhalla next appears in Doom 2099 #26 repurposed and renamed Libera Cielo (that's “free sky” in Italian). Doom uses it as his floating headquarters in his takeover of America. It is destroyed in Doom 2099 #33.