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Quote1.png This "Tombstone", this "Taskmaster"....instruments only, meant but to clear the rabble. The true artistry of death is only for our number to know. It is for us alone to let the city and people of New York know they are in the grip of The Hand..... Quote2.png
—Leader of The Hand

Appearing in "Murder by Numbers"

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Synopsis for "Murder by Numbers"

On 6th Avenue in New York City, Daredevil is fighting Taskmaster, while the Punisher fights Tombstone. It appears that the two are having some sort of competition to see who can murder the most people. Daredevil and Taskmaster are at a stalemate, with Taskmaster repeating Daredevil's every move, until Daredevil uses a taxi, with Punisher and Tombstone fighting on top of it, to stun Taskmaster. Taskmaster and Tombstone end up on the ground next to each other, and Punisher is about to kill them when Daredevil intervenes, knocking Punisher to the ground and taking his gun. He threatens Taskmaster and Tombstone with it, and Taskmaster begins to talk, until Punisher throws a knife at him. Daredevil fires at the knife, deflecting it away from Taskmaster's heart, but it still hits him in the stomach. Tombstone takes the opportunity to escape as ambulances and police cars arrive, and Punisher slips away into an alley.

Meanwhile, Kingpin performs a money transfer with Wolfgang von Strucker, aka Colonel Strang. Later, Daredevil gains access to Bellevue Hospital, where Taskmaster is being treated, and interviews him about the contest. He learns that the two were given specific people to kill, and that if they missed even one, they would be out of the contest. Furthermore, Tombstone is going to attend a circus show the next day at Grand Central Station. Meanwhile, in a dead man's apartment, Tombstone dons a clown costume and reveals that he is doing the contest in order to gain acceptance into a mysterious "family."

The next day, Daredevil arrives at the show and listens to a speech by Christine Harris, city cultural affairs commissioner, who Tombstone is going to try to assassinate by dressing up as a clown and throwing a booby-trapped pie at. Daredevil notices a rifle barrel belonging to the Punisher poling through a whole in the ceiling, uses a trapeze to grab onto it and pull the Punisher from his perch. The two fall through the air, and Daredevil manages to throw his billy club at Tombstone just as he throws his pie, knocking it back into his face and beginning to suffocate him. Daredevil and Punisher land in a circus net and begin fighting. Daredevil gains the upper hand, and Punisher leaves just as police arrive, telling Daredevil to watch his back. Taskmaster's superstrength has enabled him to rip the pie from his face and survive, but he has missed his mark and lost the contest, so that he can never join the family.

A few days later, some members of The Hand on a dock read a newspaper with the headline "Tombstone Escapes." One of them is dispirited that Tombstone and Taskmaster have failed, but the leader says that they were but instruments meant to clear the rabble, and that it is for them alone to let New York to know that they are in the grip of the Hand.

See Also

Links and References
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