I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
I couldn't ask for more in this ending: of course, some of the issue, at the very least, had to deal with wrapping up a rather convoluted storyline given how much space this book had to deal with in the end.
That being said, this wrapped up everything perfectly and while it's clear that neither Strange or The Punisher will see eye to eye, they clearly are deluded into thinking they understand each other better or have a better understanding of each other. I don't say this to be mean, but Strange's hope that Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, will soften at all is naive at best. (Although he notices how little loss of life there is, thinks it's a good day - and then wonders if Castle would think the same, or think that it's a bad day.)
They do respect each other, even if Castle never wants to see anything magical again, and Strange will continue to do his frowny face at how murderous Castle can get. This also belies a comic I read today, which is Cloonan's current Punisher, in which someone says that Castle enjoys what he does. (He doesn't. In fact, I like him best when he's not portrayed as a sociopath or sadist; he is willing to murder, and even torture, to save innocents, but the only 'joy' he gets in life is saving innocents. And I would even hesitate to call it joy: it's a mission, it's relief - specifically the relief of not having anyone else's death on his shoulders which is where he puts those deaths, but it's not quite joy. Frank Castle is not a happy character.)
Also, what's interesting is that Frank Castle is hellbent on killing murderer, and rapists, and pedophiles: men and women who exploit, terrorize, and do other nasty things to those he deems innocent. (Stand ins for his late family, clearly; I suspect he thinks of it as saving them when it's far too late to do so. Man, Frank Castle may not be happy because he has to many #$@*ing complexes.)
And then you pair him up with Dr. Strange, a narcissist who was brought low when his accident lost him everything: the friends he had, the wealth he had, and any prospects he had as a surgeon. And only then did he learn what it really meant to be a doctor. Only then did he learn how to truly connect to people, how to sympathize with them, how precious they were and how deserving not only of being saved - but of being happy. It's the little moments that make him shine, like when his payment for saving a beloved daughter is the parents' willingness to spend the day with a widowed man who's miserable as his birthday approaches. That scene still makes me tear up, by the way.
They both had a similar moment: accidents of fate that brought them to their lowest points ever. Stripped of companionship, hope, a future, one man turned to brutal, bloodthirsty vigilantism, and one found peace. One is based in the reality of a gun, or explosives, of violence attempting to stamp out violence. One is based in a world full of literal magic, one who is often unavailable because, as Wong says, he's in the astral plane - or at least not our plane of existence.
In retrospect, much of the comedy here is tragic if you really take the time to think about the unlikely similarities in these two characters. And yet doesn't quite stop this from being absolutely hilarious to the point that I often times laughed out loud.
This gave me a better understanding of how these characters work, because I stopped to think about what made them who they are, and how they reacted to the tragedies in their lives differently.
I suspect I'll reread this series eventually, possibly every once in a while. I truly loved this series.