December 1, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #448: Microchip

The Punisher had a sidekick for a period. It did not end well for the sidekick.

So, after a short tour through the world of 2099, it may be time to get back to the “present”.  I’m kinda surprised I haven’t done Microchip before, but I was reminded he existed when I saw a character by that name appear for a couple panels with the 2099 version of the Punisher in a recent issue.  Granted, Jake Gallows was apparently just the top of a head and some internal organs kept alive by cybernetics in that comic, but that’s neither here nor there.

In the meantime, what about the original version?

First appearing in November of 1987’s The Punisher #4 by writer Mike Baron and artist Klaus Janson, David Linus “Microchip” Lieberman was a brilliant computer hacker who ran into the Punisher.  Microchip’s nephew had run afoul of the Kingpin and died as a result.  Microchip was looking into his nephew’s death when he and Frank Castle crossed paths.  The two began to work together in the Punisher’s war on crime.  Frank Castle was good with a gun and killing criminals, but there were a lot of things he couldn’t do that Micro could.  Beyond being an expert hacker, Microchip was just an all-around smart guy, one who could maintain Frank’s various safehouses, get rare equipment and training, launder Frank’s money (often taken from Frank’s targets since they didn’t need the money anymore), and even some occasional infiltration work since Frank was a lot more recognizable.

Yes, he was Frank Castle’s Guy-in-the-Chair.

So, what happened to this guy?  Modern Punisher comics don’t tend to include the guy.

Simple:  he and Frank had a falling out, one that ended eventually with Microchip dead.

The initial fallout came, during a period when Micro thought Frank was too far gone, when Micro tried to recruit a new Punisher.  Since Frank isn’t one for franchising his name, it didn’t go well.  Micro ended up dying when a rogue SHIELD agent tried to take out both Punishers and blew up Micro instead.

But this is comics, and when the Hood revived some dead supervillains, he did the same for Micro as well.  Micro ends up killing someone, and Frank isn’t the type to show much leniency for that sort of thing, and the hacker would later die a second time when Jigsaw slashed his throat.

Or, if you read the first storyline of Garth Ennis’s Punisher MAX series, one that allowed the writer to do Punisher stories intended for a mature audience, Microchip would try to recruit Frank for the CIA to go kill the likes of Osama bin Laden, but Frank saw they were corrupt and ended up killing Microchip himself with a shotgun to the face.

For what it’s worth, despite that being a MAX title, it seems that Frank’s killing of Micro might actually be in-continuity at Marvel.  The point is, he hasn’t been back since.

Unless you count, say, when he’s appeared in live action Punisher stories.  Wayne Knight actually played the character in Punisher War Zone…and that makes me think I need to see that famous trainwreck of a Punisher movie for myself.  I mean, it’s supposedly kinda nuts to begin with.  Kinda like being the Punisher’s sidekick.