With The Punisher leaving behind almost all the trappings of Daredevil Season 2 when Frank Castle moves to his solo show (only Karen Page will come with), that means a slew of new faces will be arriving. Over the course of the 13 episodes we'll meet those Castle served with, those he works with today, and those who volunteer to step into his life, like David Lieberman, aka "Micro." But who is Micro on The Punisher? And how exactly does he manage to team up with Frank Castle, a man who according to all public records, is dead?Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Punisher Season 1.
The character of "Micro" is actually based from one in The Punisher comics. Said character was introduced in the mid 1980s, David Linus Lieberman, known on the nascent internet scene as "Microchip." (It was 1987, microchips were the big new thing then.) A friend and ally of Frank Castle, Lieberman was something that was also new and edgy in the 1980s: a "hacker." Microchip was in fact, one of the most famous hackers of this early era of computer technology... that is, until he got caught hacking into Wilson Fisk's data files and had to go underground to hide from the Kingpin's goons.
While in this underground status, and searching for the man who murdered his nephew, Microchip met The Punisher, and up until recently was one of his closest allies. (The newest Punisher comics have set them against each other, but if Netflix goes there, that's most likely for another season.)
Things are slightly different here in in the Netflix world, at least in terms of Micro's back story. This modernized version had wisely cropped the "chip" out of the name, for one thing. For another, they've tied his backstory in with Frank's as well.
Lieberman is like the computer counterpart to Frank Castle. As he says to Castle at one point "I'm like the guidance system to your missile." That sounds a little high handed, but the point is not completely off. After all, Frank Castle is no computer whiz, and in the 21st century these sort of spy vs spy "Military Industrial Complex" plots usually require getting behind firewalls and data-docu-dumps of all kinds. Castle's good at shooting people. Totally different skill sets.
The early episodes of The Punisher focus around a tape that's been leaked from the wars years of Afghanistan, featuring masked marines torturing a suspect, one Ahmen Zubair, to death. For those of us who remember the Bush administration, this sort of scandal will be very familiar. The difference here is one of those men in the room was Castle.
This black ops mission and the existence of these tapes have now been semi-retconned into what got Frank's family killed prior to Daredevil Season 2. They're also what got Lieberman "killed," when someone sent the file to him to try and expose what was happening over there. Realizing he was about to be murdered, Lieberman faked his own death, and has been spying on his surviving family from a bunker ever since.
So Castle isn't the only one who's pretending to be dead. Once Lieberman tracks him down, his hope is that Castle will come out of hiding and help expose those higher ups in the armed forces who forced this to happen. Along with that, Lieberman can also reveal himself as alive, and return to his family after years away.
Will the plan work? Can Micro at least get his family back, even if Castle cannot? Can these two very different men managed to live together in an underground bunker and not kill each other before the mission is over? You'll have to watch to find out.
The Punisher is now streaming on Netflix.