The Punisher will not be working alone in his solo spinoff series. Another Marvel comics character, David Lieberman, codename Micro, is making the jump to the Marvel Netflix Universe. But the Micro (or Microchip) from Marvel comics is noticeably different from his TV counterpart in many ways. Spoilers for Episodes 1-6.
In The Punisher, Micro is played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach (who you may know from his previous work on Girls). When his character was announced, Marvel revealed that he was a former NSA analyst who would turn out to help Frank Castle (aka The Punisher). He’s forced away from his wife, son, and daughter, however, when, at his job as a NSA analyst, he receives a video depicting several U.S. forces operatives torturing and killing an unarmed prisoner. After struggling to determine what to do, he forwards the video not to his superiors, but instead to Homeland Security. He’s then hunted by the NSA and ultimately shot, in front of his wife, falling into a nearby river. The only thing that saved him was his phone blocking the bullet, which otherwise would have gone straight into his chest.
For their own safety, this Micro doesn’t let his family know he’s still alive. What he does do, though, is install numerous cameras to watch them and monitor their safety. (Which is creepy.) Micro then reaches out to Castle to eliminate those who had tried to kill him and get the video evidence swept under the rug. Jon Bernthal, who plays Frank, noted in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that Micro and Punisher have a lot in common. He said:
“Good drama is when you take these hard life characters and force them to interact. Interestingly, [Micro and Punisher] have very similar paths as far as their families, and as far as the predicament they’re in, and they’re sort of forced to work together.”
Microchip made his comics debut back in 1987. He used his skills with computers to become a hacker and make a living through scamming others. He also had a love interest, Jan O’Reilly, with whom he ended up fathering a child. However, she broke up with him once she learned of his criminal behavior. Following that, he surveilled them, similarly to how he does in the TV series, but in an even more invasive manner. In the comics, he connected with Punisher to get retribution against Kingpin, who killed his nephew. From then on, he worked with the Punisher against several super villains.
In a phone interview with Bustle, Moss-Bachrach says that while he wanted to honor the investment of old-school Punisher fans, he was happy to see the character grow and develop. “In the comics, he mostly stays kind of behind his desk, in his chair,” the actor says. “One of the goals for one of the arcs for this season was to get me out of that — to get him out of that world that he’s sort of comfortable with. And that’s exciting to me, I hope that’s exciting to Punisher loyalists. Because I don’t think it’s different, I think it’s building upon what’s already there.”
It’s interesting to note, though, that The Punisher TV series isn’t actually the first time Micro has been present in the Marvel television universe, though played by a different actor. On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Micro was part of the hacktivist group Rising Tide, and he helped uncover details concerning a murder. He also was referenced in Daredevil Season 2, with the CD Punisher took from his home before it blew up.
Whether Micro and Punisher work together for the rest of the season remains to be seen. While they had a rough beginning to their alliance, the two definitely share a mutual goal. But, as those who read the comics can attest, The Punisher once killed Micro… so really, anything is possible with these two outliers.
Additional reporting done by Sage Young