||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (October 2009)|
The Punisher: The Origin of Microchip #1 (July 1993). Cover art by Doug Braithwaite & Art Nichols.
|First appearance||The Punisher #4
|Created by||Mike Baron
|Full name||David Linus "Microchip" Lieberman|
David Linus "Microchip" Lieberman (often known as Micro) is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics Universe. Created by writer Mike Baron and artist Klaus Janson, he first appeared in The Punisher #4 (Nov. 1987) as an ally of The Punisher for many years. He assisted the Punisher by building weapons, supplying technology and providing friendship, though in more recent publications, Microchip gradually evolved from the Punisher's friend to a bitter villain.
Fictional character biography
David Linus "Microchip" Lieberman was a legendary computer hacker in the early days of the hacking business, performing numerous scams and hacks still held in awe today, until one scam brought him too close to real-world criminals forcing him to go into "retirement" as a quiet unassuming businessman. This ended when his nephew, attempting to follow in his favorite uncle's footsteps, was caught and killed after accidentally hacking into the private computers of Wilson Fisk (a.k.a., The Kingpin). While personally investigating his nephew's murder, Lieberman met and started collaborating with The Punisher. Microchip's help proved invaluable to Castle; he served not just as a hacker and cyber-investigator. Micro also helped Castle: manage and launder his finances (i.e., the money Castle takes from the criminals he kills); set-up and equip Castle's safehouses; train Castle in more "specialized" skills for his war on crime; and, obtain hard-to-get ammunition and equipment. Less obsessed with Castle's personal war, Microchip acts as a de facto counseler to Castle (e.g., encouraging Castle to take occasional vacations and breaks, to avoid burn-out or losing his mind).
Over time more of his past history is revealed. His father had been forced to create weapons against his will well before Microchip was born; in the same issue he mentions his sister is a happy housewife in Ft. Lauderdale. Micro has an illegitimate son named Louis Frohike. Louis is killed while trying to assist Frank Castle in a hostage exchange.
Micro is capable of fighting on his own, such as when he took on an assassination ring threatening his godson's family. He also takes on less violent crime. When he discovers his new neighbor is being scammed by a 'charity' he destroys it from within, not by violence but by computer trickery, sending a recording of the administrator's plans to fans of yodeling music.
Despite everything, he has always considered his weight a problem. At one point he signs himself into a 'fat camp', though it goes unexpectedly as it turns out the administrators are dealing speed.
Micro loses his left pinky finger when the Kingpin sends it to Frank as part of a blackmail attempt. He is let free from the Kingpin's custody when the arranged deal (Frank slaying a rival gangster) is accomplished.
The Punisher War Zone
The Punisher's 1992 spin-off entitled The Punisher War Zone was launched, written by Chuck Dixon and penciled by John Romita, Jr.. It later turned into an out-of-continuity anthology. The first issues included character arcs for Micro, where Linus goes so far as to see a psychiatrist and take up acting in theatre as part of his therapy. After Castle discovers this, the two have a disagreement and Micro goes into hiding, working as a barman.
Microchip develops a friendship with Mickey Fondozzi, a Mafia soldier whom Frank recruits to his side. The two work on operations together, such as infiltrating the Secret Empire, a multi-faceted criminal organization.
After the Punisher's seeming death in attacking a criminal meet-up, Microchip and Mickey find themselves literally on the street, their escape vehicle surrounded by police. When Microchip refuses to destroy the vehicle, as it would kill innocent cops, Mickey abandons him.
Ultimately, Castle and Micro have one final fallout just before the cancellation of all three major Punisher titles in 1995. This fight comes to an end in the closing issues of The Punisher War Journal Micro disagrees with Castle's methods, feeling that Castle has lost sight of their original goals and has gone over the edge. Soon after, Micro then tries to replace Castle with a new handpicked "Punisher", former Navy Seal Carlos Cruz. Micro and Castle come face to face in one of Micro's safehouses in what appears to be a final confrontation. A gun battle ensues between the two former partners. This battle is interrupted by rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Derek "Stone Cold" Smalls, who had been part of a program to take down vigilante groups and had himself gone vigilante. Smalls fires a rocket into the safe house, killing Microchip. Castle moves on, unsure if he would have really slain Microchip himself.
During the Dark Reign storyline, Hood brings Microchip back from the dead and offers to bring his nephew back to life if he helps in dealing with the Punisher. Microchip sends Megatak to attack Punisher's hacker ally Henry. To start off Hood's revival ritual of Castle's and Microchip's family, Microchip shoots G.W. Bridge in the head. Unfortunately the Punisher refuses to help and threatens to use Firebrand to burn them alive.
In the Blood
In the Punisher: In the Blood mini-series, the Punisher returns to New York City and vows to find Microchip and make him pay for murdering G.W. Bridge. Microchip is knocked unconscious by Jigsaw. While Microchip is captive in Jigsaw's warehouse mansion, he is visited by Stuart Clarke, who is the Punisher's old ally. Stuart explains his girlfriend was killed by the Punisher and swears to make him accountable, but his revenge failed. Stuart walks away and tells him that the Punisher is coming. When the Punisher is captured, Jigsaw allows him to kill Microchip by slashing his throat. Jigsaw's son Henry Russo learned his father was manipulating the Punisher and helps him to escape.
Powers and abilities
In the Punisher: MAX universe Microchip has been presumed dead for some time. However he returns to attempt to pressure Castle into working for the CIA's black ops unit to participate in the hunt for terrorists (e.g. Osama bin Laden). The Punisher declines, as he prefers his autonomy to indentured service to an institution such as the government. Microchip confesses to Castle that the source of funding for the operation came from the CIA funneling arms and heroin out of Afghanistan. Castle gives Micro a chance he has not given his victims since before he officially assumed the role of the Punisher: the chance to run. Microchip declines, obligated to help Castle in a CIA/Mafia firefight. Taking a possibly mortal injury in the fight, Micro attempts to humanize Castle again, only to be met with a point-blank shotgun round to the head.
Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe
In other media
- Microchip appeared with the Punisher in the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon voiced by Robert Axelrod. His nickname was Chip rather than Micro, and he tended to act as Frank's conscience, urging him to use the non-lethal weaponry.
- In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "The Writing on the Wall", Microchip (called "Micro" on the show) is mentioned by Skye as a "crime scene junkie" who is among her network of hackers.
- Microchip appeared in 2008's Punisher: War Zone film portrayed by Wayne Knight. In the film, no explanation is given as to how he came to work with the Punisher, although he appears to support his war on crime. Although Microchip does show genuine concern for the Punisher, whom he calls by his real name. He lives with his mother, who is physically disabled and can barely move and Frank even shows concern toward her well-being. When Jigsaw and Loony Bin Jim hear about him, they kill his mother, kidnap him, and give the Punisher a choice to either kill Microchip or Angela Donnatali and her daughter Grace (who they also kidnapped) or they will kill all three. Microchip heroically offers his own life, but the Punisher instead uses his one bullet on Loony Bin Jim, killing him. An enraged Jigsaw then promptly shoots Microchip in the head, killing him. The Punisher, now enraged, frees Angela and Grace before brutally dispatching Jigsaw.
- Microchip had a cameo in the side-scrolling beat 'em up Punisher arcade game, in the continue screen, giving the Punisher CPR.
- Although not actually seen, Microchip is featured in the 2000 Spider-Man video game voiced by Christopher Corey Smith. He is heard talking to the Punisher when he attempts to snipe Spider-Man.
- In the Playdom game Marvel: Avengers Alliance on Facebook, it was revealed that he drives Punisher's Battle Van when that move is used in battle.
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 7
- Schoell, William (1991). Comic book heroes of the screen. Carol Pub. Group. p. 155. ISBN 0-80651-252-0.
- "The Punisher" #46 (1991)
- "Punisher" Vol 2 #9 (1988)
- Punisher Annual #1 (1998)
- Punisher Annual #3 (1990)
- "The Punisher" Annual 4 (1991)
- "The Punisher" #53 (October 1991)
- Daredevil #307-309; Nomad #4-6; Punisher War Journal #46-48
- Punisher War Zone #23 (Jan. 1994)
- Punisher War Journal Vol 1 #79 (June 1995)
- The Punisher vol. 7 #4-5
- The Punisher vol. 7 #8
- The Punisher vol. 7 #10
- Punisher: In the Blood #1
- Punisher: In the Blood #2
- Punisher: In the Blood #4
- The Punisher vol. 5 #6
- Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe (1995)
- "Behind the scenes with "The Punisher", written by Michael France". Retrieved 2007-09-03.