WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Marvel’s The Punisher, now streaming on Netflix.
Marvel's The Punisher sees Frank Castle form an unlikely partnership to uncover a bloody conspiracy that resulted in the murder of his family. Taking a cue from Marvel Comics, Frank is practically forced into working with David "Micro" Lieberman, a former NSA analyst who was framed as a traitor and gunned down in public.
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Wherever The Punisher goes, death follows, and the 13-episode Netflix drama is no exception. Frank delivers his signature style of "justice" through the use of brutal, and typically fatal, violence. So, does Frank's right-hand man suffer as most of their adversaries, and his comic-book counterpart?
On Marvel's The Punisher, Micro's family -- and most everybody else -- already believes Micro to be dead: He was shot by a dirty Homeland Security agent after he came across a video of the execution of an Afghanistan National Police officer who'd uncovered a heroin operation run out of Kandahar by a CIA agent and U.S. servicemen. He sent copies of the recording to the officer's partner, Homeland Security investigator Dinah Madani, and to Castle. Micro is tracked down quickly and shot in the chest, falling into a body of water and presumed dead.
In the comics, Frank and David (there usually referred to as Microchip) bicker and argue like an old married couple. In The Punisher War Journal, Micro speaks out against Frank's extreme methods, revealing that he thinks the vigilante has lost sight of their original goals and frequently goes too far. After yet another argument, Microchip tries to recruit a new Punisher in the form of former Navy SEAL Carlos Cruz. Of course, Frank takes exception to that, and he and Microchip become embroiled in a gunfight. Ultimately, however, Micro is killed by a rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and not by Frank.
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Micro seemingly suffers a similar fate on The Punisher series, but under different circumstances. Working alongside Frank, Micro is gunned down in crossfire during an exchange: Billy Russo is holding Micro's wife Sarah and son Zach, and wants to swap them for Frank and Micro. During the trade, Homeland Security arrives, and a gunfight breaks out between government agents and Billy's men, and Micro is again gunned down. Billy captures Frank and flees, later saying he saw Micro die from three gunshots. The next time we see Micro he's in a body bag, in the possession of Homeland Security.
But then Micro's eyes open, and it's revealed his death was faked with the help of Madani so he can finally be reunited with his family. Sarah and Zach saw his body on the ground shortly before, so his resurrection (again!) comes as a shock, eliciting a complex blend of emotions. But in the closing scenes of the season finale, Micro returns home to a Lieberman household filled with smiles and the smells of a home-cooked meal, both of which have been largely missing for the past year.
Who doesn't love a happy ending?
Available now on Netflix, The Punisher stars Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle, Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Micro, Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Daniel Webber as Lewis Walcott, Shohreh Aghdashloo as Farah Madani and Paul Schulze as Rawlins, with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Marion James.