Comic Book Review – The Punisher 2099 (2019) #1

Cover to Punisher 2099 (2019). Features Punisher 2099 shooting guns blazing while being shot at.
Cover to The Punisher 2099 (2019). Comic book cover by Patch Zircher and Java Tartaglia.

Where to Buy this Comic Book:

Credits:

  • Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson – Writers
  • Matt Horak with Eoin Marron – Artists\
  • Rachelle Rosenberg – Colors
  • VC’s Joe Sabino – Letterer
  • Patch Zircher and Java Tartaglia – Cover
  • Steve Epting, Ron Lim, & Israel Silva – Variant Covers
  • Jay Bowen – Design
  • Lauren Amaro – Assistant Editor
  • Darren Shan – Editor
  • C.B. Cebulski – Editor-in-Chief
  • Joe Quesada – Chief Creative Officer
  • Dan Buckley – President
  • Alan Fine – Executive Producer

SPOILER-FREE ZONE

The year is 2099. What’s your social score? If it isn’t high enough, then you’re simply expendable. You have a low social score and you get caught up in police crossfire? You’re an “acceptable loss”. Thankfully, this is just a comic book.

I enjoyed this comic book, but I am a bit biased as The Punisher is my all-time favorite character. The artwork was spot-on. I like the “Crossbones” look of the new Punisher. The writing had a political overtone that I appreciated (see: China, social score).

END OF SPOILER-FREE ZONE

You are now exiting the spoiler-free zone. Do yourself a favor and stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers.

This comic book is about Lt. Hector Tago, a member of the police force working for Alchemax. Vision is now a supercomputer used by Alchemax and their police force. With the help of Vision, Tago is reviewing an officer-involved shooting that he took part in. The video displays him shooting an armed man who was about to murder another officer. But something doesn’t sit right with Hector. It doesn’t play out the way he remembers.

Hector’s supervisor is none other than the original Punisher 2099: Jake Gallows. However it seems this comic book takes place in an alternate reality where Jake has accepted the system. Gallows tries to convince Hector to trust the video. But Tago can’t shake the feeling that Vision has been compromised and his video was tampered with.

Later, Hector is tasked with taking down a rogue street cleaning bot. Someone had uploaded an A.I. equivalent of themselves into the bot and sent it to run around the city spouting “propaganda” against Alchemax. Hector is able to stop the bot, but the AI still remained. This is when Gallows directs Tago to shoot the bot, ending the AI’s existence, which he does. A quick flash-forward shows that they had arrested the culprit, and he has been sentenced to a lifetime prescription of Syn-C.

Syn-C is a “moral enhancement” drug that removes a person’s free will. It is used to subjugate people into a lifetime of work. This was found to be more efficient than the prison system.

At home, Hector strips the encryption off of the raw footage of his shooting incident and replays it. He finds that the man he shot and killed was actually unarmed. Not only that, but the victim was actually trying to save the life of the officer-in-danger. That victim happened to be a Thorite. Thorites are a cult of people with zero social score. Someone had tampered with the video to make the victim look like an aggressor. This had the intended effect of making Hector look like a hero.

Hector has to come to terms with the fact that he did indeed shoot an innocent victim. He does this by becoming the new Punisher 2099, killing off the old Hector. Being The Punisher is his way of atoning for his sins. This also drops his own social score to zero. This comic book culminates in a showdown between the new Punisher 2099 and Jake Gallows. I’ll let you read the comic book to find out what happens.

One thing that confused me was the switch between Gallows and Tago. I was fully on-board with having a new Punisher 2099, but retconning Jake Gallows as an antagonist felt kind of odd. Then again, I felt the same way when Microchip betrayed Frank Castle in Garth Ennis’ first Punisher MAX run. That series is probably my lifetime favorite.

Tago is no Frank Castle, but his motivation for atonement could bring about some very interesting story lines. I’m eager to see what they do next with Hector Tago in this comic book series. I recommend this comic book to any fan of The Punisher, and to anyone who enjoys futuristic comic book stories.

Leave a Reply