The last week has seen Marvel release a series of strange, sinister teasers for their next upcoming Netflix series, The Punisher. These teasers have suggested that someone is seeking Frank Castle out, and they have some pretty phenomenal tech. The final teaser showed us a mysterious basement headquarters, and revealed that the man in question was Ebon Moss-Bachrach's Micro. Now, in production notes released by the Netflix Media Center, Marvel has chosen to introduce us to the MCU's version of this classic comic book character.
What Approach Will Marvel Take?
The character of Micro has been portrayed in a lot of different ways in the comics. As Jeph Loeb notes, he was originally created because fans were wondering just how the Punisher stayed so well-informed (and well-armed). Although Micro was introduced in 1984's Punisher #4, it was implied he'd been helping Frank Castle for years. Because he was essentially reverse-engineered into the Punisher's history, comic book writers have constantly rewritten his backstory.
Given that The Punisher charts the beginning of Frank Castle's one-man war on crime though, it's essential we see that early relationship develop. Micro is introduced as an ex-NSA analyst who faked his own death, even hiding from his own family. He's holed himself up in the basement level of the power plant on Roosevelt Island, and he's been doing his level best to stay off the grid. The series kick-starts with Micro reaching out to Castle, as he believes the two have a mutual enemy.
The two initially clash, with Micro outsmarting Castle. The Punisher swiftly learns that he can't deal with this threat by kicking down doors and beating Micro to death; he has to outwit him. It's an opportunity for the series to showcase Castle's tactical genius, in contrast to his simple military skill.
They may have a rocky start, but the Punisher and Micro wind up partnered against a common enemy. As the series progresses, the growing friendship between the two becomes the emotional heart of it. Loeb jokingly refers to them as "The Odd Couple," explaining:
"Micro is also a person who came through epic tragedy and in many ways Frank and Micro became The Odd Couple. Their ways of dealing with what had happened to them in their lives were completely different and yet circumstances force them to work together and that creates great tension and drama and in many cases levity in the story.”
Micro's Family Plays A Major Role
Micro's faked his own death, and that means even his wife and children believe he's dead. It's a fascinating reversal of the Punisher's own situation; Castle lost his family, but Micro has chosen to sacrifice his. Micro's still wrestling with the consequences of this decision when we first meet him, and he sees the Punisher as his way of getting his family back. That shared sense of loss and grief becomes an emotional bond between the two, forming an unlikely friendship. As Jon Bernthal comments:
"I think that when the two of them come together you see where their bond comes from. I think that Frank really empathizes with Micro’s pain and sadness from being separated from his family. It really resonates with Frank and they connect over that. Micro is pretty eccentric. These characters are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Micro wears kimonos and headlamps and eats gourmet food and Frank Castle basically chews metal."
It sounds as though Castle becomes committed to reconciling Micro with his family. Jaime Ray Newman plays the part of Sarah Lieberman, Micro's wife, who's been forced to step up and become a lioness, protecting her pride. She has no idea that her husband isn't truly dead at all, but we can assume she'll learn the secret as the series progresses.
The relationship between the Punisher and Micro really does seem to be central to The Punisher, with the mismatched pair united by their shared sense of grief and a deep longing for family. It takes a special kind of person to become the Punisher's roommate, but it sounds as though Micro is that kind of man. Settled in his basement-level headquarters, Micro watches the world go by — and soon becomes the friend and ally the Punisher needs.