In Marvel’s cyber-punk future, the Punisher moniker is held by a new vigilante who decided to make some much-needed upgrades to Frank’s original suit.
Frank Castle aka the Punisher is easily one of the deadliest Marvel Comics characters, but even his methods aren’t without their flaws including his flippant attitude towards his own secret identity eventually resulting in a costume upgrade. For someone who consistently commits violent murder, one would think Frank would want to hide his identity so as to not be tracked down by authorities. The thing is, though, Frank never cared that everyone knew who he was as his life was not separate from that of his persona, the Punisher. However, for anyone else taking up that moniker, Frank’s maskless vigilantism just wouldn’t work, so the Punisher’s future variant came up with the perfect solution to conceal his identity while also staying true to the style of his predecessor.
In The Punisher 2099 #1 by Pat Mills, Tony Skinner, and Tom Morgan, fans are thrown into Marvel’s cyberpunk future set within the same continuity as Spider-Man 2099 and Ghost Rider 2099. The issue starts with an innocent citizen running for his life from a gang of criminals who are attempting to slice him open and steal his organs right there on the street. After they get their hands on their victim and slice into him, killing him in the process, the Punisher of this timeline shows up seemingly out of nowhere and guns them down, leaving not a single survivor in his wake.
As to be expected, law enforcement became involved in this case as there were multiple dead bodies involved with the shooter still at large. This being a hyper-technological future, there are cameras everywhere that capture anything that happens within the city. When police take a look at the footage of the Punisher killing the gang of criminals, they are unable to see his face because of the extra precaution this version put into his costume. The Punisher didn’t wear a mask as that would not be true to the Punisher’s legacy, but instead used a device known as a face scrambler. The face scrambler made it so anytime he was recorded, a virtual pixelated skull would be placed over his face so that it would be impossible for anyone to recognize him.
The reason the Punisher of the year 2099 needed to hide his identity whereas Frank Castle did not is because, unlike Frank, this version actually had people to lose. The future Punisher’s real name is Jacob Gallows and he became the Punisher after he was inspired by the original Punisher’s War Journals following the murder of his mother, brother, and sister-in-law. However, Gallows still had an ex-wife, a son, and a girlfriend who he didn’t want to endanger through his vigilantism. Plus, Gallows was, himself, a special agent within law enforcement and couldn’t risk being identified as a murderous vigilante for his own sake.
Frank Castle lost everyone when he became the Punisher, and while Jacob Gallows lost some of his family members, he still had people in his life that he could not put in harm’s way. Like any other superhero with a secret identity, he hid his true face and name in order to keep his loved ones safe while maintaining the overall look of the Punisher’s original suit. Marvel’s future Punisher fixed Frank Castle’s huge costume mistake by using advanced technology to hide his identity.
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