Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
As already established here on my website, I reviewed several comic books of the Marvel 2099 line of superhero comics. I reviewed the respective launch issues of X-Men 2099, Spider-Man 2099 and Ravage 2099 to name a few.
Some of you must be wondering what was the first-ever Marvel 2099 comic book I bought back in the 1990s. Believe it or not, it was not Spider-Man 2099 #1 (the one comic book that launched the Marvel 2099 line in late 1992). It was actually Punisher 2099 #1 which I bought in December 1992 (comic book was cover dated February 1993).
You read that right. I was a latecomer on discovering the Marvel 2099 universe in the late 1990s. Prior to the launch of Punisher 2099, comic books of Spider-Man 2099, Ravage 2099 and Doom 2099 were already on the shelves of comic book stores.
One day in Makati here in the Philippines, I passed by a comic book stall in a department store and saw Punisher 2099 #1 (which had a gimmick cover) and other 2099-related comic books displayed. After observing the available 2099 comics, I decided to buy Punisher 2099 #1 not simply because of its gimmick cover but because I wanted to discover the 2099 universe through the futuristic version of the Punisher (which I’m not even a fan of).
Here is my retro comic book review of Punisher 2099 #1 published by Marvel Comics in late 1992 with a story by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner with illustrations done by Tom Morgan.
The story begins with a man running away from danger. Because he does not have enough money to summon law enforcement for protection (note: cities in 2099 are all run by corporations and even public services have been privatized), he easily gets ganged up and killed by crooks armed with surgical devices. They killed him to get his heart.
Shortly after, the Punisher of 2099 arrives and easily kills the crooks. His action caught the attention of Public Eye Police Force (note: a service of police protection that responds to transactions by paying clients) via the city surveillance system, the cameras of which are unable to identify him because his head is automatically covered digitally (the Punisher here has his own identity protection system).
Jake Gallows, who is Punisher 2099 himself, enters the office of Public Eye. He is an employed enforcer of theirs and he notices that his employer has been watching his acts of violence against criminals…..
When it comes to establishing Punisher of 2099, the creators of this comic book pulled of a decent job. They not only introduced Marvel’s vigilante of the far future efficiently, they also made him look interesting temporarily. They also did a nice job with connecting Jake Gallows with Frank Castle, the 20th century Punisher.
Still, Punisher 2099 #1’s clear weak point in presentation was the back story of Jake Gallows who became the Punisher as a result of his family getting killed by group of armed, wicked people. In concept, this is too similar to the origin of the original Punisher who also lost his family.
While the origin lacked creativity, the creative team at least tried something new by introducing Kron Stone as the first-ever villain for Punisher 2099. Kron Stone, if you know your 1990s Marvel 2099 history, was not only the son of Alchemax chief Tyler Stone (a key character in the Spider-Man 2099 series) but also went on to become Venom 2099 (who debuted fully in Spider-Man 2099 #35).
The creative team also made a nice move establishing Jake Gallows as an actual working law enforcer who took a huge risk as he also secretly made moves as a vigilante when he’s not working.
While the comic book writers did a decent job with the story and characterization even though they had less than 25 pages of storytelling, the art by Tom Morgan will only please readers who enjoy violent and gritty imagery. Personally, I’m not impressed with Morgan’s art and his work on the cover of this comic book is laughable. Punisher 2099’s character design (what’s with those three frontal tubes that formed the teeth of the skull design?) is really corny to look at and not even famous painter Joe Jusko could improve the character’s overall look.
Given the fact that Punisher 2099 never became a significant character of Marvel Comics all these decades, I would suggest thinking very carefully before spending any money to buy or even rent Punisher 2099 #1. It’s not a terrible comic book, just flawed with some limited engaging stuff here and there. If you are really craving for early 1990s Marvel superhero stuff, then this one could be worth it.
If you are seriously considering acquiring an existing copy of Punisher 2099 #1, be aware that as of this writing, and according to the rates of Mile High Comics online, a near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $6 while a near-mint copy of the newsstand edition is priced at $16.
Overall, I say that it’s best to purchase a copy of Punisher 2099 #1 BELOW its cover price.