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Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the future of 2099 through the Punisher 2099 monthly series.
For the newcomers reading this, Punisher of 2099 is Jake Gallows who works during the day as a law enforcer which is a nice contrast to the concept of the classic Punisher identified as Frank Castle. In Punisher 2099 #1 (1993), Jake Gallows witnesses the demise of his family that got attacked by a gang of killers led by Kron Stone who is not only the son of Alchemax’s Tyler Stone but also became the deadliest nemesis of Spider-Man 2099.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Punisher 2099 #2, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner, with art by Tom Morgan.
The story begins with a funeral of Jake Gallows’ lost family members held at the church of Thor. In accordance to the traditions of the Thor religion, the dead bodies were placed on a burning boat floating on the water just outside the church building. As he and his fellow law enforcers watch the ritual happen, Jake confirms that he and the church of Thor do not believe in forgiveness and he himself believes in revenge.
When he is not on duty, Jake goes out as the Punisher hunting and killing criminals in his own brutal ways. Even as he does not wear a mask nor a helmet, his face is digitally covered from detection of security cameras thanks to a special technology he uses to protect his identity.
Meanwhile at an amusement park, lots of children enjoy floating in the air within an anti-gravity chamber. Kron Stone and his fellow killers arrive as they attempt to murder the children. Punisher suddenly comes out and successfully kills Stone’s companions, leaving them together in a standoff…
While the sub-par issue #1 was composed mostly of the build-up and emphasis of the futuristic Punisher, this story is pretty much a big pay-off to it. Quite predictably, Jake gets to meet with the gang leader responsible for the death of his family in this issue not once but twice. Along the way, the comic book writers got to emphasize Kron Stone’s wickedness more as well as his continued disregard of human life. This time, Stone’s willingness to kill many children is very disturbing and Tom Morgan’s art style clearly emphasized the villain’s evil.
Within this comic book is a visual tour of the Gallows residence which has a large underground facility and pieces of technology that Jake uses for his campaign against crime (this makes Punisher 2099 becoming similar with Batman and his Bat Cave). He also has a technology oriented partner named Matt who helps him establish a working base of operations.
There is also a sub-plot about the side of crime with the introduction of the Fearmaster who, like Tyler Stone, is with Alchemax and has influence over Public Eye. Unsurprisingly, his introduction is short.
The best way to describe Punisher 2099 #2 (1993) is that its plot really thickened and unlike issue #1, this one has a more interesting story and the presentation done by the creative team has some entertainment value. While this is unsurprisingly the natural progression of defining the futuristic Punisher to readers, it is also a successful way of expanding his own part of the 2099 universe complete with the introduction of a new villain and conspiracy that connects to both criminals and law enforcers. To be clear, this is far from being an excellent comic book but it is clear that this one is an improvement over issue #1. In retrospect, the one thing that adds weight to this comic book is not Punisher himself nor the creative concepts involved, but rather the presence of Kron Stone who later on became Venom 2099 (read my retro reviews involving him in Spider-Man 2099 issues #35, #36, #37, #38 and #39).
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Punisher 2099 #2 (1993) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $90 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $200.
Overall, Punisher 2099 #2 (1993) is satisfactory.
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