Has the Punisher always been such a lone vigilante? Well, always a vigilante but not quite such a loner. In the early days of the strip, Issue Four to be exact, the Punisher made the acquaintance of one David Linus Lieberman. Lieberman was a genius computer hacker, in the early days of hacking, but had to stop when his hacking brought him face to face with real life criminals. Tragically, his favorite nephew decided to follow in his footsteps and was killed by the Kingpin for hacking into his bank accounts. It is while investigating his nephew’s death that he runs into the Punisher.
The Punisher and Microchip quickly develop a business association that leads to a friendship. Microchip aids the Punisher through cyber investigating, hacking, and managing the Punisher’s finances, aka the money he takes from criminals, and setting up safe houses. In addition, Lieberman is a weapons expert and trains the Punisher in the use of some more advanced specialized weaponry. This Renaissance man is also a savvy mechanic and maintains the Punisher’s fleet of vehicles.
However, as could be expected, over the years they began to have differences of opinion and began to have a failing out. This culminated with Microchip attempting to replace the Punisher, with his own vetted candidate, Carlos Cruz, a former Navy Seal. The Punisher and Microchip wind up in running into each other at a safe house and a heated gun battle ensues. Derek “Stone Cold” Smalls, a rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who has gone vigilant, rudely interrupts their fight by firing a rocket into the safe house killing Microchip. The Punisher questions whether he could actually kill Microchip, a question that gets the answer “yes” when Microchip is revived later in the series.