Warning: SPOILERS for The Punisher 2099
Marvel's new series Punisher 2099 has released, a sort of reboot of the original series from 1993. The new series contains several elements from the original, yet also feels evocative to other dystopian future concepts seen in other media such as Black Mirror or Minority Report.
The new series comes from writing team Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson with artists Matt Horak, Eoin Marron, and Rachelle Rosenberg. Punisher 2099 brings back many ideas from the original series from 1993, such as a violent group of Thor-worshipers, now known as the Thorite Cult rather than the Church of Thor as it was introduced in '93. Furthermore, the private police force is The Public Eye, still supported by mega-corporation Alchemax in the year 2099.
Here's where much of the story changes and those new but familiar concepts are introduced: the Punisher himself is new character Hector Tago, a police officer with Public Eye. His commanding officer is Jake Gallows, though it's not quite clear if Gallows was once the Punisher like he was in the '93 series. Every citizen in Nueva York is given a social score rating. The more good they do in the eyes of Alchemax, the higher their score and the better their socio-economic status. Those with lower scores get limited access to parts of the city, and don't rank high enough for police protection.
Every Public Eye officer uses an IRIS, which is sort of high-tech body cam that records all their actions while being connected to their nervous system in order to provide an objective account of events. However, Tago notices that every time he replays an account of him defending himself against a Thorite, it changes. Realizing that something is wrong, Hector determines to investigate. However, the more he investigates, the more his own social score drops. Tago discovers that he didn't defend himself as the Public Eye and IRIS would like him to believe, but killed an unarmed man among the Thorites. Angered and anguished, Hector decides to commit social suicide, punishing himself by fighting back against those who made him complicit and passive, becoming the new Punisher in the year 2099.
The idea of socioeconomic scores and ratings totally brings the Black Mirror episode Nosedive to mind, starring Bryce Dallas Howard, where her desperate efforts to raise her social score in order to get a better housing situation and career lead to her score tanking and ruining her life. Also, the concepts of the IRIS memory tech and having the powers that be tamper with said memories for their own agendas feels very evocative to Minority Report. In that future, the police use the precognitive memories of psychics to solve crimes before they happen, however those memories get tampered with as well with dark intent. Furthermore, in that film's dystopian future, retinal scanners are everywhere, so everyone is tracked, marked, and recorded no matter where they are, similar to what is seen in Marvel's 2099.
While this first issue does a good job of introducing the world and the injustices within it that need to be corrected by the new Punisher, the issue doesn't do so well in its introduction of the actual Punisher himself. Tago just shows up wearing the Punisher armor at the issues's end with no real mention to where he got it. Did he steal it from Gallows or make it himself? Again, it's unclear if the Jake Gallows in this issue was once the Punisher of 2099 prior to Tago, or if the name is just a fun Punisher easter egg. In any case, the world facing Tago is one that feels like a reboot of its own past dystopian future from '93, as well as combining recognizable dystopian future concepts seen elsewhere to create a sort of collage of injustice in need of punishment.
Punisher 2099 #1 is in your local comic book store now.