Punisher (2nd Series) #33

Issue Date: 
May 1990
Story Title: 
Reaver Fever

Mike Baron (writer), Bill Reinhold (pencils), Mark Farmer (inker), Ken Lopez (letterer), John Wellington (colorist), Don Daley (editor), Tom DeFalco (squeaky wheel)

Brief Description: 

In the process of doing some computer hacking, Microchip is accidentally detected by his intended target, who happen to be the cyborg Reavers. Wishing to eliminate what he supposes to be a mutant threat, Donald Pierce sends Bonebreaker, Reese and Pretty Boy to Newark, New Jersey to investigate. Back in New Jersey, Frank Castle and Micro work on clearing out the warehouse in preparation of the upcoming attack. Eventually, the Reavers make their way there and launch an assault on the warehouse. Deciding on escape, Frank and Micro make their way onto a raft, enter the sewers, and destroy the warehouse. Continuing their pursuit, Pretty Boy uses his extendable arms to fill their raft with bullet holes once they reach the river. Bonebreaker, at the pipe’s opening, tells his fellow Reavers that their targets haven’t come up yet and he thinks they got them. Reese tells him that they’re on their way to meet up with them. They need to figure out who this joker was.

Full Summary: 

In their hideout, Micro tells Frank Castle, the Punisher, to come check out what he discovered on the computer. It’s the wildest set of bio-mechanical weapons components he’s ever seen. Has he ever thought of working with this kind of equipment? Continuing to fire his rifle, Frank tells Micro that he can’t hear a word he said. Micro states that whoever these guys are, they’re way ahead of the latest American hardware.

Laying the rifle down, Frank asks Micro if he was talking to him. Making his way over to the computer monitor, Frank asks Micro where he got the image on his screen. Micro informs him that he picked it up off a pirate beam that bounced off the CNN comstat. He traced it back to Queensland. Perturbed, Frank asks Micro doesn’t he know any better than to access a random beam. What if they’ve got a virus defense? As Micro tells him to relax, nobody knows he’s there, a computer alarm begins to sound and Micro utters “whoops.”

In north central Australia, beneath the sun-scorched town lies the Reaver complex, formerly the X-Men’s headquarters. Inside the complex, Bonebreaker informs Donald Pierce that someone’s trying to access th’ bloody computer. Pierce informs him to get a trace on it; the mutants betray themselves by such crude tactics. Bonebreaker tells him the joke’s on them, they just let Wipeout into their own system. They’re lookin’ at plenty of nothing and he gets the tap traced back to New Jersey. Pierce remarks New Jersey – doubtless some mutant trying to burrow back in and fry their systems. Too bad they anticipated their move. He then asks Bonebreaker if he, Reese and Pretty Boy would like to take a trip. Bonebreaker replies anything to get his hands on a mutie’s neck.

Rolling over towards Reese, Bonebreaker tells him to suit up, they’re going to New Jersey to track some stinkin’ muties. Reese tells him to hold his oil, he and Lady Deathstrike are sighting in some rifles. Deathstrike asks they’re going to New Jersey to seek mutants, she’s going. Bonebreaker tells her he’s ‘fraid not. Pierce said him, Reese, and Pretty Boy. Deathstrike points out that not only has she earned the right, she’s the best qualified.

Just then, Pierce enters the room and tells her that he admires her passion but she is needed there. In all likelihood, that’s not Wolverine but some other mutant trying to contact the X-Men. Deathstrike asks him why she is needed there and Pierce tells her because he admires her passion. Deathstrike says she will stay, but only because it suits her.

As the three Reavers plan their attack, Bonebreaker tells Reese to check out his new computerized sighting device. Pierce rigged him so the rocket hits whatever he looks at. Reese replies that he hopes he’s not easily distracted. Pierce tracked the worm through the CNN comstat to Newark, but from there it gets hazy. They’ve got it narrowed down to a twelve square mile area in the warehouse district. Bonebreaker mentions that the mainframe’s scourin’ N.J. aerial and ground survey records to give them a hold of the region.

Pointing to the screen, he says lookee here, there’s bound to be some blank spots where the scenery’s changed, but now they have a starting place. They look for a building with a satellite link-up and they scan the region at night for infrared patches. Reese then asks Bonebreaker if he has a sample of Wolverine’s body tissue. Bonebreaker replies that he does. They tried analyzing his blood but the genetic code kept changin’, like it was mutating or something. Best they could come up with was a synthesized pheromone. Reese tells his cohorts that Pierce said Gateway is off singin’ to the land so they have to take the supersonic.

Turning to Pretty Boy, he asks him he filed a flight plan. Pretty Boy tells him yeah, he filed it up his butt. Relax and leave the driving to them. Making their way towards the jet, Pretty Boy asks if they ever thought Pierce was setting them up to fail. When Bonebreaker asks why he would do that, Pretty Boy replies because he’s crazy and evil. Reese then tells them to shut up; Pierce is standing by the jet. As they board the jet, Pierce asks them if they are familiar with the city. Reese informs him that they have maps for above and below the ground. Pierce then tells them not to take him alive, whoever it is. Reese responds not to worry. They’ll bring him his bones.

In their safe house, Micro informs Frank that’s it. All systems are down and the files are toast. Frank asks if it could be an internal failure, but Micro tells him no way. It’s the most sophisticated virus he’s ever seen, it knocked them out in mere minutes without an activating program. It’s a good thing he’s got duplicate files at his place. Frank mentions that if they can send a bug back along their access line they can trace the beam. This means they can expect visitors.

When Frank tells Micro to activate the defense systems, Micro tells him that he’s been smokin’ too much crack. He just told him, their systems are done. Smacking his fist on the computer, Micro adds that they can’t even open the warehouse door. Frank says assuming they’re coming from Australia and they don’t have a strike team in place, they can expect them anytime after five hours. That’s the least amount of time it will take to get there at supersonic speed.

As they make their way to the warehouse, Micro asks Frank if they can at least get the battle van into a public parking ramp. They can force the furshlugginer garage door. Frank tells him good idea. They’ll load the van with everything it can hold. That way if they take the warehouse, they’ll miss the ordinance. For the next four hours they work feverishly to empty the warehouse. Most of it goes cross-town to Microchip’s warehouse, the van goes into a hotel ramp – Frank slips the manager a C-note. They’ve got enough plastique against the support columns to pop the building about two hundred feet in the air. They set up motion detectors on top of the building, battery-powered and wired to Micro’s remote.

Once everything is set up, Frank heads down from the roof and informs Micro as such and asks him how the transmission is. Micro tells him great and excitedly shows Frank what he found. It’s his Dalek, just the thing for cleaning out Times Square. Frank says yeah, and asks if it can go upstairs. Micro says it can now. The turret extends fifteen feet via remote and can punch or blast through anything short of a steel plate. Imagine it coming up through your pinochle table firing 650 rounds per minute per barrel in a 360 degree configuration. He calls it his “hydrant of doom.”

Frank tells him he’s a regular poet and asks where their command center is at. Micro replies that it’s in the boiler room. They have three points of exit, two above ground and one below ground. They’ve got a service outlet into the local storm sewer which ties into the main storm sewer, two blocks away. The main’s eight feet wide. Showing Frank an inflatable life raft, he tells him that they can hustle into the main in it. It collapses into a ten inch tube and inflates in thirty seconds. Frank proceeds to ask him if he’s nuts. Does he really expect them to ride the main sewer? Does he know what’s in that water? Micro says no problem; they’ll wear disposable body gloves and face masks. Frank then asks Micro where he was during AIDS awareness week.

As an alarm begins to sound from the remote in Micro’s shirt pocket, he mentions that a party is approaching on the north perimeter, Dunstall Street. Looking at a monitor, Micro states that it’s just a bum. Frank replies that he doesn’t know. What’s to scavenge in this neck of the woods, industrial waste? When the monitor suddenly goes out, Frank informs Micro that he’s going on the roof. Before he leaves, he asks where the Dalek is. Micro tells him that it’s back on the first floor. When Frank asks if they can knock out its electronics, Micro says if he can see it, he can run it. As Frank leaves, Micro calls out to him that if the transceiver goes, bang on the pipes.

Armed with his rifle, Frank makes it to the roof. While there, he thinks to himself that he hadn’t realized how dependent they’d become on electronic data. With their computers down they have no way of tracking their assailant, they know nothing about him. There’s a trap door on the roof that drops into a loft. He’s rigged it with a toe trigger in case he has to bail out in a hurry. He’s afraid Microchip’s bitten into some gang of mutants or super-criminals and it’s more than they can chew. They’ve been lucky for too long. He’ll bet money that it’s one ticked off Kristoff, aka Doom Jr., still disgruntled that he set fire to his art museum.

Just then, Reese appears on the roof behind Frank and asks him if he’s the jerk who tried to tap their computer. As they point their weapons at each other, Frank tells him that he thought he was somebody else and that he has no idea who he is. Can they discuss this? Frank then thinks to himself that he must be wearing some kind of force field to be able to approach him like this. He, unfortunately, is not. All he has is neck-to-crotch Kevlar. And if the man standing in front of him is packing Teflon, a fat lot of good Kevlar will do him.

Reese tells Frank maybe. He represents the Reaver think tank of North Central Australia. Tell him he didn’t try to tap into their computer. Frank looks him in the eyes and tells Reese he didn’t do it. Reese informs him that they traced the signal to the top of this building and can see the bloody bolt holes for their dish and he finds him standin’ there with Augie Doggie in one hand and a “who me” in the other. He has to tell him, he doesn’t believe it. With that, Reese opens up fire.

At the last moment, Frank drops through the trap door. Landing in the net below, Frank thinks to himself that he took a chance but he wanted the assailant to make the first move. It isn’t easy landing in a net with 20 pounds of ordnance strapped to your waist. Dropping down to the catwalk below, Frank informs Micro that he’s got a bogey on the roof and asks what’s going on. Micro informs him that he’s got a bogey manifestation on the main floor. At least two points of gunfire. The Dalek’s… “click.” When the transceiver goes dead, Frank thinks to himself that it’s Micro’s own fault. He’s getting careless, just like his kid. Tapping into strange computers, he’s just asking for a virus.

Looking down at the main floor, Frank notices that the Dalek’s confused. It’s trying to cover two fire points at the same time. When one barrel aims, it pulls the other one off. The source of the gunfire confusing the Dalek – Pretty Boy who is on the other side of the wall with his arms extended and firing at the Dalek from two different directions. Taking what he is offered, Frank shoots the gun off at the wrist of Pretty Boy’s left hand. Pulling back his arms, Pretty Boy replaces his shot off hand with another one and continues to fire away at Frank.

Entering the boiler room, Frank deducts that the shooter with the hydraulic arms suggests they’re under attack by an unknown technology. Kristoff – the false Doom? What would he be doing in Australia? Once inside the boiler room, Frank informs Micro the assailants aren’t human. Micro replies they’re human all right but they’ve been enhanced. It could be Doom’s work… Frank asks “Doom?” He tapped into Doom’s computer? He’s either the greatest genius or the biggest fool he’s ever known. Micro replies that he’s a genius. They can’t stop the Dalek, he’s just playing with them. Now he’s going to run them out of the building. Frank tells him that he thinks they should clear out.

At that moment, Micro notices that something just blew a hole in the south wall. There’s something coming through. When Bonebreaker makes his way through the wall, Micro exclaims oh #@#$! What’s that?

Facing off against the Dalek, Bonebreaker apologizes to Pretty Boy for the delay. He had a little trouble finding the right spot. He then asks if there’s any sign of the little freak. Pretty Boy tells him to hold on to his pants; it’s not Wolverine. Bonebreaker asks not Wolverine? Continuing to fire upon the Dalek, he asks what that is. Pretty Boy tells him that it’s some kind of remote gun station. He saw a man dressed in black with a skull on his chest. Bonebreaker asks if he got a visual to Pierce but Pretty Boy says not yet. Bonebreaker then asks where Reese is and Pretty Boy tells him he doesn’t see him, he must have gone after the skull character.

Equipping his rocket launcher, Bonebreaker tells Pretty Boy to look out, he’s going to dump the pile of junk into the basement. When he fires at the base of it, the Dalek falls through the floor and into the basement below. Once it lands, Frank tells Micro to quickly pop it back up through the roof. When he does, and it commences firing on the assailants, Bonebreaker exclaims that he’s going to hit it with a laser. He should have thought of this in the first place. It’ll superheat its ammo and blow it up from the inside. Behind a shield to protect them from the debris, Pretty Boy asks Bonebreaker if he thought somebody was in there. Bonebreaker tells him no. He’s pretty sure it was a remote. They’re probably in the basement.

When the destroyed Dalek falls to the basement floor, Micro is distraught. Frank tells him “come on Einstein, they’re out of there.” He then asks which way is to the river. As they put on their disposable body gloves and face masks, Micro states that he’s raisin’ the hatch and settin’ the timers. Not even the Newark cops can ignore a burning warehouse. Frank remarks that he likes this place. Where is he going to find another place as good? Making their way into the sewers, Micro tells Frank that, if the warehouse is his idea of a cool place, maybe he ought to take a vacation. Frank says good advice. Maybe Club Med.

Getting into the raft, Frank tells Micro this better work. Beginning to paddle, Micro says no problem. He did a computer simulation before… Frank asks before what, before they installed a grate? Micro says no problem. He has torches for this very situation. Unfortunately, he has to get down in the soup to use it, so they don’t scuttle the boat. He then remarks that he hopes the vents are working. He’d hate to have a methane explosion, wouldn’t he?

Yelling to his teammates, Bonebreaker informs them that the targets are no longer in the building and to clear out, she’s going to blow. No sooner do the Reavers exit the building, it blows up. Reese points out that their targets never left the building, there’s only one way they could have got out. When Bonebreaker asks the sewer, Reese tells him he’s got it. Turning his attention to Pretty Boy, Reese tells him they are in the sewers and asks if he can find them. Lifting up a sewer cover, Pretty Boy asks “can a cat see in the dark?”

Extending his right arm into the sewer, he states that he’ll pull them back upstream. He then tells Reese that maybe he ought to get down there and blast ‘em. Pretty Boy then tells Bonebreaker that it sounds like they finally got a cop problem. As he fires upon the police, Pierce contacts him and asks him if they bagged them yet. Bonebreaker tells him no sir. It’s some clown in a skull costume. Pretty Boy saw him. They’ve got ‘em cornered in the sewers, they’re going down after them. When Pierce asks where Reese is, Bonebreaker tells him that he’s a little busy right now and that they’ll report as soon as they can.

In the sewers, Micro finishes cutting a hole through the grate. As they continue to make their way, Frank notices a hand rising up out of the water behind them and proceeds to shoot it off at the wrist with his rifle.

As Pretty Boy retracts his arm, Reese asks him if he lost them. Pretty Boy tells him not before he planted a tracer on their boat. They can figure their vector and be waiting when they pop out into the river. He’s going to put a replacement hand on and go after those flowers. At that moment, the Reavers proceed to send Pierce a visual of Frank and Micro using infrared and computer enhancement. Pierce tells them that he doesn’t know him but to bring him back there. When the Reavers tell him that might be a tad difficult, Pierce informs them to kill him then.

In the sewer, Micro mentions to Frank that he thinks the sewer debouches into the river about ten feet above the water line. Frank tells him they’ll cut a hole through the grate and climb the cliff, or whatever it is, might be docks. Micro says yeah, and then maybe they should split up for a while. Frank asks him why, what does he have in mind? Micro says he messed up with the tap and all; maybe he needs to get his head straight. Frank tells him suit yourself, it looks like they’re there.

Just as they fall out of the pipe and into the water below, Pretty Boy’s arm emerges and riddles the raft with bullet holes. Making his way to where the pipe lets out, Bonebreaker informs Reese where he is and that their targets haven’t come up yet. He thinks Pretty Boy got ‘em. Reese informs him that he’s on his way and to gather any debris. They need to see if they can figure who this joker was.

Characters Involved: 

Microchip (Punisher’s assistant)

Donald Pierce, Lady Deathstrike, Reese, Bonebreaker, and Pretty Boy (all Reavers)

Story Notes: 

The Reavers have been in control of the base in Australia since Uncanny X-Men #253.

Dalek is a fiction extraterrestrial race of mutants from the British television series “Doctor Who.” They were introduced in December of 1963 and quickly became the most popular recurring foe of the series titular character, the Doctor.

Punisher set fire to Kristoff’s art museum back in Punisher (2nd series) #29.

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