Monday, November 17, 2014

I Reads You Review: DEATHLOK #1

DEATHLOK (2014) #1

WRITER: Nathan Edmondson
ART: Mike Perkins
COLORS: Andy Troy
LETTERS: VC's Joe Sabino
COVER: Mike Perkins with Andy Troy
VARIANT COVERS: Clayton Crain: Skottie Young
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (December 2014)

Rated “T+”

“The Enemy of My Enemy”

Deathlok is a Marvel Comics cyborg character that first appeared in Astonishing Tales #25 (cover date: August 1974).  Also known as “Deathlok the Demolisher,” he was created by artist Rich Buckler and writer Doug Moench.  There have been several different versions of the character, but the recurring theme for all these characters was that a dead human was reanimated with cybernetic technology and became Deathlok.

Now, there is a new Deathlok, and he appeared in the eight-issue event miniseries, Original Sin.  This Deathlok is Henry Hayes (an African-American), who works for Medics Without Borders, a job that cost him a leg.  Hayes received a composite fibers prosthesis from a company called Biotek, but the company also placed him under mind-control.  Apparently, Hayes is now an operative who works as an assassin, killer, and soldier.  Henry Hayes is the star of a new Deathlok comic book series from writer Nathan Edmondson, artist Mike Perkins, colorist Andy Troy, and letterer Joe Sabino.

Deathlok #1 (“The Enemy of My Enemy”) finds Henry getting some fine-tuning on his Biotek prosthesis.  A week later, he is on a mission in Ludzern, Switzerland.  Back home, Henry's teenaged daughter, Aria, is mostly ignoring him.  S.H.I.E.L.D isn't ignoring him, however, as Director Maria Hill has assigned Agent Hope, a researcher, to investigate Deathlok.

I really like Mike Perkins' art in this first issue.  It seems like a blend of Bryan Hitch and styles not seen since the 1970s and 80s, especially in the depiction of human anatomy and of the domestic scenes.  Nathan Edmondson, who can write intriguing stories, does just that here.  Deathlok #1 is a well-put together first issue.  I am curious enough to read more issues, but I don't see myself paying $3.99 per issue for the pleasure of reading this new Deathlok past the first story arc.  That might change if I hear things about the second arc that really intrigues me.

PREACHING TIME: By the way, I have nothing against Nathan Edmondson.  I always enjoy his writing.  However, I have to admire the contortions through which Marvel Comics will go in order to avoid hiring Black writers, even on books starring African-American characters.

I had to laugh at Marvel Studios' announcement of a Black Panther movie, when I know that no Black man will play a major part in this movie beyond Chadwick Boseman as the film's star.  I don't see a Black woman doing much in the film other than playing a small supporting role, either.  Will a Black man or woman ever write, direct, or produce a Marvel feature film?  I certainly don't see that happening during this round of films that Marvel has mapped out to the year 2028 (or 2029). PREACHING TIME OVER

Oh, yeah.  Once again, Deathlok #1 is good and has potential.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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