The newest Deathlok, Henry Hayes, is on yet another mission for the mysterious “Control” and this one puts him into the crosshairs of A.I.M.’s forces. Edmondson devotes quite a large portion of the issue to this particular mission which does a fairly good job of showing off the skills of our main character. But more importantly the relationship between Deathlok and his handlers is also expanded upon in very subtle ways. His contact at “Control”, J.J., appears slightly more invested in the well being of Deathlok than her superior. He’s willing to risk losing the asset in order to avoid detection from A.I.M. but Perkins’ artwork reveals that J.J. may not be too comfortable with the constant mind wipes and deception. Edmundson also delivers a more personal touch as Hayes is also dealing with his daughter’s failing academics along with him being an absentee father. Edmondson shows that this prompts Hayes to make a serious choice about his life but also reveals just how much “Control” is embedded into his life. So it looks like he’ll be suffering those mind wipes a little while longer.
Much of what helps to make this issue as strong as it is would be the artwork from Mike Perkins and the colors of Andy Troy. Not much dialogue is needed during an underwater action sequence so the art really carries the bulk of the story here. The character expressions are very good which help move things along a little better than Edmondson’s narrative. Perkins also consistently maintains quite a nice level of detail for the cybernetic portions of Deathlok’s anatomy and we even get to see him use those little gadgets on his belt. Here’s hoping things really crank up in this series so we can see what these guys can do with huge action scenes as well.
Edmondson does deliver a very unexpected cliffhanger that raises some questions as to where this character has been since leaving their previous team. It also sets up what is hopefully a pretty exciting battle between this individual and Deathlok later on. Now, he does touch on the S.H.I.E.L.D. team that is tracking Deathlok for the murder of their fellow agent for a brief moment. This seems to be a pivotal plot point for the series so far but not much has been done yet so it seems as if the pace won’t pick up to much until the investigation does. Their investigation also has them bring up the former Deathlok that serves as more than a nod to the character but a legitimate story element as well.
The human element really helps ground the book and is just as entertaining as seeing Hayes as his Deathlok persona blowing up things. This is an overall solid issue that shows that this creative team has what it takes to make Deathlok a pretty exciting book once things start to pick up.