The new Deathlok series is walking a weird line for me. There is definitely awesome action, gorgeous artwork from Mike Perkins, and several interesting ideas at play setting up Deathlok for some compelling adventures in the future. The only problem is this book has yet to cash in on any of the promise it has been seeding. One could almost be forgiven for picking up a single issue, reading it, being content, and not feeling compelled to read any more.
Truthfully, Deathlok has always been a c-lister. Since his debut in Astonishing Tales #25, he has been a cyborg second class citizen, bounced around the marvel universe past and possible future looking for a place where the things that make him unique would shine. He’s one of Marvel’s more niche sci-fi characters who has often been the victim on unimaginative writing, but even when the writing of the book is great, he has never really had an audience big enough to sustain long term publication. Now that the new one, a former soldier/doctor by the name of Henry Hayes, “works for” interchangeable evil corporation #3 while being tracked down by Domino, another c-lister, and investigated by unimportant SHIELD agent #38, all this while not being tied to any larger events within the Marvel Universe, one could be tempted to say “who cares?”
The thing is, I do; very much so. I’ve always liked Deathlok, and one of the best arcs that I ever read in comics was his Marvel Knights limited series done by Charlie Houston and Lan Medina. It was intelligently written and beautifully drawn with its graphic depiction of the horrors of war, and I’ve loved the character ever since. Plus, I’ve always loved Domino; she’s a dichromatic Longshot with two more fingers and sweet boobs, and a complete badass to boot. The issue I’m having with the new series is that I’m being carried forward in my reading of the series not necessarily by the draw of an amazing story at this point, but by my connection to the history of Deathlok.
I want to see good things come out of the story of Henry Hayes. I want to see how he deals with the ethical implications that he’s been used, and how he fights back at his handlers for their exploitation. They could do more to pique my interest, but I’d like to see more substantial connections between him and his daughter as opposed to the light humanizing element that she currently serves to the tale. I love the character’s history, and I am enjoying this latest incarnation’s journey, so I want to see the title thrive, and this new Deathlok be featured in more things. As such I am rooting for this book, and I recommend this book, but I understand if you read it and weren’t interested, and for me that’s the biggest tragedy of this whole story arc.