“MAKE. THEM. PAY!”
Welcome again, all. This is D.C. back to throw down on one of the more tongue-in-cheek choices I’ve made during the LA Comic Con this past weekend.
Who is Deathlok?!
In nearly all incarnations, Deathlok was the amalgam of (dead) flesh and metal, proposed to be the ultimate war machine. Deathlok has always been a hero with its biological and technological personae at war with one another in some form. Two of Marvel’s best known incarnations were Luther Manning and Michael Collins. However, many others from both the mainstream and alternate universes have used the moniker Deathlok, which, in my eyes, have added to the complicated history Deathlok. The most recent incarnations were Deathlok Prime from Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force and Henry Hayes.
With my limited experience with Deathlok as a whole (minus Uncanny X-Force–fun run!), I figured now was as good a time as any to learn about him.
Deathlok the Demolisher is a 7-part story under the Marvel Knights imprint, centered around an alternate future where Roxxon Corporation rules, and the world enjoys bloody warfare as a sport. Only the most brutal soldiers get the highest pay and greatest fame.
Charlie Huston wrote an action-packed and somewhat engrossing tale that gave insight our protagonists, the disciplined Luther Manning and the impulsive Mike Travers. Seeing the two characters interact throughout the story was good, if only to see how they can come to terms with one another in this profane culture.
However, the story was bogged down more than once by the incredibly dense dialogue Huston employed. I enjoy real dialogue in my books, and at times Huston wrote with comedic and wild effect. Still, there certainly was too much weighing down the story, especially with regard to Deathlok’s creator.
The tone is what you might expect of a future in which one company rules and dictates entertainment through warfare. It was alarming, cautionary, and rings reminiscent of our own culture now. A page of Mike Traver’s commercials is ridiculous and, in retrospect, a massive jab at advertisement and media as a whole.
I only wish that the profanity were written explicitly, with how often the pound signs were used. But it was a Marvel Knights imprint, and there were rules.
While the story’s conclusion was more open-ended, it also had a very good finish to who this Deathlok is and what his world was, is, and might be. Perhaps it was because of the dense script, but I found myself lost as to the exact reasons Deathlok was able to cure this malady the disenfranchised anarchists suffered from. Still, it was a decent conclusion for what the story told.
Lan Medina did a great job capturing the overall tone, detail, and attitude of this story. At times, it’s dynamic, other times brutal…and still other times, just vile. It was a very satisfying mixture that meshed well.
Death scenes were utterly brutal and gratuitous–a perfect reflection of this dystopic and chaotic world. Medina really pulled out the stops in both landscape and character design, where the characters all look distinct and have their own personalities thanks to Huston. So much was put into this miniseries that it was amazing Medina’s art did not suffer throughout. More than once a panel caught me so off-guard that I’d exclaim, “Holy shit!”
This is truly art and script complementing one another.
Deathlok the Demolisher is a good book for anyone looking for an introduction to the core character of Deathlok. It is an action-packed and brutal tale of identity and independence. While parts of the story are incredibly heavy in dialogue, Charlie Huston and Lan Medina work a very satisfying graphic tale together.