Tag Archives: Dystopia

Deathlok the Demolisher

“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.

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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.

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Deathlok Prime from Uncanny X-Force

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Henry Hayes, Deathlok

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.

Plot?

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.

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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.

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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.

Art?

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.

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Image result for deathlok the demolisher marvel knights

Recap?

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.

END THROWDOWN.

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Low

“You’ve allowed the entire world to feed on you, Stel Caine.”

Hey, all, this is D.C. finally back to throw down on a very meaningful comic series this time around:

Image Comics’ Low is a story of hope and the race of one woman to find a millennia-old artifact that may mean the survival of humanity from its underwater world…and the race against those who will do anything to hide what may instill hope in the ignorant masses. It’s a beautiful tale of one woman who clings to her faith that humanity does not end below the surface of a damaged Earth.

 

Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope was dynamic and set up the world and tone of the story so well. Protagonist Stel Caine was a hopeful, endearing woman seeped in faith, faith that humanity can escape their underwater tomb. She rises against the stifling complacency and debauchery seen in both the world of Salus and her son. A woman who’s lost her husband, she holds onto the slim hope of finding her daughters. By the end of Volume 1, Stel’s hope and faith extends to her son with saddening and optimistic results.

Volume 2: Before the Dawns Burns Us expands the cast of Low and gives a series of shocking development and actions early on. I was left shocked and saddened very early on in this book. The hope for a character quickly dashed. The brutal conclusion to an otherwise endearing love, all because of duty. Stel’s attempts to reconcile her crisis of faith after the events of Volume 1. The disturbing background of Stel’s companion Zem Gotir and his connection to her past…Absolutely nothing bored me with this book.

Hope is death in Low

 

The art provided by Tocchini is a very different form than I’d seen in other books (until Descender, that is), and it is a very beautiful thing to behold. Tocchini’s art flows well with the aquatic, dystopian world, even if it is rough. The simplicity and roughness of Tocchini’s pencils, aided by Dave McCraig’s colors, adds  beauty of the world.

 

I liked Rick Remender’s take on Stel Caine in particular. As stated before, she is the epitome of faith and hope in the face of hopeless adversity. She is a strong mother and a very strong and endearing woman. I couldn’t help but be captivated by Stel’s character.

Remender writes the remaining cast with sheer, brutal honesty. Stel’s children all show up throughout Volume 1 and Volume 2. You may hate who they seem to be, but not who they become. Those in control in the world of Low are simply reprehensible and vile creatures. These people make you realize that there is true ugliness in every world, in every future. In nearly every way, Stel’s antagonists personify the bitter and complacent nature of the world Low.

 

Recap

Low is a series of hope. It is a beautifully, brutally, and graphically realistic tale that details one woman’s optimism for hope against the bitter and ugly nature of a damned humanity. Rick Remender’s penmanship left me with a wide range of emotions, and that is no small task. The art provided by Greg Tocchini and Dave McCraig paints the world perfectly. Volume 1 sets up the world, history, society, and mentality of the people wonderfully. Volume 2 delves deeper into the idea of perseverance and the absolute brutality and depravity of society.

I look forward to the remainder of the series, and to see how far Stel’s faith and determination will take her. Will the artifact she seeks really be the salvation of mankind? Will her hopes get torn asunder by the brutality of realism? Will she lose more in this saga? I have hope that this series will deliver in the end.

 

END THROWDOWN.