Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Deathlok, Volume 1: Control. Alt. Delete Review (Nathan Edmondson, Mike Perkins)

Whiskey David.

Didja turn into a cyborg killing machine? Congratulations, you’re NOT a Deathlok!

Right now Nathan Edmondson’s essentially writing three variations of the same Marvel character: The Punisher, Black Widow and Deathlok, ie. non-super-powered anti-hero killers with guns. Also, none of those titles are very good!

If you’ve read his Punisher or Black Widow, you’ll know what to expect in Deathlok: lots of generic standalone action missions with our main character firing at faceless baddies within a poorly defined quasi-arc.

The difference here is Henry Hayes, the latest Deathlok, doesn’t know he’s Deathlok. He’s an army vet with prosthetic limbs supplied by an organisation called Biotek. Except Biotek have brainwashed him so when he sees the words “Whiskey David” his mind goes blank, he collects some gear, and goes off on another black ops mission. Only he thinks he’s in Doctors Without Borders thanks to Biotek’s false memories implanted into him after each mission.

No clue as to why Hayes was chosen specifically to be a Deathlok – it would’ve been nice if Edmondson had included some pages on that. Why not get someone totally disconnected from the world and have them as Deathlok the whole time and do away with the subterfuge of Hayes’ life? I don’t know either what Biotek’s getting out of Deathlok’s missions or what their goals are, but I suppose that’ll be explained in the next book - a book I’ll probably never read thanks to this unsatisfying first volume! You don’t gotta give me everything but you gotta give me something. 

Hayes is a single father with a teenage daughter so there’s some uninteresting backstory about the two being distant because he’s away so often. I guess that’s Edmondson trying for a heart to the comic but it feels clich├ęd more than anything. There are also a couple of half-assed subplots about some SHIELD agent trying to find Deathlok, and Domino being hired by someone mysterious to find out what’s up, Deathlok. But generally there’s little here that’s especially compelling to entice the reader.

Some of the action wasn’t bad, thanks largely to artist Mike Perkins’ fine work in this book. Like Hayes when he’s Deathlok, it’s pretty mindless stuff to see but mildly entertaining in its way and everything looks great.

I’ve never read a Deathlok book before so I can’t say how it stacks up against the older, different Deathloks. But Nathan Edmondson’s take on it is the same as with his Black Widow and Punisher comics: forgettable bang-bang stories that shoot blanks more often than not.

Deathlok, Volume 1: Control. Alt. Delete

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