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Talk about voices in your head… – Astonishing Tales 32

August 17, 2010

When I was younger I used to get Deathlok confused with a lot of other characters with similar sounding names. Deathlok, Deathstroke, Deadshot, Deadpool, Death’s Head… they all had one unifying factor for me — I couldn’t have cared less about any of them.

Did this book change my mind about Deathlok? Does he still look like a washed out version of DC’s Cyborg to me?

Well, I wouldn’t say that my mind has been changed, but I do have a little more appreciation for the character.

“The Man Who Sold the World!” was produced by what appears to be a cast of thousands, with multiple writers and artists tackling one solitary story. The plot is filled with characters and developments that are utterly foreign to me, so I can’t really criticize any of the storytelling. I really know nothing about the character, only what I could glean from his Wikipedia entry before I tackled this post. I never realized that Deathlok had his origins in a dystopian near-future, and that he wasn’t originally part of the mainstream Marvel continuity. Color me ignorant on that, I suppose. I also never knew that he had a matter-of-fact computer voice always chiming in inside of his head. Now that… that’s something I can get behind. It sets up a whole slew of opportunities for Odd Couple-like bickering.

Here we have good ol’ ‘Puter giving the leap-first Deathlok a too-late warning:

‘Puter doesn’t even shut up when Deathlok is caught in a deadly struggle:

Their prickly relationship also gives every story a chance to end with a humorous coda:

I’m still not a Deathlok fan — I’m not going to have a life-sized Deathlok bust on my mantle anytime soon. I do like his unwilling partnership with the voice in his head, though. You can almost imagine ‘Puter sighing with weary resignation and muttering “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar…”ย 

That makes me smile.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2010 3:10 pm

    I loved Deathlok as a kid, and felt the story held up pretty well the last time I read it (which was probably 10 years ago). For the most part, the character was the brainchild of Rich Buckler, who did some career-best work on this series. I recently picked up the Marvel Masterwork collection and hope to reread (and review) this series in the not too distant future.


    • August 17, 2010 3:52 pm

      It’s good to hear from someone who grew up with the book — Deathlok was a little bit before my time. I can definitely see things to like about it. I have another issue of that Astonishing Tales run around here somewhere (I think deathlok’s 2nd appearance). I’ll have to give it a look at some point.

  2. August 17, 2010 7:32 pm

    Deathlok is a Bronze Age masterpiece imo. It hardly seems dated at all, and was pretty edgy stuff for the mid 1970’s. You definitely need to read the whole saga from the beginning; it’s one continuous story, so if you read one issue in the middle you won’t know what’s going on. The concepts it explored like the merging of humans and technology, machines as God, omniscient computer networks, etc. were prophetic stuff — this was cyberpunk years before Blade Runner and William Gibson! Anyone who likes cyberpunk has to read this whole series!

    • August 18, 2010 10:23 am

      Good to hear from another Deathlok fan. I’ll definitely give him another look when I accumulate more of his back issues (I’m not big on trades). I certainly didn’t see anything in that one issue that turned me off.

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