Issue(s): Deathlok #9, Deathlok #10
It's still targeting criminals, and the No Killing parameter is in effect, but it attracts a lot of attention.
Denys Cowan's art seems to be getting increasingly abstract and cartoonish. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and it's definitely a nice effect for the scenes in Nightmare's realm.
It was probably a roadblock in attracting the audience of books like the Punisher, though.
Deathlok's rampage continues...
...and eventually Deathlok gets into a fight with the police, and a bystander, a kid on a bicycle, is injured. This qualifies as the spilling of innocent blood, and attracts the attention of Ghost Rider.
Deathlok makes the assumption that since the police and Ghost Rider are trying to stop him from stopping criminals, they must be criminals too. So Deathlok continues the fight. Ghost Rider smashes Deathlok's body with his chain, in a scene that i'm not showing because it's a sideways two-page spread. Deathlok's friend Jesus then tries to explain that Deathlok isn't himself. Ghost Rider initially threatens to hit Jesus with his penance stare (and Cowan has him looking pretty terrifying here)...
...but Ghost Rider decides that Jesus has spilled no blood, and therefore lets him go. Ghost Rider then turns his penance stare on the disabled Deathlok, but it turns out that this is a trap set by Nightmare.
Note that Nightmare is still calling Ghost Rider "Zarathos".
Ghost Rider disappears entirely when he's brought into Nightmare's world. I note this because it's not what happens the next time Ghost Rider meets Nightmare (see Spirits of Vengeance #2).
While Ghost Rider is away, the Deathlok computer makes repairs to itself using a molecular re-arranger and an adamantium repair patch (Deathlok's words are scrambled due to the damage at this point).
So not only is Deathlok made of adamantium, which we already knew, but he's got spare adamantium and a molecular re-arranger. No wonder Ultron appearing in this series a little while back wasn't a big deal; with the re-arranger, he should be putty in Deathlok's hands. I guess this also means that Ghost Rider's magic can affect adamantium.
In Nightmare's realm, Ghost Rider thinks that he's rescuing Michael Collins and bringing him back to the real world.
But Nightmare is messing with Ghost Rider. GR hasn't really brought Collins back. So Ghost Rider has to fight Deathlok again, this time not buying the idea that Deathlok is just out of control.
Note that the Deathlok computer calls itself Deathlok the Demolisher, like the original alternate universe version.
Collins' nightmares include his wife and son becoming Deathloks.
But Collins disbelieves the dreams and eventually escapes. Back in the real world, he allows Ghost Rider to give him a penance stare to prove that he's a good guy.
It turns out Collins' sins aren't so bad.
The fight between Deathlok and Ghost Rider attracts the attention of Nick Fury. The fight is over when he gets there, but he takes Deathlok back to the helicarrier to be fully repaired by Jim Dworman.
At the end, Deathlok thanks Fury for his help. Fury says to not disappear, because he'll be needing Deathlok soon.
I really like Cowan's art for the Nightmare scenes. I do wish that he made more of a distinction between that and the real world, though. Cowan really just seems to be going more abstract in general. I actually like the look but it's more suited for a more indie style book, while Gregory Wright is doing fairly straightforward writing (outside of the Nightmare scenes, of course). But Wright's story does find some interesting twists for the obligatory Ghost Rider guest appearance.
There are two gems in the lettercol for issue #9. One is someone that is outraged that there is a character in this book named Jesus:
What is it you're trying to pull here? I just got through reading a recent DEATHLOK. In it, you introduced a semi-slob... You gave that two-bit bum the name "Jesus!" So what are you trying to do? Identify our Lord with some crazy jerk that can't even get enough money to pay the rent? Deathlok was my favorite comic book, until now. So I say to you, off this Jesus dude and off him quick, or you can wave goodbye to me.
The response, of course, is that "Jesus is a very common Hispanic name" and that no offense is meant. The person who wrote the letter later writes in to apologize, which was nice to see.
The second letter:
I'm writing to you again to express my dismay over this new, liberal Deathlok. A pacifist Deathlok does not work, it's a contradiction in terms.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This story is referenced when Ghost Rider faces Nightmare in Ghost Rider #30 (which takes place concurrently with Spirits of Vengeance #2). So this would have to take place prior to Ghost Rider #25, when Danny Ketch is physically killed by Blackout. Nick Fury is explicitly referred to as the Director of SHIELD, so this needs to take place before Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #33 when Fury resigns as director. The MCP have Deathlok's appearance in Daredevil annual #8 prior to these issues, but i am not sure if that's necessary (i'll update this when i review those).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showDeathlok (Michael Collins), Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), Jesus Badalamente, Jim Dworman, Nick Fury, Nightmare, Noble Kale
When we discussed the infamous story where Ghost Rider defeats the Punisher in Thunderbolts in Comics Should Be Good's the Wrong Side, this story came up. In the Thunderbolts story, Ghost Rider uses his Penance Stare on the Punisher, and the Punisher says "I regret nothing" and shrugs it off. This story shows why that shouldn't have worked- at the very least the Stare should have caused Frank to recall his "minor" sins long enough for the Rider to incapacitate Frank.
Posted by: Michael | March 7, 2016 8:25 PM
When placed here (between Ghost Rider 24 & 25) it presents Daniel Ketch as the biggest douchebag ever...
In Ghost Rider #22-24 Stacy met him during a "date" with another girl, in issue 25 she still doesn't speak to him, and yet here he is thinking about meeting with Stacy later that day...
It just shows he care so little about her that he forgot how pissed she is...
Posted by: fragsel | November 2, 2017 1:45 PM
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