Issue(s): Deathlok #1
One other thing to note are the editor credits. It looks like both Tom Brevoort and Bob Budiansky have gotten promotions since their credits on the first Deathlok series. This makes Bob Budiansky the third "Executive Editor" at this time, with Mark Gruenwald and Carl Potts already holding that title.
This first issue is basically a re-introduction to Deathlok and some members of his supporting cast. We learn that the government is having trouble prosecuting Harlan Ryker, the head of the Cybertek (a division of Roxxon) that is responsible for creating Deathlok. That is in part because a court has ruled that Deathlok's testimony can't be used since it can't be determined if he's "sentient or just a piece of hardware". And also because Ryker is having evidence destroyed, and other witnesses killed, like Cybertek computer programmer Billy Hansen. Ryker is doing that through a prototype of Deathlok called Warwolf, which is literally a wolf that has been subjected to the Cybertek cyborg process.
Deathlok's friend Jim Dworman, one of the few remaining employees at Cybertek that isn't under indictment, has been allowing Deathlok to come in at night to use the computers so that he can try and locate his real body. And that's why he's there when Warwolf shows up to delete some files.
But Warwolf is much faster than Deathlok, and it gets away.
Deathlok later breaks into prison to interrogate Ryker, but Warwolf shows up there as well to kill other Cybertek employees in case they turn evidence against Ryker like Hansen planned to.
One problem with Warwolf is that it was given eyebeams, and the creature can't see while it's using them.
Deathlok is able to stop Warwolf...
...and he rescinds his No Killing parameter long enough to put it out of its misery.
It's said that enough data can be retrieved from Warwolf's memory to make a case against Ryker.
Beyond that, this issue shows Deathlok lurking outside his family's house and writing a letter to his wife explaining what's happened to him (which he doesn't plan to give to her until after he's back in his real body). That and a flashback provides enough exposition to get people who might not have read the original mini-series up to speed.
It's a pretty basic issue but it hits everything you need to know about the character, with the Warwolf being a kind of silly villain (or at least one with an uninspired name, but as Luis points out, he's based on the War-Wolf, an opponent of the original alternate universe Deathlok) that nonetheless highlights the tragedy of Deathlok's current condition. The issue is a good introduction in the sense of providing the necessary information, but i don't know how well it would have hooked new readers not already sold on the character. I like Denys Cowan's art but that's after seeing it for years at Marvel (and i think he's gotten better since his Power Man & Iron Fist days, with more solid linework); i don't know how much appeal it would have had to comics fans in the 90s. That said, this issue does include plenty of what has always made me love the character (and his predecessor): the back and forth dialogue between the human mind and the computer system.
It's true. Sarcasm tags can be very helpful.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Deathlok has appeared in a few things since the end of his last series, including Damage Control and some Infinity Gauntlet tie-ins. But he's been active since the end of the last series, so that shouldn't be a problem.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBilly Hansen, Deathlok (Michael Collins), Harlan Ryker, Jim Dworman, Nick Collins, Tracy Collins
Warwolf was arguably the first named opponent of the original Deathlok, so it would be difficult to avoid introducing some version of him to fight this one as well.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | October 21, 2015 6:55 PM
Ah, thanks Luis. I haven't read most of the original Deathlok stories and it didn't occur to me that Warwolf would be an echo of an older character. I hope there isn't a lot like that i will miss out on.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 21, 2015 7:06 PM
You know, I can't help thinking how Deathlok's situation is similar to Spawn's. Could McFarlane get inspired by that book?
Posted by: Piotr W | October 22, 2015 2:54 PM
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