Characters Appearing: Coldblood
Marvel Comics Presents #26-35 (Coldblood)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #26, Marvel Comics Presents #27, Marvel Comics Presents #28, Marvel Comics Presents #29, Marvel Comics Presents #30, Marvel Comics Presents #31, Marvel Comics Presents #32, Marvel Comics Presents #33, Marvel Comics Presents #34, Marvel Comics Presents #35 (Coldblood story only)
The creators here are Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy, the famed creative team of the critically acclaimed Master of Kung Fu, and the return of their partnership at Marvel (they had worked together on other projects for Epic and elsewhere since MOKF) would be news even if they weren't introducing a new character. In fact, the new character isn't all that important in the long run, although he will continue outside of this series, beginning with appearances in Deathlok. And in the long run the character is at least worthy of a footnote since a version of him appeared as a minor character in the third Iron Man movie.
The fact that his first guest appearance is in Deathlok is no coincidence, though. The character is a lot like Deathlok. He's a cyborg raised from the dead that constantly argues with a computer AI in his brain. In fact, thanks to some sleuthing from Mark and Michael in the Comments, it turns out that this story was originally intended as a Deathlok story but was subsequently changed to be about a new character.
The story opens in what seems to be a dystopian New York.
But notice the metal skeleton inside the "corpse".
Meanwhile, a talking car explains Coldblood's origins to him, starting with the fact that he's Coldblood-7 despite only being a 5th generation model.
While it's being explained to him that he's a cyborg, he has a hallucination of "the Maker".
He's then attacked by a tank...
...and we see the first glimpse of his personality...
...and get our first full shot of him.
He destroys the tank, but the guy inside comes out and tells him that he is "the target".
Coldblood shoots him in the face.
It occurs to me that Coldblood's opponent was supposed to look like the Hulk.
Yup, definitely the Hulk.
Coldblood instinctively wires his brain up to the Hulk robot's to the surprise of the people watching on a monitor, including a Gina and a Mako. Coldblood then makes the Hulk-bot go back to where it was sent from, but a clown shows up to shoot it.
By now it's clear that he's in a testing ground, not the real New York. When he get gets too close to the perimeter, the people testing him shut down both his car and his own body, but as long as he doesn't try to escape they let him operate. And they keep sending stuff after him.
He eventually makes his way to Dr. Gina Dyson, who offers to restore his memory, or rather re-input it to him since his original brain tissue has been "flushed".
He doesn't get to learn anything now. She basically gives him a hard drive with his history on it and tells him to flee before Mako shows up. Gina also removes the restraints that shut him down when he approaches the boundaries of the test zone. Coldblood isn't sure if he should trust her, but he aims his car at ramming speed towards one of the outer walls, and it works. He finds himself in the Nevada desert outside a small mock-up of a part of Manhattan. Coldblood fends off his pursuers...
...and heads to Las Vegas.
Coldblood's pursuers continue to hound him in Vegas, shooting things up with no regard for civilians...
...but when Mako figures out that it was Gina that helped Coldblood escape, he cancels the kill order and decides to use Gina as bait to get Coldblood back.
Coldblood dodges the Vegas police by sacrificing his car, which he sends in the opposite direction by remote control, before finding a prostitute that directs him to the Lucky 7 motel where he checks in to room #7. At that point he begins accessing the hard drive that Gina gave him. He learns that his real (or former) name was Eric Savin, and he was a lieutenant-colonel in the army. Lt. Gina Dyson came to him and told him that an operation he was in charge of was actually a front for an illegal secret project run by Mako.
While investigating Gina's claims, Savin was discovered by Mako and killed. And then brought back to life by Gina, under Mako's direction, as a cyborg. Mako made sure that Savin's brain was removed.
After getting that memory dump, we learn that the prostitute that led Coldblood to the motel is really working for Mako as Agent Five. She is sent to tell Coldblood that Gina is being held captive.
If Coldblood does anything but return to Mako, she will "began [sic] to die".
Coldblood destroys Agent Five...
...but Mako is sure he's coming back alone.
Another agent of Mako's named Charles, is shown having some doubts about Mako's actions, and then we see a group of dignitaries arrive at the phony Manhattan in the desert. They are interested in setting up a New World Order for corporations.
They came to see Mako's cyborg, and his attempt to placate them with robots...
...and mecha suits...
...doesn't work. So Mako just has them all killed.
Then Coldblood arrives and starts fighting his way through the maze again. Mako uses illusions to add a psychological level to the attacks.
Coldblood also can't trust his computer, since its close enough for Mako to hack.
Meanwhile, Charles tries to rescue Gina. In fact, Mako allows Charles to set Gina free so that she can be loose in the maze where Coldblood, already trained to ignore what the attacking robots look like, might kill her.
However, despite the haywire computer's urgings, Coldblood decides not to kill Gina. So the two of them continue to make their way through the maze.
At this point Mako is getting nervous that Coldblood will reach him, and he's ready to trigger Coldblood's destruct sequence. But another agent of Mako's betrays him because he's worried about what the corporations that are funding Mako will say, especially after he killed all their representatives. And he delays Mako long enough for Coldblood to reach the city's power generator, disabling all the robots and the ability for Mako to pull the killswitch. But Coldblood still has to fight his way through Mako's human guards, and then he reaches Mako himself, who is in a mecha.
Gina helps out too.
Coldblood remote controls his car into Mako's mecha, destroying it. Mako still survives, but he's shot down by both Charles and Coldblood.
In the end, Gina drives off with Coldblood, worried about the multi-national corporations that will hunt them.
All told, it's a decent story, probably one of the better features in Marvel Comics Presents. But Coldblood doesn't really add anything to the Marvel universe that Deathlok doesn't already provide (and indeed except for the Hulk robot, which doesn't count, there's no indication that we're in the Marvel universe at this point). Paul Gulacy doesn't do anything here that wows the way his Master of Kung Fu work did. And the plot is basically exactly what you'd expect of a story about an illegal cyborg project. But Moench and Gulacy are able to bring some spice to it and, again, it's a good adventure story.
In the lettercols, the initial reaction to Coldblood is positive enough that it's said they're going to do a prestige format mini with the character next, but that never comes to fruition.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Agreed that Deathlok makes Coldblood feel pointless. Do we really need another futuristic cyborg with a gun? Around this time marvel will pick up the rights to Robocop just to make Coldblood doubly redundant.
Posted by: kveto | November 18, 2014 4:02 PM
Gina never appears again, even though Coldblood does, and we never find out what happened to her.
Posted by: Michael | November 18, 2014 7:58 PM
Maybe that's the same robot Hulk from the Eternals series!
I see your point about duplication of concepts with Deathlok, but it did seem like popular culture was developing an appetite for cyborgs. 1987's Robocop would see a sequel )and a Marvel series) in 1990. Terminator 2 soon followed. It's possible this is what Moench and Gulacy wanted to work on, and maybe McDuffie had already claimed Deathlok. But with public interest in human-machine boundaries on the rise, why not double-down?
This was my first "real-time" exposure to Gulacy, slightly predating the Legends of the Dark Knight run. I definitely immediately considered the art of a Higher Order than most of what was around. But I couldn't tell you shit about this story, and never considered revisiting it... didn't even remember that it was Moench and Gulacy!
Posted by: cullen | November 18, 2014 8:24 PM
Mako's mech looks like it was inspired by the Officer's Battlepod from Robotech (or the Glaug from Macross, if you prefer the Japanese version).
Posted by: Mortificator | November 18, 2014 10:20 PM
"Do we really need another futuristic cyborg with a gun?"
The 90s will answer you with a resounding, "Yes we need them in all their shoulder-padded, leather-pouched, anatomically-implausible, phallic-shaped gun glory!"
Posted by: Jon Dubya | November 19, 2014 3:31 PM
Up until now, we had only seen the Deathlok from the future, right? And with his last appearance, he had been returned to his future, and hadn't shown up again for years. Now with the 90s actually upon them, maybe this was an attempt by the creators to make a Deathlok for the modern era, not knowing that soon Marvel would be making a literal Deathlok for the modern era.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | November 19, 2014 11:00 PM
You know Erik, I started going that way with my comment, but then decided to look it up and got so confused by all the time-traveling and multiple versions, I wasn't sure where 'original' Deathlok was at this point.
Considering that 1990's Deathlok was a prestige limited series with a high page-count that launched in the spring of 1990, it must've already been in the works while this story was being released.
Posted by: cullen | November 20, 2014 12:09 AM
The similarity was conspicuous to Deathlok readers right from the start of his 1991 ongoing: the letters page had lots of requests for a Coldblood appearance. I think some of those letters even came from the 1990 limited series.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 20, 2014 1:29 AM
@Cullen- it might have been in the works when this story was RELEASED but we have no way of knowing when this story was written. If it was written in early 1988, then it's possible the Deathlok series hadn't been approved yet.
Posted by: Michael | November 20, 2014 7:47 AM
cullen wrote: "I see your point about duplication of concepts with Deathlok, but it did seem like popular culture was developing an appetite for cyborgs. 1987's Robocop would see a sequel )and a Marvel series) in 1990. Terminator 2 soon followed. It's possible this is what Moench and Gulacy wanted to work on, and maybe McDuffie had already claimed Deathlok. But with public interest in human-machine boundaries on the rise, why not double-down?"
Also the Jean-Claude van Damme movie "Cyborg" came out in 1989. ;)
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | November 20, 2014 12:57 PM
The running dialogue between person and computer is what makes Coldblood and Deathlok seem so much more similar to me than the other examples.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 20, 2014 1:36 PM
I don't think this was written in early 1988--when MCPresents was previewed in Amazing Heroes #140, Moench's first serial after MOKF was listed as an 8-part Moon Knight story with art by Kevin Nowlan(I have no idea if that ever happened). Other future serials mentioned were Tomb of Dracula by Wolfman/Colan(which I think became the prestige format miniseries) and a "pulp" Copperhead story by Len Kaminski.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 22, 2014 3:00 PM
You're right, Mark. I found an article that might shed some light on this:
Posted by: Michael | November 22, 2014 3:44 PM
In Amazing Heroes #159(2/89)Paul Gulacy states that this did indeed start as a Deathlok serial. Gulacy decided to update and redesign him, but Marvel supposedly felt that this conflicted with their further plans for Deathlok, so Gulacy's redesign was retitled Coldblood. No legal problem with Luther Manning was mentioned. He also stated that his next MCP serial was Shanna the She-Devil(written by Gerard Jones), but I don't know if that happened.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 1, 2015 2:15 PM
The Jones-Gulacy Shanna serial was published in Marvel Comics Presents 68-77.
Posted by: Michael | February 1, 2015 2:46 PM
As with Cullen, MCP was my first real-time exposure to Paul Gulacy's artwork. At the time I really enjoyed the Coldblood serial. Within the last several years, once the original Deathlok stories by Rich Buckler were finally reprinted, I finally came to realize how much Moench & Gulacy owed to it. And, of course, Moench had even scripted the first few chapters of Bucker's Deathlok.
In any case, even though it isn't especially original I still do like Coldblood. Between that serial and the Shanna the She-Devil one that appeared a year or two later, I became a huge fan of Gulacy's work. I also enjoyed Moench's work on various Batman stories in the 1990s, especially the stories he did with Golacy, as well as his lengthy run paired with Kelley Jones & John Beatty.
I just wish Marvel could finally come to an agreement with the estate of Sax Rohmer so that we could finally see the Moench & Gulacy issues of Master of Kung Fu receive a collected edition!
Posted by: Ben Herman | July 26, 2015 1:47 PM
The Maze_the post-apocalyptic atmosphere_the training bots.....isn't that a prototype for The Maze Runner series ??
Posted by: El Mo7a | June 22, 2016 6:38 AM
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