TITLE: Death’s Head II – Vol. 1, Issue 1
YEAR: March 1992
COMPANY: Marvel Comics UK
Story: Dan Abnett
Pencils: Liam Sharp
Inker: Andy Lanning and Bambos Georgiou
Colors: Helen Stone
Letters: Peri Godbold
Editor: Steve White
Editor-in-Chief: Paul Neary
Back in 1972, Marvel created the imprint, Marvel Comics UK.
Created to reprint US stories for the British weekly comic market, the imprint would go on to produce original material.
What many people probably don’t know is that one of the earlier editors for Marvel UK were Peter L. Skingley and Matt Softly, male names but in truth, were female editors Petra Skingley and Maureen Softly. They were replaced by Neil Tennant, best known in the ’80s for being the vocalist and member of the popular pop group, the Pet Shop Boys.
Unfortunately, Marvel Comics UK would only last through 1995 but the imprint did publish awesome original titles comics such and in 1988, one of the more entertaining comic books to come out were “Death’s Head”, a spin-off character from Marvel Comics UK’s “Transformers” (the company’s biggest selling comic book series) and both were written by Simon Furman.
But to make sure Hasbro didn’t get the rights to “Death’s Head”, a one-page strip titled “High Noon Tex” was created in various Marvel UK titles to establish Marvel’s ownership of the character.
By 1992, there were plans by editor Paul Neary to bring back Death’s Head but by creating a new character known as Death’s Head II.
In March 1992, the “Death’s Head II” mini-series was created and would feature the original Death’s Head being assigned to find a person and earn big money. When Death’s Head sees the person that he is looking for, a man named Tyler, he sees another bounty hunter known as Minion there and and sees it killing the man.
Upset that he was being denied of the kill that would net him money, Minion gives Death’s Head a warning that he would be next and disappears. When Minion goes back to HQ, it’s at the A.I.M. Central 2020 headquarters and reports to Doctor Necker.
The doctor notices that Minion has now downloaded and encoded the instincts of 103 individuals but also notices that he is also not listening to her and that he is starting to crack jokes which he is not programmed to do.
When Minion goes after another person on the list, Target #104 – Lehdrox, a alien woman named Phaedra who could see memories of the future tells calls Minion, “Death’s Head”.
Meanwhile, the original Death’s Head was able to track down Minion and the two fight to the death. And when Minion decapitates the original Death’s Head and goes to encode him, but something goes awry and we start to see Minon starting to exhibit Death’s Head’s mannerisms.
And this would lead us to Death’s Head II’s own series but also the 12-issue “The Incomplete Death’s Head” featuring a reprint of the original Death’s Head stories plus extra storyline featuring Minion a.k.a. Death’s Head II.
But I have to say that this first issue in the mini-series, it was not something I was expecting. The late ’80s for Marvel Comics UK was about Death’s Head and to see the character meeting it’s end in such a way, it was unexpected. But I have to admit…Death’s Head II was very cool!
And If it was not for “Death’s Head”, I don’t think I would have ever discovered Marvel Comics UK. I started with “Death’s Head” issue #2 and from the on started reading “Death’s Head II” and other series, which I was yearning for. Something new and different and I have to say, it’s one of the coolest Marvel characters that has been rarely utilized but when he has, even if it’s in small cameo appearances, you can’t help but become excited.
Let’s hope we see more of Death’s Head II or any of the other incarnation of Death’s Head in the near future!