Comic Book Spotlight of the Day: Deathlok vol. 1, issue #1 – July 1991 (Marvel Comics)

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TITLE: Deathlok vol. 1, issue #1

YEAR: July 1991

COMPANY: Marvel Comics

Writer: Dwayne McDuffie/Gregory Wright

Penciler: Denys Cowan

Inker: Mike Manley

Colorist: Gregory Wright

Letterer:  Ken Lopez

Editor: Tom Brenoort

Executive Editor: Bob Budansky

Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Before Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan would go on to create the Milestone Universe for DC Comics imprint, Milestone Comics, two years prior, they would create a comic book series featuring a heroic cyborg, Deathlok.

A character created by Rich Buckler and Doug Moench, first appearing in “Astonishing Tales” as Deathlok the Demolisher in August 1974, there is no doubt that Dwayne McDuffie, Gregory Wright and Denys Cowan’s Deathlok, brought this character from obscurity and making him one of the coolest characters in the Marvel Universe.

But unfortunately, the “Deathlok” that some may have read may not be the same person as Marvel Comics kept introducing a new Deathlok and from what I have read, that’s still going on today with another person as Deathlok and for that, with no consistency with a character to live up to the Deathlok name and stay with it, why bother even supporting a character that never finds its groove because the premise behind the character keeps changing?

My first time reading the character was in the pages of “Marvel Team-Up” and “Marvel Two-in-One” but my favorite would be the third, which featured Professor Michael Collins as Deathlok.

The story features Deathlok breaking into a Roxxon Warehouse, and a wolf like creature is being controlled by Harlan Ryker.

For those not familiar with Harlan Ryker, he is the cp-head of the CIA’s Deathlok program developing a weapon for the US Army.

In the first issue, Harlan Ryker is being arrested and sent to prison, while a monstrous wolf  with cyborg implants is running around the city.

Deathlok meanwhile is watching his wife and son and he goes into his story about how he was Professor Michael Collins, who was working for the Roxxon Oil cybernetics corporation Cybertek.  Developing for the Deathlok program, when he found out that he was working on a cyborg killing machine, he tried to contact his boss Harlan Ryker, and Ryker ends up shooting him and taking Collins brain and transplanting it into the body of the Deathlok Cyborg (once occupied by Deathlok #2, John Kelly).

And as Deathlok was going to be used as a killing machine, Cybertek is not aware that Collins regained consciousness and was able to stop the cyborg programming and take control.

With Michael Collins thought of as dead, all he can do, now as Deathlok is watch his wife and son from afar.  And wanting revenge against Harlan Ryker.

But because he installed a “no-killing parameter” into Deathlok’s programming, to override certain programming, he must present his orders in a way to fulfill his mission and save lives and prevent innocents from being killed.

And while Deathlok is after Ryker, he must first stop one of the early Cybertek creations, a wolf with cybernetic implants that is trying to destroy a laboratory where top secret files are being kept.

Overall, McDuffie, Wright, Cowan and team did a great job with the first issue.  I am a fan of Deathlok and even had the first Marvel action figures of the character and also the Marvel Legends figure and felt it was one of the most underrated characters in the Marvel Universe.  McDuffie and team brought this character out of obscurity and for the most part, definitely one of the highlights of the very early ’90s from Marvel Comics.


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