“Dead Man Walking”
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Artist: Scott Kolins
Plot: Our abductees have a bitch of a time dealing with Dragon Man. They also aren’t buying what Deathlok’s selling. And what the heck is up with Spider-Corpse?
Comments: In this issue McDuffie gets further into his cast of characters, and while he doesn’t blow it, it’s not all that exciting. It’s just that this isn’t really a very likable crew. I was surprised to see Jan and Hank mention their time in London and yet another failed attempt at a reunion. I was content to place this as sort of an amorphous “lost” story that might have fit in anywhere in the past few years.
No, it’s current, and so then I want to know some more about the Inhuman/American military conflict (thought that tension in the background could explain Medusa’s bad attitude), and I want some more actual development on Jan and Hank before Bendis gets them back to mangle in Mighty Avengers next year.
Firebird shines this issue, and Kraven (the good Kraven? there is one?) gets more exposure. Gravity is the naïve innocent, the Hood the cynical lout. I forget already what they did to Venom, but helpfully Dragon Man has taken his place amongst misbegotten foes.
I won’t reveal the surprise attempted-infiltrator of their ranks this issue (though if you’ve checked out future covers you can guess), but when I saw him I cracked a big smile. McDuffie’s love and knowledge of the Marvel universe informs every page, and Deathlok looks amazing under Kolins quirky inks. The nanotech scene especially impresses, updating one of the original cyborgs to the present (though that big support system tank on his back seems a little retro still). This is a fun book, but this issue is very much a transitional one, staving off the big guns for later.
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