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Deathlok #5 (of 8)

Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010
By: Paul Brian McCoy

Charlie Huston
Lan Medina
Marvel Comics/Knights
Editor's Note: Deathlok #5 arrives in stores tomorrow, March 17.

"Chapter 5: To Rescue From Monsters"

So last issue's nanoviral assault seems to have Deathlok down for the count, but our boy's still got a trick or two up his sleeve.

This book continues to frustrate the hell out of me. I want to like it so badly, but there's just something about the pacing and the storytelling style that put me off. I'm not really digging the sequences going on inside of Deathlok's head as Manning and Travers continue to bicker and fight fantastic monsters that represent the actual physical threats Deathlok is facing.

I can't really see why Travers is there at all. His inclusion seems to be an unnecessary complication that only distances this iteration of Deathlok from the original source material. He only really provides another voice for Manning to interact with, and so far hasn't added anything to the mix.

I'd much prefer to see the original idea of the tortured human mind linked to the machine. It worked well back in 1974 and would work just as well now.

This issue we also get updatings of the classic characters Godwulf and General Ryker. Of course, we've seen Ryker already, and last issue he turned up in Hellinger's lab as a cyborg assassin. This month he goes head to head with Deathlok, and while the conflict is amusing and visceral, it also serves to demonstrate just how far this version has fallen from the source.

There just doesn't seem to be any depth to any of the characters.

Even Godwulf, the underground leader of a rebellion that really doesn't seem like much of a threat, is reduced to a walking cliché. He brings nothing to the story other than an empty reference back to the original story. There's just nothing to him. Or to anyone really.

The plot is all surface with no meaning outside of a simplistic good vs. evil / people vs. corporation conflict. It has taken a character that effectively explored existential concepts of self, duty, life, death, patriotism, and the use of violence, and turned it into a video game.

That's the ultimate failing of this series.

The story's just not very good.

The art, on the other hand, is amazing. Lan Medina is providing fantastic amounts of detail in both the settings and the character designs. The people all have a weight to them, and their expressions help to tell the story as much as the words do. Moreso, sometimes.

This is just a gorgeous book. And by gorgeous, I mean filled with bloody gore, clean sequential narrative, and sci-fi imagination. I only wish that the story lived up to the visuals.







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