Thursday, October 20, 2016
Apocalyptic fiction comes in and out of fashion, and while it may be on an upswing now, it usually doesn't try to set a date for the apocalypse anymore. Well, this issue doesn't mention it either, but still: from 1975, Astonishing Tales #31, "Twice Removed from Yesterday..." Plot and layouts by Rich Buckler, script by Doug Moench, pencils by Keith Pollard, inks by Klaus Janson.
The cover blurb promises "The most savage Deathlok shocker of all!" And it over-promises more than a bit. This was maybe Deathlok's sixth issue (Astonishing Tales #29 was a reprint of the debut of the Guardians of the Galaxy) and the cyborg finally catches up to his old friend, Mike Travers. Traditionally in this kind of story, old friends are statistically likely to betray the hero, and Mike has, to Deathlok's eyes: since Luther Manning had been declared dead five years ago, Mike married his widow six months back. Disraught, Deathlok punches Mike, and it's mildly surprising he didn't accidentally-on-purpose kill him.
Luther had been clinging to the hope that he could get his life back--which seems ridiculously optimistic, he was basically a corpse with some aftermarket upgrades--and while part of that may have been lost, he was still trying to find the surgeon that turned him into the cyborg Deathlok. Stumbling across a mob hit, he overhears them talking about the surgeon, and after a shootout, gets in an argument with his onboard computer about whether or not he can make a jump to an escaping helicopter. The rest of this issue was a Tales of the Watcher reprint, although the next-issue blurb promises a full-length Deathlok story next month. (Between this and the fill-in, I imagine there were deadline problems sometime there.)
Deathlok was set in the far-flung future...of 1990. While there have been a variety of other versions in recent years, Luther Manning appeared in All-New Invaders in 2014. None of which explains why Deathlok calls two different people "turkey" this issue; except that I guess that was a Comics Code-approved epithet then...