If you are a Deathlok fan, be warned that Deathlok as you know and love him does not appear in this issue save for the next issue blurb. That said, the only ties this issue has to anything remotely related to Marvel is a few name-drops, such as: Roxxon, Rand, and Brand. It’s nice to see those old Marvel trademarks getting dusted off, but I wish it were for a better cause — or at the very least a more complete cause. I’m sure this issue has a purpose — like to show us how horrible the world is in the near (or not-so near) future — but it sure feels empty.
Huston’s story sets up a world that has nothing of interest for me. It feels like a rehashed story we’ve seen before — and we have seen this before, from television to movies to concept albums by Roger Waters — without any heart, soul, or ingenuity. If I’m supposed to give a rip about any of these characters, I sure can’t figure out who I should care about. Manning wavers between washed up and psychotic, his “rival” is a cardboard cutout of a character, and the narrators are simply annoying.
The action of this issue features the Brand Breakers and the Roxxon Rockers in some half-baked mash-up of a video game meets a late night TNT movie crossed over with a lethal version of American Gladiators sponsored by OPEC.
Expletives for the sake of expletives never really does much for me. In this instance, I understand Huston is trying to make this world as unapologetic as possible, but sometimes too much is simply too much. Likewise with the violence. I can understand showing dismemberments — to an extent — but to show the gore of a war zone — and to make it exceptionally more gory just because you can — is, again, just too much. I didn’t need to see Luther Manning stab somebody through the neck.
This title is not completely without merit. Medina’s art is solid. Unfortunately, it’s also filled with imagery that seems to exist just because it can. After all, when the grenade goes off at the end of the issue, what does the reader gain by seeing some random chick puke? I’d like to see Medina handle a tale that features a more classic take on Deathlok, but I can’t really evaluate his skills there as Deathlok, to this point of the series, has only appeared when drawn by Brandon Peterson.