In “Original Sins” #1, writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Mike Perkins introduced readers to Henry Hayes, a man who has no idea that he’s one of the most dangerous killing machines in the Marvel Universe. Hayes’ lethality stems from the fact that he’s the latest man to be transformed into the cyborg super soldier known as Deathlok, and his ignorance comes from the fact that he’s effectively a sleeper assassin; his cybernetics only come out when his secret masters desire it, and when they do a computerized brain takes control of his body.
The short story in “Original Sins” #1 showed what happened when an unfortunate S.H.I.E.L.D. agent uncovered Henry’s secret, but it also raised larger questions about how do Henry’s dual lives as assassin and caring father co-exist. And what of Michael Collins, the previous Deathlok cyborg? The ramifications of a cutting edge sleeper cyborg super soldier being awoken int he Marvel U will be explored in a new “Deathlok” ongoing series by Edmondson and Perkins. CBR spoke with Edmondson about the ongoing adventures of Henry Hayes, the many questions raised by the “Original Sins” story and what it’s like working with Deathlok super fan Perkins on the new series.
CBR News: “Original Sins” #1 introduced Henry Hayes, who believes he works for Doctors Without Borders, but is in fact a sleeper cyborg version of Deathlok. What inspired Henry’s creation? While I imagine exploring who Henry is and how he beam a Deathlok is the crux of the series, what do you want readers to know about the type of man Henry believes himself to be? Our first glimpse of him suggests he’s a hardworking former soldier and family man who really cares about helping other people. Does he see himself differently than perhaps we do?
Nathan Edmondson: That’s correct. Henry struggles to raise his daughter alone. He is dedicated to helping the wounded, the afflicted.
He has no idea he’s a one-man-army, an instrument of war and espionage.
Henry is the latest person to become a Deathlok, and in the “Original Sins” story you refer to another still living Deathlok, Michael Collins, which I imagine made a plenty of his fans curious about his current role in the Marvel U. Is what happened to Michael Collins part of the larger mystery of what happened to Henry? Are their fates intertwined, or will you just be cleaning up loose ends with Collins?
That’s a certainly a question that we will answer over time. All we can say at the moment is that Collins isn’t ignored in our story of Henry Hayes.
At the end of the “Original Sins” story Henry calls his daughter Aria and asks if she would like to have dinner with him. What can you tell us about her and the role she’ll play in the series?
We’ll meet her in issue #1. She’s a typical teenager in a lot of ways, rebellious, trying to find her identity. With no mom in the picture, she and her father both struggle, especially with him gone all the time. She’s more important to Henry than anything else in the world, but he has no idea about everything else that he’s involved in, so will his focus, his attention shift? Will his role as a father become more or less important as the Deathlok curtain is pulled back?
What else can you tell us about the cast of the ongoing “Deathlok” series? Who are some of the other characters we’ll meet right away?
We meet an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. A known villain, and another known hero…
What is your initial arc of “Deathlok” about? How much story time passes between the “Original Sins” short and “Deathlok” #1?
The “Original Sins” story is the introduction; we don’t put a timestamp on the two but I imagine a month or so passes between them. What happens in the “Original Sins” story will echo into the rest.
The first arc of “Deathlok” is all about the dichotomy between Henry and Deathlok — the two lives that will inevitably collide. We press the reader to consider who’s really a hero and a villain in the Marvel universe, because Deathlok seems to turn those notions right on their heads.
What can you tell us about the antagonists of your initial arc? What types of characters make the best adversaries for Deathlok?
Deathlok comes face to face with some heroes and villains in the field, but he also has S.H.I.E.L.D. looking into him, and a mysterious organization controlling him. As far as he knows, nothing’s wrong, but the Deathlok boat will get rocked, and suddenly everyone will be against him.
What types of stories are you interested in telling in this series moving forward? Will this story have a relatively narrow focus or will it play into the larger Marvel Universe? Any familiar characters or concepts we can look forward to early in your run, or are you more interest in adding new ideas to the Marvel U?
We’re interested in telling a story about control; about man versus machine in global and personal ways. All of this takes place in the Marvel world and Deathlok will prove an important element in Marvel’s global politics.
Artist Mike Perkins and colorist Andy Troy are joining you as the regular art team for “Deathlok.” Their enthusiasm and love for the character really showed through in the “Original Sins” short, so I imagine it must be exciting to have them back for the ongoing. What can readers expect from their work on this new series?
I think you can look to the “Original Sins” story to get an idea — preview pages are all over the internet, too. These guys are fantastic artists and on this project they are showing off the best work of their careers — which is no accident. Mike, when we started, sent crayon drawings of Deathlok he drew when he was a kid. He’s wanted this book since he first picked up a pencil, and that’s a special opportunity for me as a writer and for all our readers, because you’re going to see an unusually high level of passion in the work.
Finally you’ve hinted in previous interviews that some of the story threads you’re establishing with A.I.M. over in”Punisher” and some of the fallout from the upcoming “Punisher”/”Black Widow” crossover “Friend From Foe” would carry over into a third title you’re writing. Is “Deathlok” a book that fans of your other Marvel work will want to keep an eye on as well? Is “Deathlok” like those book in that you’ll be telling a long form story in it over the course of several arcs?
Yes to both!
This is a book for readers who have never touched a “Deathlok” comic before just as much as it is a book for the die-hard devotees. Don’t miss out!
Marvel’s new “Deathlok” ongoing series takes up the fight in October.