Days of Deathlok's Future's Past's Moral Compass

"Tomorrow Dies Today" Part 5 in "Wolverine: Weapon X" #15 from Marvel Comics

(You should know up front, I haven't read Parts 1 through 3 of this story from "Wolverine: Weapon X" #11, 12, and 13.)

I avoided this story for a long time simply because it looked like just another excuse to have a bunch of superheroes do a dogpile on a bunch of killer robots... I wasn't entirely wrong but I wasn't entirely right either.

I only peeked at it because of Spider-Man's appearance on the cover, a sometimes accurate and sometimes entirely inaccurate promise of a guest-appearance in mainstream superhero comics, and was shocked to discover: not only is Spider-Man actually in the damn thing, it's also a comic intelligently using tropes of the superhero genre, sci-fi action time travel movies, and the history of several Marvel Comics characters to tell a probing story about the nature of humanity. I should have known better than to assume junk could come out of the mind and the pencils of the writer of "Scalped" and the penciler of "Amazing Spider-Man" #539, one of the better issues of a Spider-Man series in recent memory.

The character Deathlok, as I remember him from the 90s, was a cyborg who talked to himself. Not exactly brilliant-sounding stuff is it? As a cyborg he had an onboard computer, this computer had an A.I. which took care of all the needs of their shared body's mechanical parts. So there was always a bit of arguing between them. Whether Aaron was the first to utilize this dichotomy for revealing something about our own humanity is pretty immaterial as he has done it very well here. This new version of Deathlok is just one of a massive army of Deathloks, a mere drop in a sea of cyborgs. His mind belonged to a serial killer named Evan and his robot A.I. well... it makes some interesting choices for itself.

Jason Aaron and Ron Garney have crafted a good story of heartbreak, human deprivation, and finally redemption.

With a lot of superheroes.

And time travel.

~ @JonGorga

This Time, Overkill is One of the Good Guys...

My history with Incognito is pretty important, at least in terms of my development as a sophisticated reader of comics. When I picked up the second printing of the first issue a year and a half ago, I hadn't just been reading superhero stories (I had, in fact, only recently begun reading superhero comics again- before that, I mostly subsisted on Fables and DMZ) but there was something about it that caught my eye. I would like to believe it was the beautiful Sean Phillips cover, but it was probably the big bold block name BRUBAKER staring out at me from the front cover.

Whatever got me to open the book, though, was irrelevant once I got inside: the first mini was beautifully plotted and visually stunning. If had known anything worth knowing, this would have been no surprise: Brubaker/Phillips is perhaps the most consistently brilliant creative team out there and they work so well together that they may as well be considered to be one unit rather than two people working in unison.

This context, (a terrifying one, if you're a creator) made me as excited for their follow up as it made me nervous- it would have been hard to top that first mini, except that this team is just so damn good they always manage (somehow) to up the ante. Incognito: Bad Influences #1 is no exception.

The comic looks great, for one- Val Staples' flat, garish colors add a light to the stark world of Phillips' pages, and the whole package makes for one seriously pulpy comic. It's a self-referential book, and at points absurdly silly, but these are virtues rather than vices: Brubaker knows what he's doing, from the goofy supervillain stories at the beginning (stories featuring villains named Zhing Fu, the Asian Underlord and G.I. Gorilla, stories that I want to read, dammit!) all the way through to the slightly cliched reveal near the end and the revelation the concludes the serial, and what he's doing here is world-building.

The things that are going on here are bigger than Zack Overkill, and they're going to swallow him up whole. This is, I think, an almost perfect piece of serial storytelling, even if it is a little exposition heavy: it gets the reader up to speed, it fully illuminates the world which is being experienced and it has some fun stuff (did I mention Dark Leopold and his Nuclear Nazis?) that functions as a side to the heavy mystery and conspiracy stories that Brubaker does so well.

Yea, this is good comics, and I can't wait to see where it goes next.