Review: Astonishing Tales #26

Astonishing Tales #26
Cover by Rich Buckler

Astonishing Tales #26
Published and © by Marvel, October 1974

Title: “The Enemy: Us!”
Synopsis: Deathlok tries to rescue his best friend from the clutches of Maj. Simon Ryker, head of Project: Alpha-Mech.

Writers (plot): Rich Buckler and Doug Moench
Writer (script): Moench
Penciler: Buckler
Inker: Pablo Marcos

Review: Much like the contemporary Killraven serial over in Amazing Adventures (see reviews), Deathlok feels eager to break new ground. The series is tonally darker than much of the era’s mainstream fare, and focuses more on the character’s internal struggle. Scripter Doug Moench dips into the writer’s toolkit for techniques not yet common in comics, including multiple points of view and internal stream of consciousness. Moench’s efforts are matched by plotter/artist Rich Buckler’s storytelling, which is intentional and cinematic. Not everything works – the chronology is hard to follow – but it’s quite fun to see young creators pushing the envelope.

Grade: B+

Cool factor: Rich Buckler’s passion for this project is evident throughout.

Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 7p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant. … Beware, this issue contains a Marvel Value Stamp (Series A) #66 (General Ross).

Character quotable: “You’ve been reborn – almost like a baby. You’re naïve … You don’t understand what it is to be a cyborg.” – Mike Travers, future War-Wolf

Editor’s note: This review was written Jan. 24, 2023.

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