Astonishing Tales #28
Published and © by Marvel, February 1975
Title: “Five to One, Deathlok … One in Five … No One Here Gets Out Alive!”
Synopsis: Unable to commit suicide, Deathlok finds himself back on the run from Maj. Simon Ryker’s forces.
Writer: Rich Buckler
Review: With this issue, Rich Buckler fully graduates to being an auteur creator, handling concept, script and art. The writing is definitely a step up from the previous issue, with sharp internal banter between Deathlok and his onboard computer. But it’s Buckler’s visual storytelling that really shines. Again, not everything works, but Buckler’s commitment to innovation is palpable: cinematic page design, varying panel rules, even sideways pages. His rendering remains a bit rough but there are some striking individual images. This series is a bit of a diamond in the rough, but is unquestionably an early Bronze-Age gem.
Cool factor: Rich Buckler’s Deathlok taps the era’s antiwar sentiment quit well.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 8p 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) #84 (Doctor Doom).
Character quotable: “Now I can’t record the ecstatic, synaptic sensations of your violence! But no matter … .” – Maj. Simon Ryker, who likes to watch
A word from the writer/artist/co-creator: “In one early scene, I have Deathlok tear off the American flag patch from his chest and throw it on the ground (a daring visual for the time, but completely necessary) since he had to reject the military – which is also a form of “mind – as he continued to quest to somehow regain his humanity.” – Rich Bucker, from the “The Origins of Deathlok” introduction in “Marvel Masterworks: Deathlok Vol. 1,” 2009
Editor’s note: This review was written March 14, 2023.