Review: Astonishing Tales #32

Astonishing Tales #32 cover
Cover by Rich Buckler and Dan Adkins

Astonishing Tales #32
Published and © by Marvel, November 1975

Title: “The Man Who Sold the World!”
Synopsis: Deathlok battles human drones in abandoned subway tunnels while Mike Travers frees Nina from Maj. Ryker.

Writer (plot): Rich Buckler
Writers (script): Buckler and Bill Mantlo
Artists: Buckler, Keith Pollard, Bob McLeod and “the whole blame Bullpen”

Review: While Deathlok remains primarily Rich Buckler’s baby, this series’ revolving door of creative talent continues with this issue. Surprisingly, the feature has still found a fairly consistent groove despite so many writers and artists dropping by to lend a creative hand. The bigger concern for Deathlok is the pervasive sense of idling that’s settled in. Seemingly every month, Deathlok wanders through a dilapidated city – sometimes hunting, sometimes being hunted – in a vague quest to restore his humanity. Meanwhile, Maj. Simon Ryker has a penchant for turning people into cyborgs but no clear end game. At least not yet.

Grade: B

Second opinion: “It seemed that Rich Buckler… had been playing catch-up on Deathlok almost from the very beginning.” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon: Expanded Edition,” 2021

Cool factor: There’s still potential here …
Not-so-cool factor: … but potential only gets you so far.

Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 9p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable: “An’ all he left me is a couple of stinkin’ dead cannibals.” – Deathlok, who didn’t even get a lousy T-shirt

Editor’s note: This review was written May 13, 2023.

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