Thursday, 25 July 2013

Death's Head: Volume 2

When I was about ten or eleven, Death's Head was about as cool as it got.  He started off life as a robotic bounty hun.....wait, no - freelance peacekeeping operative - in the wonderful Transformers comic of the time.  Before Michael Bay ruined everything.  He wasn't a Transformer himself and so was gloriously amoral in the manichean world of Autobots and Decepticons.  He had a shiny metal tusked skull for a face, an array of medieval weapons instead of a right hand, and a bizarre speech pattern possibly modelled on the Australian interrogative intonation, yes?  Death's Head was a total badass and I loved him.

Perhaps predictably this collection is a big disappointment.  And I can't really blame the rose tinted spectacles of nostalgia, because Death's Head still rocks hard when portrayed by his Transformers co-creators Geoff Senior and Simon Furman.  But in too many of the stories here, he's been shoehorned in as a unwelcome and pointless special guest.  I rather liked his first non-Transformers appearance, which was with Doctor Who.  He's a Marvel UK creation, so it keeps the British thing going, plus it's such an unlikely combination it kind of works.  But She Hulk?  The Fantastic Four?  Iron Man of 2020?  You can feel a once beloved antihero become increasingly pointless as this volume progresses.  It's also a sad reflection on the state of Marvel in the 90s.  These comics for the most part are pretty damn shoddy.

Obviously, he's been killed off and brought back several times, but no-one really cares any more.  Back in the day this robot was a legend.  He killed Shockwave for heaven's sake - possibly the single coolest Transformer ever.  In his defence he was being mind controlled at the time, which meant he wasn't even paid.  Bad for business, yes?

Here's an amusing rundown of his various adventures for the very geekiest among you

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