Underrated Heroes and Villains – Day 21: Deathlok

Underrated Heroes and Villains – Day 21: Deathlok

If you haven't already, please check out Days 1 – 20 of

"Underrated Black Heroes and Villains"

previously posted on this website


I hope everyone out there has been enjoying my articles. I wish other people besides the ones that know me would comment…

Anyhoo, tonight I want to talk about Marvel Comics’ Deathlok.  With the Deathlok character coming to ABC’s

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

., I figured you would like to know a few things about his comic book counterpart.  Now, not many of you out there would know this, but there have been quite a few different Deathloks. The first Deathlok made his first appearance in Marvel Comics’

Astonishing Tales

Issue 25 (August 1974). But I’m not here to talk about that version of Deathlok. The real name of the one I’d really like to discuss is Professor Michael Collins, and he would make his appearance in Marvel Comics


miniseries, Issue 1 (1990).

Professor Collins grew up in




, where he had the perfect life: a loving wife and son, and what he thought was the ideal job as a computer programmer for the

Roxxon Oil cybernetics corporation, Cybertek. While throughout his career, Michael believed that the computer programs that he was writing for the motility of artificial limbs were being used for the handicapped, he was later horrified to learn that his work was being used for Project Deathlok.  Project Deathlok was designed to create the ultimate cybernetic killing machine. Michael immediately went to complain to his long-time friend and boss, Harlan Ryker, not knowing that Ryker was actually the one in charge of Project Deathlok. Ultimately, Ryker betrays Michael when he shoots Michael  with


When he awoke, Michael found his perfect world turned upside-down.  In addition, he realized his brain was removed from his body and implanted in the body of a Deathlok. While on a test mission, Michael, who was unable to control himself, watched helplessly in horror as his new body killed several soldiers.

Though his body was powerless over the Deathlok programming, Collins was able to will himself not to kill an innocent child by inserting a no-kill order into the program.  Fortunately, the robotic half of Michael’s brain would listen to him as long as it was able to complete its mission objective.

 Michael, now one with the Deathlok but in total control, sets out to complete his own mission of finding Ryker and making him pay. Michael would eventually track down Ryker while he was brokering an illegal arms deal with a private army. After stopping the deal, Michael would turn Ryker over to the authorities, but not before Ryker could tell him that his human body was still alive in existence somewhere. If he could find it, Ryker said, the doctor would perform the operation that would restore his full humanity.   

On his new quest, Michael would meet several important figures.  He first meets Misty Knight while helping her rescue other missing cyborgs.  Ultimately, he hires her to watch his family while he is away on his mission.  Michael encounters other heroes as well as villains along the way.  He helped Spider-man during the Maximum Carnage incident, protecting the people of

New York

from the mass-murdering villain, Carnage.

Michael would be invited to Wakanda, a freedom nation, by the Black Panthers to investigate a computer hacker who broke into the Wakandan computer data systems. On this mission, Michael would take his family with him (they had, of course, found out what happened to him at this time). During their visit, Wakanda is attacked by Moses Magnum, who sought the throne of Wakanda and control of the Vibranium mines for himself. At first, Michael would not participate in the battle; but after seeing a boy who he thought was his son die, Michael would take the battle to Moses himself, almost defeating Magnum’s Terrordrones by himself.

Somewhere down the line during the Beyond! Event, Michael, along with other heroes, would be taken to new Battleworld by the cosmic being Stranger, who was masquerading as the Beyonder. There they would battle the Dragon Man, and the Space Phantom who was disguised as Spider-man. During this event, we would learn that Michael now has the ability to

morph in to his human form. He decides to stay on the planet so that the other heroes can return home. He is soon

rescued by the hero Gravity, but Gravity sacrifices his life so that Michael can return home.  In gratitude, Michael would make sure that Gravity had a hero’s funeral.  Michael was not seen again after this event.  His current whereabouts are unknown.

Deathlok possesses a variety of superhuman abilities because of his cybernetics. He has an extensive knowledge of hand-to-hand combat as well as conventional and technologically advanced firearms. He carries a plasma pistol which draws its energy from his internal power source. The pistol can only be fired if it comes intocontact with the outlets in Deathlok's hand. Deathlok also possesses a collapsible plasma rifle capable of greater firepower with the same limitations, a supply of fragmentation plasma grenades, and a molybdenum steel knife. He wears a wrist bracelet that allows Deathlok to override similar cybernetic operating systems, and an adamantium/vibranium alloy shock-dampening helmet. He sometimes uses a refitted Cybertek Dragonfly fighter with a range of several hundred miles.  So as you can see, Deathlok is a pretty impressive character.  I just hope

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does Deathlok the justice he deserves.

If you want to read up on Deathlok’s adventures, you can pick up Issue 34 of the


series. See you here again tomorrow. Remember to check out our weekly Geek Brew podcast, which you can now download through iTunes, and you can listen to us on Stitcher. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and the Tumblr.  Also check out http://thegeekbrew.spreadshirt.com/ for all your Geek Brew merchandise. And check out the Geek Brew website at


for articles like this and more.

Here is tonight’s question:

How did superhero Captain Mar-Vell die?