Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Joe Casey Comics: Deathlok #4

[Posts in this series are put up Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.]

Eric Cante provides the art in this issue and it vastly different from Leonardo Manco. Manco has a very fluid, almost sketchy style--while Cante draws very rigid and jagged--Cante draws like math is what I've said before. And he does. Eric Cante draws like math.

The change in art works for this issue as our star, Jack Truman/"Deathlok" doesn't appear. No, this issue is devoted to Nick Fury deciding whether the LOK prototype should be repaired or Truman should be allowed to die while he still has some human dignity. It also gives us a good look at the Clown as he kills people, steals TVs and fights robot repo men.

Casey does some interesting things with the Clown. A girl he used to see, a stripper, was injured in Vegas during the LOK prototype's rampage in the previous three issues. Now, this would normally make us think that the Clown is being set up as the main antagonist for Truman with a personal grudge against him. As does the killing spree of robot repo men, showing that the Clown has the abilities to take on not just one robot but many. Casey knows what our expectations are and plays with them. Here, he plays into them, creating hope for the ultimate showdown between a demented clown, who represents pure emotion and humanity, and a roboto, who represents (theoretically) reason and technology. Except, the robot is also really human and the Clown actually has no fucking idea who he is.

Nick Fury decides to let the Extechop people do what they will with the LOK prototype and Truman. Which we knew would happen as this is issue four and the main character isn't going to be killed off here. Although, I wouldn't put it past Casey.

This issue also showcases a trend in Casey's work: the issue(s) where the main character doesn't appear. Casey likes to highlight supporting characters a lot, often arguing they're just as important as the primary, title character. He likes to remind us that the protagonist is actually part of a bigger world where people either don't know him/her or see him/her as a minor character in someone else's story. We get a day for Nick Fury where he has to decide the fate of an agent under his command--NOT the fate of the starring character in the Marvel comic book series Deathlok volume 3. The Clown doesn't even know Truman and has only a sideways connection to the LOK prototype.

Cante's art works here because we're looking at the same world and characters, but from a different perspective. Leonardo Manco draws a comic where Jack Truman is the star and, here, Jack Truman is something discussed directly and indirectly--he's an object, a means, a topic of discussion--he is not the star.

Or, it could just be that Manco couldn't do the issue because of time constraints. But I like my explanation more. Although, since Eric Cante draws like math, you would think HE would handle the issues with the lead robot character, no? Something to ponder.