Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Joe Casey Comics: Deathlok #7

[Part 7 of an 11-part look at Joe Casey's Deathlok. Posts every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.]

Last issue, Jack Truman quit SHIELD and now he's in LA to visit his sister. Eric Cante again provides the art and, for some reason, Truman's narration is in a different caption box than usual. It is only seen this issue and seem more technological. I don't know why the change for this issue.

This issue deals mostly with Jack's attempt to be human again, hampered by the fact that he doesn't have much fake skin left and his sister wants nothing to do with him. The reader is supposed to think that Jack's problem is that he's a man trapped in a robot, but that's not really it. His problem is that he doesn't know what he wants in life, because he's spent so much time and effort being a SHIELD agent that that's all he knows. He's not estranged from his sister because he's a robot now--he's estranged from her because he hasn't seen her in a decade. Casey just uses the LOK part of the character as a convenient excuse to explore this idea here.

Jack also confronts a guy named Puffy at a party--which he is at as a favour to his sister as her friend needed a date--who turns out to be a former member of the Serpent Society (same with the woman). Puffy and Jack immediately fight in the grand, destructive style they're both used to, not knowing how to deal with one another otherwise. The woman, on the other hand, has put her past behind her and is able to move on, providing an example for Jack (and Puffy).

The real question of the issue: how do you go back to being a normal human after a life of excitement and superheroics (and SHIELD agents are practically superheroes in the MU). Casey explores this idea more in Codeflesh and Wildcats.

In the end, Jack's sister wants nothing to do with him and he's off to try and find a life for himself. He doesn't--at least, not yet.


Alright, I wrote the above last Thursday or Friday. I was trying to get all of my posts for the next couple of weeks (or, at the very least, my Deathlok posts) done before coming back to London as I didn't want to bring all of these comics with me. But, this was the final post I wrote in Windsor, so we can all see what sort of work ethic I've got going for me. Just wanted to add a few things about this issue--and I know, most people would have just added them without saying something, but I like to distinguish between times I've worked on things like this.

I've been thinking about the men and women in this issue, and how the men fight, while the women... don't. Or, is it a divide between physical violence and emotional violence? Jack and his sister are violent with one another, but not in a physical way. Jack emotionally hurt his sister in the past and visiting her does so again by reminding her of the past pain. She responds by kicking him out and telling him that they're not family anymore. Whereas, Jack and Puffy just hit each other.

As well, there's a connection drawn between the two couples: Black Mamba and Puffy, and Jack and his sister. Both couples have shared pasts that they're trying to ignore and transcend, but only the first couple is doing so together, using one another for support. In fact, BM and Puffy are more of a family to one another than Jack and his sister are--is Casey commenting on the idea that biological family can mean less than created families? I know I feel closer to some friends than I do some members of my family--and I'm sure the same is true for most people, especially those in groups with lots of danger and violence like a supervillain group or a superhero team. This leads into Casey's hints at the dynamic of the $tranger$ in Automatic Kafka as one of a dysfunctional family (building on Morrison's Doom Patrol as therapy group).

On Thursday, we begin the final four issues and the last story of the series.