Thursday, December 20, 2007

Joe Casey Comics: Deathlok #8

[Yet another post in my look at Joe Casey's Deathlok. New posts Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.]

The beginning of the end, folks. The word has come down and Deathlok is just not popular with people. I hate you people. You rarely buy the comics I love and then they get cancelled. What's up with that? Do we just differ on what a good comic is? It's kind of annoying, you know.


The issue begins with Jack Truman sitting in a bar (and, the song "The Bar is a Beautiful Place" by Ryan Adams just came on and it is so the beginning of this issue--if you know the song, you'll no doubt agree) and he's doing that old "I'm trying to be a new person now, so I'm going to do nothing at all because that's the same fucking thing" routine. Luckily, Dum Dum Dugan shows up to give him an assignment: find Nick Fury. Truman isn't enthused, but we all know he's going to do it, so let's keep moving.

Big reveal time: Martin Thraller, the man running for the Utilitarian Party's presidential nomination is really... Maynard Tiboldt aka the Ringmaster. He's using his power of hypnosis to make himself president and is a perfect example of Casey's style--he takes a pretty retarded character, applies a little logic and presto, we have a lame-o supervillain running for president. You can see the roots Agent Wax from Casey's Wildcats work. The scene here with Thraller and his secretary is pretty much replayed in the latter work. Casey recognises one fundamental truth about men: if they had the power to make women have sex with them, you bet your ass they would use it (oh, don't look so surprised).

Apparently, there's a new guy stirring things up in the criminal world and guess who that is. Sure, the cliffhanger at the end of the issue is that it's Fury, but who didn't see that coming? Truman infiltrates Fury's group, while the Clown has been hired to kill him. If you'll remember, the last time we saw Fury, Thraller had hypnotised him and this is where he ended up.

The issue of mental control plays heavily in these final issues. Now, the fact that Thraller is a politician says something about the way they play and pander to crowds, influence people and, ultimately, gain control. They manipulate people into believing in and following them--and shouldn't we pay more attention to that sort of thing? It's scary to see how much people identify with politicians; I've seen huge screaming matches over personal opinions of politicians--not politics, POLITICIANS. Casey uses Thraller to show just how messed up the system is as Thraller is supposed to represent this third party, which is supposed to be built on specific ideas not dealt with by the other two. Except he is really in it for the personal power and glory, which he himself gets, not his ideas. He hypnotises people into following him--he can say whatever he wants. It is the cult of personality in an area where it should be about ideas, opinions and what is best for the country. Casey loves to mix these fictional power bases (superpowers) with the real power bases (politics, corporations, the media) and use the former to comment on the latter.

Until next time.