Monday, June 12, 2017

You get what you pay for, which in this case was nothing, yes?

Much as I love the silly robot, I don't exactly know why anyone would hire bounty hunter "freelance peacekeeping agent" Death's Head. While he's certainly on the higher-end of mercenaries, like Batroc or Deathstroke, like those two he's not going to be able to beat down your A-list hero types, yet still has just enough honor that if you're a big enough douche, there's every chance he'll turn on you. Or just drag his feet, as in today's book: 1993's Incomplete Death's Head #3, reprinting "Contractual Obligations" from 1988's Death's Head #2, written by Simon Furman, pencils by Bryan Hitch, inks by Dave Hine.

This issue, Death's Head has been hired to retrieve Scavenger, of the Brit merc team Dragon's Claws. (I know I've read a couple of that book, but I'm having trouble describing it: a Marvel UK book that feels more like a mid-tier 2000 AD piece, with mercenary violence as sportsball almost.) DH gasses him and legs it, since a previous fight with the Claws had left him without legs! He had been repaired, and this job was part of his payback, although only for maybe another twenty minutes or so: figure Death's Head had done the math on costs and labor for repairs, versus his usual billable hours...

His employer and Scavenger's captor, were part of the latter's origin: a maximum security prison had been built on a fault line, and largely sank in an earthquake. Many of the prisoners had survived, but the combined trauma of their imprisonment and the quake left them severely agoraphobic, unable to even leave the ruined prison. A young Scavenger had been one of the few who could leave and bring back supplies, until eventually he was trusted enough they took the explosives off him, and then he never came back. Scavenger had hoped by leaving, he'd force the inmates to face their fears and rejoin the world; but that didn't work out. Still, when the fighting breaks out, he manages to force the leader outside, and into a drooling, gibbering mess. Meanwhile, Death's Head's rematch with Dragon's Claws goes much better for him, even though his metal heart isn't in it, and although he has Dragon on the ropes, DH calls time a minute early and spares him out of respect.

O.G. Death's Head is obviously the best Death's Head; but I would love to write him as a robotic Dr. Who, prone to regenerating into similar but new versions. And he was a time-traveller as well--today's story took place in 8162--so you could always check in with the old ones. I'd need creator Simon Furman to sign off on DH III's regeneration scene, though!

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