Why is ToyBiz a better company than Mattel or Hasbro or any other big league competitor? Because they aren't afraid to plumb the depths of their libraries. Sure, we have to suffer through variation after variation of Wolverine and Spider-Man, but not in the numbers that Batman produces. Would any other company have ever made a high-quality figure of a chracter like Deathlok?
Luther Manning grew up in an alternate timeline in which Roxxon's Nth Command had succeeded in Operation: Purge, extradimensionally banishing the super heroes of Earth. Subsequent efforts by Roxxon to take over the world instead plunged it into chaos. Manning was a U.S. Army Colonel, wounded in combat and rebuilt by Harlan and Simon Ryker into a cyborg intended for their control. Now known as Deathlok, he broke free from them, eventually defeating Simon Ryker. Deathlok then met the rebel leader Godwulf, who sent him back in time to remove him from the notice of Harlan Ryker, now the powerful cyborg Hellinger.
If that was too confusing for you, here's what you need to know: he was alive, then dead, then stuck in a cyborg body until he woke up looking for revenge. Got it? Good enough.
Deathlok has always been one of Marvel's D-level heroes, falling somewhere behind Moon Knight and Darkhawk on the importance scale, but probably ahead of Sleepwalker. His heyday was in the '80s, when he was reimagined from his weird, time-travelling roots into something of an environmentalist underdog - of course, that was all the rage at the time, so he still didn't stand out.
ToyBiz executed the design well, sculpting all those crazy little technological details very well. His legs and right arm are banded metal, like Colossus', while his hands have the false tendons and knuckles of Dr. Doom.
His face is that of a decaying corpse. The yellowing remnants of his hair are visible on the right side of his head, while the left is metal, from crown down to jawbone. His mouth is open, revealing his grey-brown teeth. His left eye is a large red lens with a thin black crosshair.
Deathlok's costume, if you can call it that,
is predominantly red with a few yellow highlights. Rather than flat colors, ToyBiz opted to make them metallic, befitting this government android. He's got black shoulder pads and a big crazy backpack/power source thing. His only accessory is a gun that connects to his chest via a thick black tube. A peg in the palm of his right hand keeps the gun in place, and it can also attach to the side of the backpack, though not very well.
Deathlok is 6 3/8" tall and moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, gloves, wrists, fingers, chest, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, boots, ankles and toes. In addition to balljoints, his shoulders also pull out to the sides, though the range is a bit limited by his shoulder pads.
Unlike all the previous Marvel Legends,
Deathlok does not come with a detailed display base. Instead, each figure in ML Series 9 has a piece of Galactus - collect them all and assemble the big guy. D.lok gets his gigantic chest, which is sculpted well, but not over-detailed. There are big ridges running vertically through the purple sections, his blue harness looks layered and there's a large "G" sigil in the center of his chest. It's all nice, and Galactus is gonna look pretty cool once we assemble him.
Included with the figure is a reprint of issue three of some four-issue miniseries. A miniseries in which his name was Michael Collins, not Luther Manning. It doesn't really say much about Deathlok other than he's reset his internal computer to allow only non-lethal actions. I'd bet the only reason that we got a comic rather than a poster book is because they couldn't find 22 pages' worth of interesting pictures of him.
Deathlok is a character that definitely benefits from his place in ML9 - he might not sell too well on his own, but you can't build Galactus without his torso. A character this obscure might never have been made, if not for the benefit of the piece included with him.
What character do you care about less than Deathlok? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.