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Old 2013-09-29, 07:43 PM   #1
inflatable dalek
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Smile Slightly OT, But Nick Roche is Doing Death's Head. / Marvel Legends Death's Head figure previewed

Read about via Chris McFeely on Facebook:

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/09/...medium=twitter

Good news: The Roche is drawing a Death's Head one-shot.

Bad (or at least Badish): It's Death's Head II and they're letting Andy "Heart of Darkness" Lanning loose on it.

Apparently it's part of a special event bringing back all the '90's characters that destroyed Marvel UK. Hmm.
 
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Old 2013-09-29, 08:33 PM   #2
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I think I discovered death's head too late. His weird talking style and the way Furman really unsubtly shoehorned him in was just irritating to me.
Then again this is Death's Head II who I know even less about. I'll probably pick it up to support Roche.
 

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Old 2013-09-29, 09:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Summerhayes View Post
Then again this is Death's Head II who I know even less about.
Nineties Wolverine but a roboty-cyborg thing. There we go, now you know everything about Death's Head II.

The original was a decent guest star in TF and other stuff but the concept was worn out long before his solo series was cancelled, especially as the first thing they did was make him less of a complete bastard. Basically the first thing he did was kill Bumblebee, later on he's teaming up with the Fantastic 4. But he's still EDGY because he does something heroic and says "Hope heroism not catching, pays badly, yes?" which still makes him, like, a complete EDGY badass.

Y'know, like nineties Wolverine, who always did what he was ****ing told but just bitched about it.
 
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Old 2013-09-30, 06:45 AM   #4
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I think its a bit disingenuous to blame the fall of Marvel UK on its roster of characters. The collapse came about due to the company suddenly mushrooming its production beyond its capabilities in 1993, coupled with Marvel having trouble after the speculator bubble burst in 1994 which saw them pull the plug and ultimately sell the UK wing to Pannini.

The original launch characters of Hell's Angel, Knights of Pendragon II, Death's Head II were all strong sellers running to 16 issues a piece before the plug was pulled. Warheads was cancelled at # 15 and suceeded by a 2 issue limited series Black Dawn and was to be survived by a DHII team - up Loose Cannons, which was to be fully painted. Motormouth lasted 12 issues and is the only other Marvel UK character aside from the original Death's Head to manage an appearance in an American Marvel book outside her own UK book (all of which rather made a nonsense of UK editors cramming in the X-Men into all Marvel UK books to "mainstream" them - the 'guest star' idea becoming a one-sided arrangement to the detriment of the UK books as far too many pages were given over to US guest stars).

A lot of the second year output of the 'Genesis' relaunch was pretty poor. Whilst Cyberspace 3000 and Wild Thing were good, there was a lot derivative sub-Image crap like Gun Runner, Die-Cut and Super Soldiers with silly over-muscled men running around with big guns. A small beacon of quality could be found in the Marvel UK's actually very good Frontier imprint - which mined the sort of mature readers territory the company were tapping into prior to Paul Neary's arrival.


Whilst I will agree that Lanning's IDW Transformers work was pretty piss poor, both he and Dan Abnett had a celebrated run on Marvel's cosmic characters and both of these writers, along with Revolutionary War co-conspiritor Alan Cowsill, largely cut their teeth at Marvel UK. Lanning's co-writing duties with Abnett even back then turned out some of the better Death's Head II material in the shape of the two Battletide mini-series.

I remain optimistic that this will be a decent little outing for the characters, following a bit of cheer leading by Paul Cornell in the short-lived Captain Britain and MI13 which briefly featured some of the above characters, as well as Kieron Gillen's championing of the original Death's Head in S.W.O.R.D and Iron Man.


I disagree with Cliffy's snippy comments about the original Death's Head. The original character has proved he has a resonance and longevity that the other M:UK characters haven't had. In terms of his own comic book, it delivered a decent slab of 2000AD-lite adventures in much the same way as Dragon's Claws. Where others may see decay, I saw an attempt to flesh out the character and show more of him. The team up with the Fantastic Four was largely played for laughs and worked well - in much the same way Spider-Man does when mixed with The Punisher or Ghost Rider (1990s version). I never saw much of the bastardry that Cliffy mentions, more just a cold, clinical way of getting the job done which was carried over to his own book. I think great things were hoped for of Death's Head, perhaps in no part due to Walt Simonson's interest (then writing/ drawing FF for Marvel US) which got the character a foot in the door abroad and helped raise the UK arm's profile a little.


@ Summerhayes
Death's Head II was a cyborg built by AIM scientist Dr Evelyn Necker in 2020 to save the company from an unseen catastrophe that wipes the firm and all its staff out. This construct was dubbed Minion and was sent to through time to scavenge the powers and abilities of 106 individuals (think Sylar from heroes). Issue 105 on that list was Death's Head, the only mechanoid on that list. Besting and defeating Death's Head, the cyborg went rogue but its original programming managed to reascert itself and it went after the final target : Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. Dr Necker persued the cyborg, saving Richards whom managed to bring Death's Head's personality to the fore. Death's Head II then time jumped at random, ending up on the planet Lionheart where he met Tuck, a replicated organic whom became Death's Head's new partner.

After a cracking limited series, which took its queues from the big films of the time (T2 and Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves), the ongoing struggled to find direction and purpose for the character. After signature artist Liam Sharp left at #4 of the ongoing, folk started to realise that cool visuals and witty one-liners weren't enough to maintain interest in the character, as borne out in a very critical letters page in #10. An adventure on Mars in issues 12 - 14 started to inject a bit of direction (and also introduced the world to artist Salvador Larroca), and Liam Sharp returned with the marvellous Death's Head II : Gold, but this came late in the day and at a time that Marvel US were about to pull the plug.

Despite all the Marvel UK books disappearing by May 1994, US Marvel titles continued to offer subscriptions for Hell's Angel and Death's Head II which suggests there was some interest in keeping the most popular titles going, but ultimately this never came to pass.
 
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Old 2013-09-30, 07:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
I think its a bit disingenuous to blame the fall of Marvel UK on its roster of characters. The collapse came about due to the company suddenly mushrooming its production beyond its capabilities in 1993, coupled with Marvel having trouble after the speculator bubble burst in 1994 which saw them pull the plug and ultimately sell the UK wing to Pannini.
Now that's just mean, using facts to disprove my inaccurate opinions. BOO! My thoughts were mainly based on the "Complete history of Doctor Who Magazine" that... well Doctor Who Magazine did, where the then head of Marvel UK did blame the collapse on characters being a bit shit. Though, I suppose it's easier to blame fictional people than real ones.

Quote:
I remain optimistic that this will be a decent little outing for the characters, following a bit of cheer leading by Paul Cornell in the short-lived Captain Britain and MI13 which briefly featured some of the above characters, as well as Kieron Gillen's championing of the original Death's Head in S.W.O.R.D and Iron Man.
If nothing else it'll look great (and Roche is more that a worthy Senior successor, even if I think he strong sharp lines would benefit the original DH more), and I'll definitely be picking it up.


Quote:
I disagree with Cliffy's snippy comments about the original Death's Head. The original character has proved he has a resonance and longevity that the other M:UK characters haven't had. In terms of his own comic book, it delivered a decent slab of 2000AD-lite adventures in much the same way as Dragon's Claws. Where others may see decay, I saw an attempt to flesh out the character and show more of him.
I thought when reading the original DH and DC series that Death's Head was a much more interesting character than just about all of the Claws, but Dragon and company had the better stories. I think his own series suffered from his villains generally being no where near as interesting as he is.

Just for fun, the reviews I did a few years ago of the trades:

http://thecomicscode.weebly.com/deaths-head.html

http://thecomicscode.weebly.com/deaths-head-vol-2.html

http://thecomicscode.weebly.com/dragons-claw.html
 
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Old 2013-09-30, 08:25 AM   #6
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Yeah, Marvel UKs expansion in 1993 was wrought out of greed, more than anything else. I think thats why there's such a dip in quality amongst the original launch books during '93.

...I felt abandoning the 8162 setting of DH meant that stuff like the Undertaker never came to fruition, which was a shame. Even now, I still ponder what 'The Operation' was going to be...

I don't think M:UK's characters were shit at all (I'm sorry whomever wrote that DWM article thought that - although if he's talking about the later stuff I mentioned above, that's fair enough - something that was reflected in Overkill at the time IIRC, as it started running some of that guff). The concepts were sound, they just stood and fell depending on whom wrote them.

My brief thoughts on their key characters:

Warheads was an excellent team book and potentially the most interesting of the bunch, but Nick Vince never really had the characters properly question what they were doing - which was strongly hinted at towards the end of the run. He abandoned the book after #10 which left a succession of writers just filling -in. The stuff with Misha's voice was awful though, easily the weakest moment in the book after such a build up. Towards the end, Stuart Jennet's marvellously scratchy/ blocky Senior-lite work really helped rescue things.

Hell's Angel does read as a very 1990s book now, with all its new age waffle, but it benefitted from a strong central female lead and a writer in the shape of Bernie Jaye whom had a firm handle on the types of stories she wanted to tell.

Knights Of Pendragon II - this was easily the most disappointing book for me. After the frankly essential reading first volume, this just descended from mature readers ecology themes to generic superheroics. This really was what would happen if Americans tackled Arthurian myths, turning it into some dreadful Power Rangers nonsense. What's worse is that this was carried out by the co-writer of the original series! Should have fought editorial harder on this one. Not even John Royle's excellent artwork could save this for me - proved popular enough with the Yanks. Was dropped pretty swiftly from Overkill though after reader disinterest.

Motormouth - I loved this book. Basically, Marvel UK does Tank Girl. Sadly, her US format book was a waste and too much time was spent on the Nick Fury/ Mys-Tech sub-plot which didn't feature Motormouth at all! Nice art from Gary Frank and later, a lady called Rosie Mendoza. Andrew Cartmel wrote the final issue, sadly it was rubbish.

Digitek - superb painted series of Tron-tastic computer adventures in the pre-internet age with Digitek quaintly faxing himself places (!). Wore a very silly hat.


Looking forward to seeing Roche's work on this, although it would have been nice to see Liam Sharp return to the character he created and I hope Tuck features, as whatever else Abnett got wrong with DHII, she remains a triumph

I will read your reviews in a bit, Mr Dalek
 
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Old 2013-09-30, 08:37 AM   #7
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As i was reminded when glancing at my reviews in a not-at-all-masturbatory way Sharp actually did a pitch for an Ultimate Death's Head that was basically the II version, so he is presumably still interested in the character, perhaps busy/expensive? Or Roche just doing his cheeky sales pitch on Twitter at just the right moment?
 
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Old 2013-09-30, 07:10 PM   #8
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Don't think the UK characters were any more shite than most of Marvel's output, personally. Throwaway but mildly enjoyable.

Very much enjoyed MI-13 and S.W.O.R.D.

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/dhminion.htm

^I remembered things as being more conclusively wrapped up than that...
 
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Old 2013-09-30, 09:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
As i was reminded when glancing at my reviews in a not-at-all-masturbatory way Sharp actually did a pitch for an Ultimate Death's Head that was basically the II version, so he is presumably still interested in the character, perhaps busy/expensive? Or Roche just doing his cheeky sales pitch on Twitter at just the right moment?
Read your reviews Mr Dalek! I would agree that Dragon's Claws is the better book. makes you wonder how Death's Head would have worked out if he remained in 8162. Ah, the paths not taken.

If I'm honest, I found Panini's reproduction of the DH stuff a bit patchy. I was especially disappointed with the reproduction of 'The Body In Question' - the original printing is much more bright and vibrant than the murky end result we got here.

Also , the colour version of 'Crossroads Of Time' actually originates from a Marvel UK holiday special from sometime around 1989 that featured Alf, Ghostbusters and er, this particular Doctor Who strip, rather bizarrely. It was reprinted in this form in 'The Incomplete Death's Head' (which also states it was the Doctor whom stole Lupex's toy and dumped it on Scarvix).

Many moons ago, I actually managed to chat with Liam Sharp on the Millarworld forums (shameless name dropping, sorry) about his input to DHII. He left the ongoing series as he was dissatisfied with the scripts Dan Abnett was delivering. His vision for the character pretty much surfaced in DHII Gold (and was a much more interesting read than the ongoing). He remains very proud of his work on the character but after Marvel turned down his Ultimate pitch, he moved on.

Like Geoff Senior, Liam Sharp is another talented guy whom should have been massive but strangely didn't hit the big time. The last mainstream stuff I saw him on was some forgettable DC book. I think when I saw him at Thought Bubble back in 2008, he was promoting something based around some video-game tie-in or something, as well as his own creator owned stuff.

EDIT: Perhaps all this activity will convince Hasbro to pump out that Death's Head action figure they promised over a year ago. A Heroclix will not suffice!
 
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Old 2013-09-30, 10:25 PM   #10
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http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/09/...ar-in-january/

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?p...ticle&id=46899

Colour me interested.
 
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Old 2013-10-02, 10:31 PM   #11
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Some highly amusing DH2 stuf has turned up on the Marvel UK Facebook group, courtesy of Tim Quinn, including this gem:


 

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Old 2013-10-03, 07:34 AM   #12
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That image is from the Lord Mayor's Parade in London c.1993. Some of the M:UK staffers dressed up as Marvel Superheroes for one of the floats. Oddly, DHII was the only UK character present (read into that what you will). Good costume, shame its based on Simon Coleby's rather ugly take on the character. I much preferred Liam Sharp's more armoured look.
 
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Old 2013-10-03, 08:30 AM   #13
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Is that a big parcel he's posting or is he just pleased to see me?
 
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Old 2013-10-03, 11:35 AM   #14
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I suspect he's just noticed Tuck, slightly out of shot
 

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Old 2013-10-03, 03:43 PM   #15
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Liam Sharp has just posted this fascinating little blog entry about DH2:

http://liamsharp.deviantart.com/jour...ocks-404269843
 

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Old 2013-10-03, 05:24 PM   #16
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Also nice to see the art "beneath" given that it suffered somewhat from the colouring processes of the time. All looks swish apart from that launch poster.
 
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Old 2013-10-03, 07:29 PM   #17
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I still have that poster!it was also given away free with #25 or 26 of overkill. I rather like it :-)
 
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Old 2013-10-03, 07:47 PM   #18
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Has the Furman/Senior pitch ever surfaced? Whilst he may not bare any anonymity towards Sharp (who after all, isn't the person who made the decison), Furman has always given the impression he's still miffed at what happened, it'd be interesting to know how it stands up next to what they chose to do instead. If nothing else, with Senior it should have looked good.

There is that degree of irony that Furman jumped through all those hoops to keep the character out of Hasbro's hands, only for Marvel to boot him off the character in the end.

Actually, as a point of curiosity, who counts as the creator of DH2? Is it still Senior and Furman or does he technically count as an entirely different character despite the name?
 
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Old 2013-10-03, 07:59 PM   #19
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I class death's head ii as a separate character. The differences are so pronounced that the only thing they have in common is the name.

Iirc,one of senior's preliminary sketches for the proposed new death's head mini can be found in the back pages of 'the life and times of death's head'.its basically a blue version of the body he sported in what if.
 
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Old 2013-10-04, 08:28 AM   #20
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In other Death's Head news:
Preview of Death's Head Heroclix figure
Last year Death's Head won a fan vote to be included in an upcoming set of the miniatures game. This would be the result.
 
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