ABC‘s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to add more comic book characters. Marvel’s Head of Television, and Executive Producer for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Jeph Loeb, confirmed that the character of Deathlok will be appearing on the series. What’s more, he pointed out that the man under the Deathlok persona (which is actually a cyborg) has been with the show – on and off screen – from the premiere episode.
Deathlok will be the future of Mike Patterson’s (J. August Richards) ongoing evolution. Mike Patterson was introduced in the pilot episode, as a Project Centipede subject, later reintroduced as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and last seen recovering from severe injuries, but in enemy hands (and control).
Deathlok (aka Deathlok the Demolisher) first appeared in Astonishing Tales #25 (Aug. 1974), and was created by Rich Buckler and Doug Moench. At least three subsequent Marvel characters have used the “Deathlok” identity since then. A recurring theme among these characters is that a dead human has been reanimated with cybernetic technology. “Deathlok technology” has also been used thematically by Marvel writers in other stories.
One version of Deathlok’s mechanical and cybernetic physiology granted him several superhuman powers including superhuman strength, stamina, agility, reflexes, and a computer augmented brain. The right arm and left half of his face are armored cybernetic implants. He wears a woven metal-mesh body suit of considerable durability. This Deathlok also carried a helium-neon laser pistol designed by the U.S. Army of his time, and a throwing dagger. He was later captured and upgraded by Marvel 616’s S.H.I.E.L.D., and given jet boots that allowed him to leap at great heights and his other abilities were perhaps enhanced to greater levels.
Another version was developed by a group of scientists at Cybertek. His cyborg body grants him the same powers as the previous version, only with much greater strength, speed, and resistance to injury. He possesses a broad spectrum of visual and auditory powers. This Deathlok has the ability to interface with virtually any computer system. He is also able to project his consciousness and sensory projections directly into the Net, making him able to executing a kind of direct hacking of computer systems far more efficient than a traditional computer hacking. His body can also target (nearly infallibly) multiple objects and track them. He could scan the entire electromagnetic spectrum, as well as enter computer systems. He has learned to use internal nano-bots to repair and alter both his organic and inorganic parts, enabling him to appear as either a humanoid cyborg, or completely human.
He also has a very sophisticated A.I., capable of quickly making complex strategies and evaluating their chance of success. If requested, the A.I. can take control of the body to perform these operations. The second Deathlok possesses no combat skills, but under computer-guided combat routines, he is an excellent hand-to-hand combatant with an extensive database of combat techniques and strategies.
In addition to the woven metal-mesh body suit, he carries a plasma pistol which draws its energy from his internal power source. Thus, the weapon can only be fired if in contact with the outlets in Deathlok’s hand. Deathlok also possesses a collapsible plasma rifle capable of greater firepower with the same limitations, a supply of fragmentation plasma grenades, and a molybdenum steel knife. He wears a wrist bracelet that allows Deathlok to override similar cybernetic operating systems, and an adamantium/vibranium alloy shock dampening helmet. He sometimes uses a refitted Cybertek Dragonfly fighter with a range of several hundred miles.
This should go some ways in redeeming fan expectations of Luke Cage, instead of Mike Peterson, in the Agents pilot episode. With Mike Peterson being an original character, however, the show’s creative team will be free to interpret Deathlok in any way they deem fit. Of course, this could mean either expansion or downgrading for the character, so curb your expectations.
As for Jaimie Alexander‘s appearance on the series, as Asgardian Lady Sif, her integral role in that episode has been revealed. Sif will journey to Midgard in pursuit of fellow Asgardian, Lorelei (more than likely enlisting/ attracting S.H.I.E.L.D. assistance). The character of Lorelei will be played by Elena Satine, who some may remember as Mera, bride of Aquaman, from Smallville.
Based on the being of the same name from Germanic mythology, Lorelei first appeared in Thor vol. 1 #337 (November 1983), and was created by Walt Simonson. Like all Asgardians, she is extremely long-lived, aging at an extremely slow rate upon reaching adulthood. Asgardian flesh and bone is about three times denser than similar human tissue, contributing to her superhuman strength, durability and endurance. She is also immune to all Earth diseases, and resistant to conventional injury.
Lorelei may have the potential for having mystical powers like her older sister, Amora the Enchantress, but she has chosen not to develop it to the same extent. In battle against Seth and his minions, she was depicted as firing mystical force bolts, similar to her sister’s. After being resurrected by Seth, her magical powers were greatly enhanced, even beyond those of her sister, and she retained these heightened abilities in later years, with her power being shown as equal to that of Pluto.
Lorelei’s great beauty and seductive manner enable her to persuade virtually any male god or mortal to do whatever she wants. Lorelei has some knowledge of sorcery, mostly pertaining to love charms and potions. Lorelei also possesses a petrifying kiss, transforming victims into a granite statue.
It would be easy to credit these updates (regarding Deathlok, in particular) as a direct response to fan and general audience gripes, over the pace and content of the show; but according to Loeb, and series co-creator, Maurissa Tancharoen, these developments are part of what had been a long term strategy for the show.
Jeph Loeb declared “It’s something we’ve had plan from the very beginning. We’ve been leaving breadcrumbs. This is a major Marvel character who is coming to television for the first time.” While Maurissa Tancharoen added that “Deathlok had been on our radar from the beginning. He was at the top of our list of Marvel characters we could bring in. It seems like a nice progression for Mike Peterson – when he becomes Deathlok, you’re always going to root for the Mike Peterson that’s still in there somewhere.”
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