Astonishing Tales #25 (Aug. 1974).
Cover art by Rich Buckler and Klaus Janson
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Manning: Astonishing Tales #25
(August 1974)
Collins: Deathlok #1 (July 1990)
Created by Manning: Doug Moench (writer)
Rich Buckler (artist)
Collins: Dwayne McDuffie, Gregory Wright, and Jackson Guice
In-story information
Alter ego Luther Manning
John Kelly
Michael Collins
Jack Truman/Larry Young
Team affiliations (Manning)
Secret Defenders
Wild Pack
S.H.I.E.L.D. (all three)
United States Army
Notable aliases Manning: The Demolisher
Collins: Doctor Donut, "Robot Vigilante"
Abilities Cybernetic enhancements granting superhuman speed, strength, durability and reflexes
Ability to repair bodily damage
Ability to track multiple objects

Deathlok (also referred to as Deathlok the Demolisher) is a fictional cyborg published by Marvel Comics. He 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.


Publication history

Although initially announced as the new lead feature for Marvel's Worlds Unknown comic, under the title "Cyborg,"[1] the first Deathlok series ran in Astonishing Tales #25-36 (cover-dated Aug. 1974 - July 1976). This initial version of the character, Luther Manning, later guest-starred with Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up #46 (June 1976), and the story from the cancelled Astonishing Tales comics was finished in Marvel Spotlight #33 (April 1977).

Deathlok subsequently appeared with the Thing, a member of the superhero team the Fantastic Four, in Marvel Two-in-One #26, 27, 28, 34 and #54, although one appearance was actually a robot and not the genuine Deathlok. The Luther Manning Deathlok then appeared in Captain America #286-288 (Oct.-Dec. 1983).

A new Deathlok, Michael Collins, debuted in the miniseries Deathlok #1-4 (July-Oct. 1990, reprinted as Deathlok Special #1-4 the following year). He was the second Deathlok to be created in the modern era and also the second to be created for the traditional Marvel Universe. This second Deathlok went on to a 34-issue series cover-dated July 1991 to April 1994, plus two summer annuals in 1992 and 1993.

The third Deathlok, S.H.I.E.L.D. espionage agent Jack Truman, debuted in an 11-issue limited series (Sept. 1999 - June 2000).

Deathlok has also appeared in four issues of the limited series Beyond!, and Michael Collins, in human form and not as Deathlok, appeared in Fantastic Four #544-545 (May–June 2007). Multiple unnamed Deathlok units appear in Black Panther vol. 4, #1-6. Possessing no human sentience, they were automatons created from corpses of soldiers killed in Iraq.

Fictional character biography

Luther Manning

Colonel Luther Manning is an American soldier from Detroit, Michigan, who, after being fatally injured, is reanimated in a post-apocalyptic future (originally given the date of 1990) to find what remains of his dead body has been turned into the experimental Deathlok cyborg by Simon Ryker. He verbally communicates with his symbiotic computer, to which he refers as the abbreviated "'Puter". He escapes from Ryker's control,[2] although he dreams he has regained his humanity.[3] He battles the evil corporate and military regimes that have taken over the United States, while simultaneously struggling not to lose his humanity. He battles Simon Ryker and the first War-Wolf, and encounters his wife and son for the first time after becoming a cyborg.[4] He battles Simon Ryker's Super-Tank,[5] and then begins a hunt for a "cyborg doctor".[6] He battles Simon Ryker as the Savior Machine, and his mind is ultimately transferred into a Luther Manning clone.[7] He battles mutants alongside a time-traveling Spider-Man.[8] He begins working for the CIA, encounters Godwulf for the first time, and is then finally sent back in time to the modern era.[9]

He battles the Devil-Slayer, but then battles demons alongside Devil-Slayer.[10] He later becomes controlled by Mentallo and the Fixer and is sent to assassinate the President, but is stopped by the Thing and Nick Fury.[11] After his capture he becomes catatonic, and is taken to England for treatment by the Thing.[12] He is cured by Louis Knort, and Nick Fury takes him into custody.[13]

Deathlok is rebuilt by Roxxon as a robot, and sent to sabotage Project: Pegasus. The robot battles the Thing and Quasar, and self-destructs.[14] The real Deathlok, now working for the Brand Corporation, battles Captain America and a time-traveling Luther Manning clone. Alongside Captain America, Godwulf, and the Redeemers, he battles Hellinger.[15]

Some time later, the "mainstream timeline" Luther Manning begins dreaming that he is Deathlok.[16] He is charged with temporal energy by Timestream.[17] Timestream recruits this "mainstream" human Manning.[18] Deathlok, Timestream, and Manning battled the Collins Deathlok, Siege, and Godwulf.[19]

The Manning Deathlok eventually returns to his own time and overthrows the megalomaniac who had taken over the country. Manning remains in his near-future alternate reality, searching for a purpose in life and unable to disconnect himself from the machine bonded to him.

Eventually, Manning travels to the mainstream Marvel Universe and encounters Daredevil and the Kingpin. He lives a life of solitude until being apprehended by S.H.I.E.L.D., from which he is later kidnapped by the supervillain Owl and, immobilized, put up for auction as a weapon. Before a sale can be completed, he is stolen by the crime lord the Hood, and sent on a kamikaze decoy run.

John Kelly

Kelly first appeared as Deathlok in Marvel Comics Presents #62. This version of Deathlok was originally controlled by Kelly until its systems determined that Kelly's brain function was detrimental to its completion of the "First Run" program. The Deathlok unit then completed its mission. Kelly's brain was removed from the cyborg and disposed of. One of Ryker's assistants took the brain presumably for use in the SIEGE unit. This version was made for the United States Army by the CIA's Deathlok-program co-head, Harlan Ryker, after studying Luther Manning's cyborg body. The Kelly Deathlok later became known as Siege.[20]

Michael Collins

Professor Michael Collins was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was an African American pacifist and family man working for the Roxxon Oil cybernetics corporation Cybertek, whose brain was transplanted against his will into a robotic killing machine by agents of Harlan Ryker. The machine was used against rebels fighting against Roxxon's influence in the fictional South American country of Estrella.

Although his brain was intended to serve only as a medium for the robot's programming, he was able to assert his will over it (installing a "no-killing parameter" into its programming).[21] The computer is fully willing to listen to Collins, though he must take care to present his orders in a way that helps fulfill the mission and keep people from dying. The computer is fully capable of understanding distinct concepts, such as bluffing, as when Collins is forced to pretend to take a hostage.

He met Jesus Badalamente, and helped the rebels as soon as he could, though of course they did not initially trust him. Roxxon utilized giant robot ants against Collins and his allies, though the robot's scanners were able to find weaknesses. The rebels soon came to trust Collins. The leader even tries to save Collins with his own dropped gun, though he learns it does not work for anyone but Collins. Collins also battles Mainframe.[22]

Collins learns that his human body was still alive, and encounters Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.[23] Harlan Ryker hides Collins's human body. Collins aids Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. in preventing a nuclear strike on the United States.[21]

With the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Misty Knight, Deathlok later battles Mechadoom.[24] He meets the Punisher, and battles Silvermane.[25] He next meets Moses Magnum.[26] Collins finally reveals his existence as a cyborg to his family.[27]

Collins continues his brief superheroic career as he desperately searched for his human body, hoping it still existed. During this time he fought Sleepwalker,[28] and helps Silver Sable retrieve a purloined Statue of Liberty.[29] He assists a makeshift team of other heroes in the "Maximum Carnage" incident, protecting the people of New York from a mass-murdering group of supervillains.[30] Ultimately, Collins gained the ability to shift from his "Deathlok" body to human form at will.[volume & issue needed]

During the events of the series Beyond!, the cosmic being Stranger (pretending to be the Beyonder) transported Collins to an alien planet where he was forced to live for years until being rescued with the aid of several other heroes. However, his rescue required the sacrifice of Greg Willis, the superhero known as Gravity. As an act of gratitude, Collins arranged Gravity's funeral.[31] When Willis' body was later stolen by a the cosmic entity known as Epoch, Collins enlisted the aid of the Fantastic Four in retrieving it.[32]

Jack Truman/Larry Young

Jack Truman was an agent of the international espionage outfit S.H.I.E.L.D. who was transformed into a cyborg to battle the Red Skull. Through telepathic means, he eventually swapped his mind into the body of another former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Larry Young. Young is being considered as a "potential recruit" for the Initiative program.[33]

Project: Deathlok

During Dark Reign, a HAMMER strikeforce consisting of corpses animated with crude bionics was sent to capture a super-soldier research centre known as "The World". These models acted like traditional zombies, craving brains. Their mission was unsuccessful, and as a result, the research group which produced them, "Project: Deathlok", was scrapped.[34]

Uncanny X-Force

Wolverine's rogue ops team joins the John Kelly Deathlok - now free from its human host's brain - to face down invaders from a possible future where X-Force, and all other superheroes, have been turned into "Deathloks" controlled by worldly authorities with popular support, which produces a crime-free utopia for everyone else.[volume & issue needed]

Powers and abilities


Col. Luther Manning's body was rebuilt into a cyborg body by Harlan Ryker. Deathlok's mechanical, 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. Deathlok also carried a helium-neon laser pistol designed by the U.S. Army of his time, and a throwing dagger.

Manning was a military academy graduate, and a brilliant military strategist. He is a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, and proficient with knives, daggers, handguns, and laser pistols.

He was later captured and upgraded by 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.


Michael Collins' human brain was transplanted into a cyborg body by a group of scientists at Cybertek. His cyborg body grants him the same powers as Manning, only with much greater strength, speed, and resistance to injury. He possesses a broad spectrum of visual and auditory powers. 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. Collins himself 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.

Collins is an excellent computer programmer with an advanced degree in computer science and prosthetics, and helped construct the Deathlok body, along with other Cybertek scientists including William Hansen, Ben Jacobs, Stanley Cross, Dr. Hu, and Jim Dworman. After becoming Deathlok, Collins later modified his own systems.

Like Manning, Collins wears a woven metal-mesh body suit of considerable durability. 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.

Other versions

Ultimate Deathlok

In Ultimate Spider-Man #70 (Feb. 2005), the Ultimates fight a person they refer to as Luther Manning, who looks like Deathlok and whom Spider-Man describes as a "half-robot half-zombie guy". The superheroes take him into custody.

In other media

  • A Marvel Legends action figure of Deathlok is part of the Galactus Series.
  • Deathlok can be summoned to assist Spider-Man or Venom during the later stages of the SNES adaptation of the video game Maximum Carnage. He drops into the center of the screen and fires guns in both directions, hitting all enemies.
  • The Megadeth song Psychotron, which appears on the Countdown to Extinction album, is based on the Deathlok character.[35]


In the early 1990s, a Deathlok film was at the script stage, with screenwriter Randall Frakes.[36]

In 2007, a Deathlok feature film was supposedly at the script stage at Paramount Pictures, with screenwriter David Self.[37]

Collected editions

Some of the comics have been collected into an individual volume:


  1. ^ "Far-Out Fanfare and Infoomation!", FOOM, November 1973, p. 18
  2. ^ Astonishing Tales #25 (Aug. 1974)
  3. ^ Marvel Fanfare #4 (Sept. 1982)
  4. ^ Astonishing Tales #26-27 (Oct. & Dec. 1974)
  5. ^ Astonishing Tales #28, 30 (Feb. & June 1975)
  6. ^ Astonishing Tales #32 (Nov. 1975)
  7. ^ Astonishing Tales #33-35 (Jan.-May 1976)
  8. ^ Marvel Team-Up #46 (June 1976)
  9. ^ Astonishing Tales #36 (July 1976), the series' final issue
  10. ^ Marvel Spotlight #33 (April 1977)
  11. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #26-27 (April–May 1977)
  12. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #28 (June 1977)
  13. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #54 (Aug. 1979)
  14. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #54
  15. ^ Captain America #286-288
  16. ^ Deathlok vol. 2, #25-26
  17. ^ Deathlok vol. 2, #27
  18. ^ Deathlok vol. 2, #29
  19. ^ Deathlok vol. 2, #31-34
  20. ^ Wright, Gregory; Deathlok vol. 2, #19 (Jan. 1993)
  21. ^ a b Deathlok #1 (July 1990)
  22. ^ Deathlok #2 (Aug. 1991)
  23. ^ Deathlok #3
  24. ^ Deathlok vol. 2, #2-5 (Aug.-Nov. 1991)
  25. ^ Deathlok vol. 2, #6-7 (Dec. 1991 - Jan. 1992)
  26. ^ Deathlok vol. 2, #11 (May 1992)
  27. ^ Deathlok vol. 2, #12 (June 1992)
  28. ^ Sleepwalker #8 (January 1992)
  29. ^ Silver Sable and the Wild Pack # 6 & 7 (November & December 1992)
  30. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #379 & 380, Spider-Man #36 & 37, Web of Spider-Man #103 & Spectacular Spider-Man #203 (July & August 1993)
  31. ^ McDuffie, Dwayne Beyond! #s 2-6 (July-Dec. 2006)
  32. ^ Fantastic Four #544-546 (May–July 2007)
  33. ^ Flamini, Anthony & Byrd, Ronald; Civil War: Battle Damage Report; March 2007; Page 62
  34. ^ Dark Reign: Wolverine #1
  35. ^ [1]
  36. ^ Frakes, Randall (July 1991). "About the Author". Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-29169-6. 
  37. ^ [2]


External links

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