Monday, 14 December 2009

Death's Head is BACK, yes? And possibly... for the FIRST time?!?

Right, one of my greatest regrets in being out of contact during November was not plugging this one anywhere near as much as it very definitely deserved.

Some of you out there may have seen the launch last month of a new cosmic but X-Men tied book from Marvel, by the name of S.W.O.R.D., written by Kieron Gillen (Phonogram, Thor, Dark Avengers: Ares) and with art from Steve Sanders. The covers look something like this:

The series centres around the agency knows as S.W.O.R.D. (The Sentient World Observation and Response Department) and the Head of that group Special Agent Brand, both of which were created by Joss Whedon, during his run on Astonishing X-men.

S.W.O.R.D. are a space-borne counter-terrorism and intelligence agency, who hover over Earth taking care of extraterrestrial threats. They've featured a couple of times outside of the X-Men. Spider-woman now works for them, and most notably they were taken out in the first wave of attack during the Secret Invasion event last year.

Which led to Norman Osborne (For it is he who now runs the agency which replaced Nick Fury's S.H.I.E.L.D.) to insert old X-Men political foe Henry Peter Gyrich ahead of Agent Brand. That's him on the cover of issue two, with his agenda up in writing behind him. He wants Brand out and he wants every last damn alien on Earth sent back to their point of origin.

Marvel Boy, Karolina from The Runaways, Beta Rey Bill... The lot.

The supporting cast features the X-Men's Hank 'The Beast' McCoy (Who has been dating Agent Brand since Astonishing X-Men) and Kitty Pryde's former companion (And ex-Excalibur member, of course ;D ) Lockheed.

But it was actually a guest appearance which interested me the most, here. During the first issue Agent Brand is pulled away from her duties when her Half-brother contacts her. He's gotten himself into a spot of bother. As a result a Bounty has been put on his head.

And guess who's chasing him to collect it? ;D

OH, YES. Death's Head has returned to the Marvel Universe. The initial conversation with Agent Brand of a comms channel shows us a slightly restyled likeness of the original Death's Had. Complete with that mercenary style body warmer armour. And he has every bit the same amount of attitude as ever.

But that first glimpse really doesn't convey the SCALE of this appearance, as I'm sure you'll appreciate this page demonstrates more actively (Click to enlarge):

Look how HUGE he is!

He's the size of house!

He's the size of a... Transformer? ;D

Reading this appearance does seem to indicate that this incarnation of Death's Head is indeed from before his encounter with not only Doctor Who, but also with the Transformers appearances. For one he's not using the title of "Freelance Peace-Keeping Agent" yet.

The Beast actually suggests that term TO him.

He notes that he rather likes.

Then tries to kill him.

By my reckoning, for this reason, what we are seeing here could well actually be the earliest version of Death's Head ever seen in the Marvel Universe. Biographically, anyway. And that is worthy of note. Top marks, Mr Gillen!

Seriously, guys. All old school Marvel UK fans should be picking this up. But not just for the DH guest appearance. More because it's a damned good book. You know the rules - if you want to read a good book at Marvel, always aim for the smaller titles with a good writer, first.

This is a great new ongoing book. Issue 2 came out this week, issue 1 should still be available. So go to your store and pick it up. Seeing a broken Lockheed hitting the booze as he grieves for Kitty Pryde should be reason enough.

No. Really.

That's in there.

But I won't post it up. You'll have to go and BUY it yourself. ;D

You won't regret it.


  1. Woah. Crud, I kind of want to read that. But I really don't wanna get back into any continuity-heavy Marvel books..


  2. Excellent, I love the new look for ol' DH. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new era for him. I must pick this book ASAP.

  3. I've been picking this up (its got Death's Head in, right?) and its a fun book. Its not too heavily tied to events elsewhere in the Marvel Universe. All you need to know is that SWORD protect Earth from alien invasion. As you can guess, following the Skrull debacle, Norman Osborn now wants all aliens resident on Earth to vacate the planet. SWORDs director is prevented from doing much about this, being sent on numerous wild goose chases.
    I am pleased to see DH back (and the original), but those with eagle eyes will notice the following slight inconsistencies: he removes his left, rather than right hand, his body armour should maybe be green at this point (although perhaps he keeps that for best!) and most importantly - this is set in 2009. Death's Head disappeared from this period of time following the destruction of Unicron in er, 2008 - subsequently ending up in 8162. Anyway, who cares about all that? Its Death's Head back in comics! Woo! That also means that both incarnations of Death's Head are active in the same time period (following DHII's appearance in Captain Britain).Exciting!