Welcome to S.H.I.E.L.D. Dossiers, in which I ramble about last night's episode, and provide random factoids and comic book references that relate to the show. I hope you enjoy the new format.
Deathlok - Mind as well get the big one out of the way first. At the end of last night's episode, it was revealed that Mike Peterson's cybernetic leg is part of "Project: Deathlok". It wasn't exactly a surprise, since Marvel spoiled the reveal a few weeks ago, but we'll give a rundown of the character anyways.
Deathlok has a...complicated history in the comic books, due to the character having multiple iterations and identities. The original Deathlok was a US army colonel named Luther Manning who was killed during a war simulation on an alternate world. A colleague, Simon Ryker, retrieved Manning's corpse and implanted the still living tissue and brain into a new synthetic body. Manning was renamed Deathlok, and was programmed to follow Ryker's commands. Eventually, Manning rebelled against his programming, regained his memories and decided to fight Ryker. Later on, Manning became involved in various time travel and multiversal shenanigans and made periodic appearances in various comics. Manning was created by Doug Moench and Rich Buckler, both of whom were thanked in the credits.
The mainstream Marvel universe (Earth-616) gained its own Deathlok in 1990. Michael Collins was an employee of Roxxon Oil, who worked on computer programming for articial limbs. When Collins discovered that his work was being used a weapons system called Project: Deathlok, he complained to his boss, Michael Ryder, who betrayed him and implanted his brain in a Deathlok cyborg. While Collins was intitially unable to control his body, he eventually gained control and thrwarted Ryder's plans to sell weapons to a mercenary group. Collins was created by Dwayne McDuffie (who also created the Milestone characters, including Static Shock), Gregory Wright and Jackson Guice, all of whom were also thanked in the credits.
Most recently, a third Deathlok, Evan Wakowski, has appeared in several X-Books as an ally of Wolverine. This Deathlok hails from an alternate future in which most of the world's heroes had been turned into Deathlok cyborgs by Roxxon. Wakowski rebels against his programming and assists Wolverine and several other heroes travel back to the past to prevent Roxxon from taking over, and in the process causes his past self to become Deathlok. Wakowski later travels to the past to assist Wolverine's X-Force team on missions and teaches part time at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.
All three Deathloks have a few things in common. They all have superhuman strength and agility due to their cybernetic parts, were originally created by Roxxon, and rebelled against their original programming. While Peterson's origins and powerset is a bit different, I'm sure that his attempts to free himself from the Clairvoyant's control will play heavily into the remainder of the series.
Cybertek Technologies, Inc. - In the comics, Cybertek is a division of Roxxon responsible for the creation of the Michael Collins Deathlok.
I've been surprised how little Marvel has used the Roxxon connections thus far. While Roxxon has appeared in several movies and episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., they haven't really been discussed at all. I wonder if this is just part of Marvel's long game to establish a viable threat for S.H.I.E.L.D. to fight, or if they're content keeping Roxxon as just an easter egg for fans.
Luca Russo - Italian police detective Luca Russo is played by Carlo Rota, best known for his recurring role on 24 as Morris O'Brian.
While I thought this episode was one of the show's strongest to date, I couldn't quite buy that Coulson would be so easily duped by Russo and Cybertek. With all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s resources and intel, it felt a little off that Coulson would inherently trust another non-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, especially after he was betrayed way back in "0-8-4".
Carlo Mancini - Cybertek head of security Carlo Mancini is played by TJ Ramini. Ramini previously appeared in Batman Begins and Arrow in bit roles.
Stan Lee - In case you missed it, Stan Lee made his cameo appearance on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week. Lee has appeared in just about every liveaction Marvel movie to date, and has also voice acted in many Marvel cartoons. Lee serves as a co-executive prodcer on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Interestingly, Lee has stated that he will not appear in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie, as he was not involved with the creation of those characters.
Blonsky's Cyro-Cell - Coulson threatens Ward by saying he'll transfer him to a night shift guarding Blonsky's Cryo-Cell in Alaska should his relationship with May disrupt their team. Emil Blonsky was the villain of The Incredible Hulk, and was captured by the US Army at the end of the movie.
Blonsky also was mentioned in The Consultant one-shot, which starred Clark Gregg Maximiliano Hernández's Agent Sitwell. While the World Security Council attempted to have the US Army release Blonsky into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s custody in order to use him for the Avengers initiative, Coulson and Agent Sitwell send Tony Stark as their representative, sabotaging the meeting and keeping Blonsky imprisoned. It's unclear if Blonsky was turned over to S.H.I.E.L.D. after the Battle of New York, or if S.H.I.E.L.D. simply oversees the US Army's handling of Blonsky.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo - The three peaks of Lavaredo is a real rock formation in Italy. While the peaks originally marked part of the border between Austria and Italy, the peaks now sit wholly in Italy.
Since I'm battling a virus of some sort, I'll keep my rambles brief this week. I thought that T.R.A.C.K.S was another great episode, one that benefitted from in-show continuity (Ian Quinn, Cybertek using the team's Night-Night technology against the team) as well as bringing in more elements from the Marvel Universe. I really think this show has finally found its feet, and the next few episodes should be a blast as more characters from the comics roll in.
See you all in a month!