Deathlok #8-11 "Primary Actions" (2000)
Writer: Joe Casey
Penciler: Leonardo Manco
Colorist: Mariana Sanzone
, #11 Mariana Sanzone & Mark Bernarao
Letterer: Jon Babcock

#11: Finishes: Leonardo Manco & Bill Sienkiewicz

The former Ringmaster of the Circus of Crime has assumed a new identity as Presidential candidate Martin Thraller and hopes to win the election via his powers of hypnosis. After a chance meeting at a reception, Ringmaster hypnotizes Nick Fury and suddenly he goes missing. Dum Dum tracks down Jack Truman, aka Deathlok, and assigns him the task of finding Fury. Following a trail that leads him to a new powerful Mafia led by the enigmatic Doyle, Deathlok finds Doyle is, in fact, a brainwashed Nick Fury. Deathlok rekindles Fury's memories with a neural agent just as hired gun Clown, another former alumni of the Circus of Crime, unleash a hit on Doyle/Fury as per a contract with the Yakuza and clashes with Deathlok, resulting in a hasty retreat by Clown. Angry at the loss of his reputation as a hitman, Clown catches a news bite of Thraller and recognizes him as Ringmaster.

Aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. orbiter, Fury is subjected to a mind probe and the memory of his meeting Ringmaster as Thraller is triggered. Fury plans to infiltrate the next Thraller rally, while Clown works his old contacts with the Circus of Crime to break into the rally and settle scores with the former Ringmaster. Meantime, Truman is experiencing serious problems being trapped inside the Deathlok unit and is slowly losing sanity. At a rally set to answer charge of tax evasions, Clown, forcing a confrontation with an undercover Deathlok confronts Ringmaster. Chaos ensues as S.H.I.E.L.D. breaks up the rally; the Ringmaster is shot near fatal and both Deathlok and Clown slip away, the latter purposely let go by Truman. With the Presidential elections safe from tampering, Fury lets Truman go on his own. Tracking down ex-agent Larry Young, Truman forces a mental swap and leaves Young trapped in the Deathlok unit, while he starts a new life as a human being again. 

  • Continuity Notes
  • Cover Appearances: #9, 11
  • Appearances by Dum Dum Dugan
  • The character of agent Larry Young is named after comic book publisher/editor Larry Young, a friend of writer Joe Casey.
  • Brief flashback sequence in #9 features Elektra, Ft. Dix, Sgt Bass, Dr. Sternberg, and the Fury family.
  • Reprinted in Deathlok: Rage Against the Machine

Exciting, but premature, wrap-up to the second Deathlok monthly features a strong storyline for Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. The storyline is the strongest in the series thus far, with various plot threads floating about finally coming together for a satisfying conclusion. Although the story features some gaping plot holes (Fury's transition to underworld crime lord is real fast ain't it?) and really doesn't mesh well with the rest of Marvel continuity (Dugan couldn't get a hold of Captain America apparently?), its still a good read with good art from regular penciler Leo Manco (although there is a brief interlude with guest artists John Buscema and Tom Palmer). The covers alone are worth the price of buying them, especially the final issue which would make a great poster. Nick Fury and Dugan are presented kinda of shady-like which seems to be the going standard right now. Thank God Dugan isn't overweight anymore. Fury is not mishandled at all and I say again that Joe Casey seems to be itching to write a true-blue Fury tale.


Voted Best Story of 2000 by SHIELD Central Forum (tie)