J. August Richards Lives On As DEATHLOK In AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

J. August Richards
Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

In the end it wasn't Rage or Power Man, the superheroic role that J. August Richards' character of Mike Peterson on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will embody is cybernetic solider Deathlok according to a story posted late Thursday on Marvel.com, where the show's Executive Producer Jeffrey Bell describes the revelation as the climax of Mike Peterson's superhero origin story.

From unwitting test subject to S.H.I.E.L.D. agent-in-training, in the climax of the first season fall finale it appeared that Mike, who had just become comfortable using the enhancements that the Centipede Organization forced upon him, was killed in the explosion that covered the kidnapping of Agent Coulson. However in the following episode’s post-credits stinger Mike awoke in an unknown location covered with burns, missing half a leg and equipped with one of the Centipede Organization's artificial eyes that bestow enhanced vision but explode if the user doesn't follow the commands that appear only to them

Astute comic book fans were able to make the connection to Mike's injuries and the nature of the Deathlok character. Created in 1974 by veteran comic book artist Rich Buckler and writer Doug Moench (Moon Knight) the title of Deathlok has passed between many different characters, but they all retain a close set of specific characteristics. In most cases Deathlok is a living or revivified human bonded to a set of cybernetic enhancements that itself is controlled by an artificial intelligence.

The most 'popular' incarnation of Deathlok was Michael Collins who was involuntary transformed into 'a' Deathlok and while he was able to subvert the villainous intentions behind his creation, he struggled to maintain his humanity and keep his artificial intelligent cyborg half from resolving every conflict with lethal force. Clearly a similar conflict is in the offing on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, that is if Mike Peterson still hold altruistic ideals, and from J. August Richards' statements it appears so, "If you would have asked when I was nine-years old what I wanted to be, I would have said a super hero and I'm so excited to be one now as an adult on TV! It's a dream come true."

Its a interesting time for Deathlok where the character is currently a harbinger of a dark future where all heroes are controlled by Deathlok technology while at the same time the teenaged Rebecca Ryker, the daughter of one of the technology’s developers was caught in a lab explosion and augmented with cyborg parts in a successful attempt to save her life. Dubbed “Death Locket,” Rebecca became an involuntary participant in the villain Arcade's Battle Royal-esque deathmatch and will continue her adventures in the upcoming Avengers Undercover series.

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