Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

404 – Marvel UK, Yes?

And now for something completely different. (Death’s Head II #1)

In which Death’s Head gets around universes; AIM fails to recognize closed narrative loops; we need more huscarls in comics; time travel occasionally solves the problems it creates; and we bid a fond farewell (for now) to Al Kennedy.


  • Death’s Head
  • Death’s Head II #1-4
  • Marvel UK
  • Death’s Head I
  • Minion
  • Earth-8410
  • The far future of 2020
  • Dr. Evelyn Necker
  • How to dress for time travel
  • Reed Richards’s mother’s name
  • Earth-12892
  • Robin Hood of Future Past
  • Heavily armed nuns
  • Tuck
  • Spratt
  • The Lord High Protector
  • Huscarls
  • Baron Strucker V
  • Charnel
  • A large number of deaths
  • A deft solution to a complex problem
  • Essential Marvel UK
  • Marvel UK vs. Marvel US
Go outside and touch some grass!
The return of Jay!

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  1. I know of Death’s Head from his Transformers appearances, but I never followed Deaths Head 2, so this was fascinating.

    Incidentally, those who enjoy the character(s) might also enjoy Transformers expert Chris McFeely’s recent “The Basics on Deaths Head” on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOaP07Bfdxk

    Based on the samples, I think you are more forgiving for some of the art choices than I feel inclinded to be. Some absolutely terrific designs, but the ladies garment (or lack thereof) choices are a bit much for me, the “Law of Dwindling Fabrics” was nicely satirised in Grant Morrison’s “Doom Force Special”, but this seems to be pushing even that boundary! And the last time I such consistently BIG hair on every female character was either Jem and the Holograms, or the Trolls movie.

    Whilst your versions were intriguing, “Tomayto” (since we’re talking American) as a reference to a lady is very much an old Americanism. It crops up in old gangster films and pulp/noir from the 30’s onwards, I believe because of it’s association with “plump/ ripe/roundness” and probably “squeezing” featured somewhere in the mental images conjured up.

    I suspect that Zack Snyder must have read this series because it’s better explanation for making a “My mother’s name was Martha” moment and important plotpoint than the movie ever did.

    A “Maid Marian and her Merry Men” reference wasn’t quite such a deep cut given the TV show was still in production in 1992, but a cute touch. (I’m only surprised at no reference to “Rocket Robin Hood”, Hanna-Barbera’s sci-fi reworking of the legendsfrom the mid 60’s that for some reason I DO remember being shown in the UK for a lot longer than it’s quality deserved.)

    Is there any way to ponder Daredevil’s carrying of a rifle (hardly his usual short range/melee weapon) without veering into unpleasantly ableist assumptions? Probably not.

    I’ve enjoyed Al’s contributions immensely (As I do “House to Astonish”) so thank you to him, and I look forward to him coming back as and when.

    Oh, and thanks for the heads up on Desert Island Discworld, that’s one a new on to me and I look forward to diving in!

  2. I would like to point out that in his first appearance in X-Men v1 #3, Blob immediately calls Jean a “cute tomato”

  3. This was really helpful! I’d always liked the design of Death’s Head II but never learned any of the history of the character. (And given the hit-and-miss availability of the old Marvel UK stuff, I’d long ago given up hope of ever understanding it.)

  4. My grandfather used to use “tomato” for a pulchritudinous woman, as in, “look at the can on that tomato.”

  5. When I was younger my older brother, a big Whovian, who always taped episodes off of PBS, had a copy of Death’s Head #8 with iconic cover text that was burned into my mind:
    “Tell me Death’s Head, you want $20,000 to steal the TARDIS, but only $20 to kill the Doctor?”
    “Special Rate, Yes?”

  6. Liam Sharp’s art seems variable in the first issue- I haven’t seen the rest- and I’m not sure it’s on purpose. On the cover and on some of the first few pages he seems to have been reaching for a Barry Windsor-Smith look, but doesn’t carry on with that. I’m not seeing the narrative intent of the shifts and that may be on me.

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