Death's Head (1988) was a 1988 American comic book-style series published by Marvel Comics UK. It featured the exploits of a robotic mercenary character named Death's Head. The first of the Marvel titles to bear the name Death's Head, it is sometimes imprecisely called Death's Head I for casual clarity, even though it is technically the only Death's Head title to bear the indicia name of simply Death's Head.
It is of interest to the DWU because it featured a story in which the title character met the Seventh Doctor. It is of interest to the Marvel universe because it — largely by implication — turns at least the Seventh Doctor into a character within the MU.
Title history Edit
Created by Simon Furman, Death's Head had debuted in the Marvel UK Transformers series and then made his way into the Doctor Who Magazine strip, as well as the prefiguring Dragon's Claws, which led immediately to this solo title.
Death's Head (1988) ran for ten issues, then ended on a cliffhanger due to Marvel US' decision to radically curtail Marvel UK's activities. Despite the reduction in UK-based creative staff, the storyline of this series was resolved in a Marvel UK graphic novel called Death's Head: The Body in Question.
- Death's Head Revisited (#1)
- Contractual Obligations (#2)
- High Stakes (#3)
- PlagueDog! (#4)
- Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling! (#5)
- Sudden Impact! (#6)
- Shot By Both Sides (#7)
- Time Bomb! (#8)
- Clobberin' Time! (#9)
- The Cast Iron Contract (#10)
Stories of interest to Doctor Who fans Edit
- Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling! was a Doctor-less story that depicted Death's Head adventures with the titular character of COMIC: Keepsake
- Time Bomb! reunited the Seventh Doctor with Death's Head, but it also gave Josiah W. Dogbolter and his robot assistant Hob a return engagement with fans. The story infamously implied that the Doctor was a part of the Marvel universe by showing that the TARDIS had landed on top of the Four Freedoms Plaza, headquarters for the Fantastic Four.
No other stories from Death's Head (1988) are valid parts of the Doctor Who Universe. However, their modified versions reprinted in The Incomplete Death's Head and only those versions are considered valid due to the original framing device that presented these stories as records in an archive created by Hob following the events of Time Bomb!.
The Doctor and the Marvel universe Edit
For canon hawks, this series has huge implications for the level of interconnection between the Doctor Who and Marvel universes.
Time Bomb! — which is to say Death's Head #8 — is unambiguously a part of the DWU, particularly as understood on this wiki. It features characters previously introduced in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine, including Josiah W. Dogbolter, his robot assistant Hob and Death's Head himself. Thus it's fairly easy to see the issue as consistent with the DWM strips. How, then, should Doctor Who fans deal with the rest of the series? The truth is that Death's Head is a bit of a quagmire.
Here's a series of progressively more difficult questions that Death's Head (1988) poses for Doctor Who fans, starting with the most obvious and innocent:
- Are the other issues a part of the DWU, too, even though they don't feature the Doctor?
- Since Time Bomb! ends on a cliffhanger, doesn't that naturally mean that at least issue #9 is also in the DWU? If so, that makes the Fantastic Four a part of the DWU. And since issue #9 also ends on a cliffhanger, then that makes #10 a part of the DWU, too. Since the guest of issue #10 is Iron Man 2020, doesn't that make him a part of the DWU, too?
- Since The Incomplete Death's Head presents issues #1-10 as historical records collected by Hob, a character that originated in Doctor Who Magazine, doesn't that definitively make them part of the DWU?
- If Iron Man and the Invisible Woman and Johnny Storm are a part of the DWU, then does that mean that their entire back catalogue, going all the way to the first Fantastic Four issue are a part of the DWU?
- Since the Death's Head from this series occasionally guest starred in Marvel US comics — which is to say comics set in the prime Marvel universe, doesn't that, by extension, mean that the DWU is generally a part of the Marvel universe?
All of these are questions with no ready answer, because the idea of the Doctor crossing over into the Marvel universe is largely confined to the pages of Death's Head and Death's Head alone. This disused corner of both the DWU and the MU has simply been ignored by comic theorists and Doctor Who "experts" alike — almost certainly because the notion has no possibility of success from a financial and legal standpoint alone. Nevertheless, Death's Head does narratively allow for the possibility that the Doctor could have been S.H.I.E.L.D.'s scientific advisor, or that Captain Jack might have fought alongside Captain America in World War II.