Having grown up in England during the electronic 80s, I read a variety of comic books. There were the British editions of Spider-Man, Thor, (yes only Thor can pick up the hammer, and Beta-Ray Bill, and Odin and...) Transformers, (which had a completely different storyline to the cartoon series), Action Force, (That’s GI. Joe), etc etc, and of course, Eagle Comic.
Eagle was a different kind of creature all together to the other comic books I’ve just mentioned. Eagle was made up of a number of serialised stories such as ‘Manix’ the android secret agent for British Intelligence. ‘Computer Warrior’ where a boy had to play computer games for real to save his friend or be sucked into some sort of electronic hell. Dan Dare, the intergalactic Marshal who fought his arch enemy, the Venusian Mekon. Death Wish, about a disfigured ex racing driver who investigated the paranormal. Quite frankly the list goes on, but chief among this wealth of British imagination was Doomlord.
Doomlord Vek, as he was formally known, was sent to Earth by the high council of Nox, his home planet, to destroy humanity. He ended up rejecting his mission and was judged a traitor by his own people who sent a trio of assassins, The Deathlords of Nox, to kill him and complete his mission. The only story I have from that period is ‘The Deathlords of Nox’ which over a large number of 3 page strips illustrates the tale of Vek fighting his fellow Noxians for his own life and the continued existence of the human race.
For a child this was truly epic stuff, and the fact that I had to wait a week for each 3 page strip was sometimes very frustrating. In appearance Doomlord’s face resembled a skull and his ears resembled wings. He also had a number of natural Noxian abilities. He could ‘warp’ into any form, absorb the knowledge of any being by touch, (consequently killing them), he was incredibly strong and impervious to most human weapons. He also possessed an energiser ring. The ring was his primary weapon and had a host of abilities. It allowed him to levitate, teleport, hypnotise, stun, disintergrate, translate, record. It was better than Doctor Who’s sonic screwdriver.
Maybe this sounds a little like a cross between The Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern, but what was different about Doomlord was his logic, he was rarely swayed by human doubt or emotion. His strip was in black and white, not colour, and he showed no remorse when killing either human beings or his adversaries. During the strip, there was, for want of a better word, absolute carnage. Hundreds were killed, mostly by the Deathlords, but many by Vek himself when either studying humans or adopting human form to hide from his pursuers. Vek does not even shy away from that fact when asked about it during a television interview:
“I am your friend and protector,”
“But Doomlord you yourself have killed humans.”
“That is true. The fate of the individual is not important. The survival of the whole species is my priority.”
Doomlord wasn’t Spider-man or Superman or even Batman, he lived in a world that was harder than anything Marvel or DC created. Doomlord was a hero, but he made tough choices that had bitter consequences. He was also an alien, and he had a very different viewpoint on humanity. For a child to come into contact with this sort of adult thinking within a comic book was a revelation.
Years later Doomlord was forced to become evil by his own people and attempted to destroy humanity once more. His half-human son Enoch managed to defeat him at the cost of his own life. That was when Doomlord came to an end after many adventures that questioned human values and morality. Doomlord had a big effect on me, he made a little boy wonder about a world that was much more complicated than he had ever imagined. He also made me realise that it is the alien viewpoint that allows us to learn more about ourselves.