Deathstroke #1 (Comics Review)

Thanks to CW’s Arrow, the character of Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke has enjoyed a great surge in popularity in recent years. Manu Bennett’s portrayal of DC’s greatest mercenary/assassin has enchanted people everywhere and when he stepped up as the big bad of the show’s second season last year, things really kicked off for him in a major way. However, the character hasn’t enjoyed as much popularity in the comics, with his most recent run ending rather unceremoniously, though not as abruptly as some of the other of DC’s New 52 books. I never read that first series, mostly because I wasn’t interested in the character so much back then.

But now things are different. Now I want to read more about Slade Wilson and the reins of the new series are given in the hands of writer Tony S. Daniel who is also the artist on the series. I’ve never really enjoyed any of Tony’s previous work for DC, mostly because there’s always something lacking in his stories or his dialogues, though his art is usually good. Deathstroke #1 however, is a departure from the former. It is quite an interesting story of a man as skilled and talented as Slade Wilson is supposed to be and Tony does a fairly decent job with him, though some of his deficiencies do show up here.

Deathstroke 001

Recently, Deathstroke has started popping up in lots of new places. He was in CW’s Arrow until the second season finale as a regular member of the cast. He is in the new ongoing New Suicide Squad as a heel (once again) and he’s also a regular in the multi-creator weekly Future’s End where he is a bad guy (once again, surprise surprise). I quite liked him in New Suicide Squad and Future’s End, and to see the character finally get a series of his own is nice, especially in the wake of his previous New 52 solo being cancelled almost a year and a half ago. And I think that the new series does have some potential.

Daniel presents the character as more of a thrill-seeker and an adventurer rather than a murderous merc-for-hire. It is kind of interesting, though some details are thin on the ground. Daniel sets out some new characters in this series (new to me at least) but there isn’t exactly a whole lot of setup for those characters beyond what you see on the page and that itself is thin on the ground. So the writing isn’t really as cohesive as it could be.

But I confess that I did like the second half of the issue, when things really turned on Slade. Up until then everything was going well enough for him, but then there was this big curveball and everything went to hell for him. And Daniel ended the issue on a rather alarming note that makes you wonder just what the hell is going on, or will go on in the next issue.

Daniel’s Slade Wilson/Deathstroke is very different from the Slade that I am more familiar with, and is also different quite a bit from his appearances in New Suicide Squad, though that in itself is obvious since here we get his monologues as well, something missing from the other series altogether. We see a bit too much inside his head, but it is all still interesting because it gets you to understand on a personal level what kind of a character he is, and what he likes and what he doesn’t and so on and on.

Now if we could just get an explanation for how all of this fits in with New Suicide Squad, that will keep me happy.

The art here is by Daniel, as I said above, with inks by Sandu Florea, colours by Tomeu Morey, letters by Rob Leigh and the cover by Daniel, Florea and Morey. There is a hell of a lot of blood and gore in this issue. That might not be for everyone, but it does help set a tone for this series, and also establishes that Deathstroke isn’t a character you mess around with, especially not when he is juiced up on those swords of his, which are pretty badass. Some panels aren’t laid out so well ind the middle of the book and the flow can be a bit weird but by and large, this is a decent-looking series from Daniel.

If you are looking for a new Deathstroke series then this one isn’t all that bad really. It suffers from being confusing in a few places and with the supporting cast not being all that memorable, but it is all still good enough to continue on with.

Rating: 8/10

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Posted on October 24, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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