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Deathstroke #1 Review

4 min read

Calling Deathstroke a major damn badass is definitely an understatement.

What They Say:
Slade Wilson is the best mercenary in the DCU, and he’s been doing this a long time. Some might say too long. But they’ll learn: never turn your back on Deathstroke the Terminator. He won’t quit, no matter how high the stakes.

The Review:
With a character with as much history as Deathstroke, I have to say I’m thrilled to see him getting his own book again. The last time he had one back in the 90’s was one that was a heck of a lot of fun and I even found myself thoroughly enjoying the Flashpoint miniseries he had this summer which put him in the position of being a pirate. As a character, he’s been one of the people that has a definite reputation but has been put in some difficult stories that have left him with really varied results. Sometimes he’s been one to be taken down easily while other times he’s doing beyond the impossible with his skills. When left to his own though, focusing on stories that don’t involve the end of the world or hugely powered forces, he’s an engaging character to watch work, very reminiscent of Golgo 13 but with a heck of a lot more attitude.

The new series doesn’t spend much in the way of time on his past, but they make it clear from the start that he’s definitely the best at what he does and why he commands such a high price because of it. With his enhanced skills combined with heightened intelligence and a gift for strategy, he’s the ultimate assassin who gets the job done. Unfortunately, he’s taken more bodyguard jobs as of late and that’s caused clients to view him as not quite as skilled as he once was. And in the last five years, with more meta’s showing up, there are more options for getting someone killed. Because of this, the latest job has him working with a support team to go after a German scientist who deals in weapons that has free access across borders. And because of this, the only way to really get him is to take his plane down over water and retrieve the secrets he’s trying to sell.

The book provides for some good action as the job gets underway and the support team offers up a cocky young group that’s green but needing this to get cleared for more jobs, so they’re serious. While there is time spent with them, a lot of it is done to show the confident, efficient and competent Deathstroke take on the mission and show them that he is much more than they could ever be. There’s a great little trick included in all of this as Deathstroke hits the plan, including a neat nod towards biological warfare and using metahuman DNA to create something new, and it provides the hook to bring you back in the next issue as well. The combination of these elements creates an opening issue that moves quickly but also lets us into the mindset of the title character quickly enough as he wants to properly re-establish himself. And with the abilities he has, it looks to be a non-issue, but a fun one.

Digital Notes:
This digital edition of Deathstroke from Comixology features just the first printing cover of the issue with no additional extras included in the book.

In Summary:
With the start of this series, Deathstroke is hugely accessible even with all the history he has because it doesn’t try to work any of it into it beyond the basic idea of him being an assassin that has been increasingly sidelined. With that realization coming to mind, he’s intent on getting things back on track. We get to see what he’s all about here, how skilled he is and it’s all done with sharp looking artwork, a solid amount of dialogue and exposition and a flow to it that is highly engaging. It’s a book done with a sense of the real world around it, just heightened a few notches, making it the kind that you can get into easily and then to see it expand as it goes along. Deathstroke is a character that can mingle in the underside of the world but also mix it up with the biggest of superheroes and villains. Coming off the Flashpoint miniseries, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it hooked me quick and left me wanting more the moment it was over.

Grade: B+

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