When Deathstroke feels disrespected he gets pissed, and when he gets pissed he is likely to murder your ass. That’s basically what this second issue reiterates for the reader. The tone of the whole thing is a continuation of last issue’s ending pages where ‘Stroke murders the members of his newly appointed teenage special ops team. I’m going to spare you a rundown of the mind-numbing violence that occurs in this issue and rather take you on an unsolicited trip down memory lane. You’re welcome.
I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of Deathstroke’s previous ongoing title penned by Marv Wolfman, and it makes for an obvious comparison. I can’t necessarily say they were the best comics I’ve ever held in my hands, but Wolfman definitely had a strong feeling for a character he helped create. He depicts Slade Wilson as an extremely talented and versatile killer that carries the burden of an odd and indecipherable moral code. Without it, he’s basically a ninja with a terrible color scheme.
Now, this where you’re expecting me to dig into Kyle Higgins for not capturing that essence, or failing to respect the core values of the character, but to tell you the truth, I love what he’s doing with the new Deathstroke. The first issue soundly established his violence and finesse, but chasing a mark through a bar and across a highway adds absolutely nothing to the plot or my idea of Slade. The issue basically served as a series of eye orgasms delivered by the art team. The captain of that team is Joe Bennett who has sustained the young series with frantic action and an absolutely gorgeous redesign of Deathstroke’s costume (especially when compared with that he was wearing during Wolfman’s run — oh, pirate boots!). The book has some one of the best visuals of the relaunch and it starts with Bennett’s edgy, but refined style. The entire creative team, from script to colors, holds no attempt to ration the brutality in Deathstroke and it’s so overflowing it borders on comical.
Again, I love it; it’s just too much WTF inside a paper-thin premise. Here’s what has happened in two full issues: Someone hires Deathstroke to abduct a briefcase, and when shown the contents he gets really mad. He then proclaims his desire to reestablish himself has a threat in the world. Is the reader supposed to keep with the story because we care what’s in the brief case? Are we supposed to pretend that Issue 2 wasn’t a total rehash of the first?
Higgins is attempting to revive a one of the most rugged, untouchable bad boys that DC has to offer, and so far I think ‘Stroke has pulled a Flawless Victory on every opponent he’s faced off against. A good story has tension and drama because the character must face and overcome an obstacle and the only obstacle here is the main character’s problem with the public’s perceived perception of him. Hardly compelling, actually somewhat bland, but it’s still worth a laugh and a squirm.
Jamil Scalese is just like you — an avid comics fan and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, lover of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation.