Slade Wilson, also known as Deathstroke the Terminator, has moved on from commandeering a doomed team of Titans to go back to his roots as the best merc on the planet.

Deathstroke #1
Script: Kyle Higgins
Pencils: Joe Bennett
Inks: Art Thiebert
Colors: Jason Wright
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover: Simon Bisley
Asst Editor: Rickey Purdin
Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Deathstroke: Deathstroke recently got done heading up a team of Titans in order to revive his son. In the process he killed Ryan Choi, the new Atom, and infuriated legions of fans in the process. Now he is back, and doesn’t seem to be much tied to that continuity…

DEATHSTROKE IN NAME ONLY

We haven’t had a Terminator ongoing in a while, but this take on Slade is purportedly a return back to the 90s series that bore his name (the name of this issue is “Back to the Basics”). I read a few issues of that series that I found at a flea market, and I do not see the similarities at all. Kyle Higgins is writing Deathstroke as heartless and cold, killing anyone who he sees as competition and treating his agent/partner Christoph like crap. From what I remember of what I read in the admittedly few issues I saw, Slade was an anti-hero, but not an outright jerk. He treated his partner Wintergreen with respect and friendship, and his family was an important part of his character. Kyle Higgins has mentioned that this take on Slade is putting his family on the backburners as he focuses on being a mercenary, which in my mind is not the right way to handle the character.

Without family, Slade is essentially mimicking the original Joe Kelly Deadpool character, who was conceived as a ripoff of Deathstroke (Wade Wilson vs Slade Wilson, and keep in mind that the best place to do a Death-stroke is in a Dead-pool). You can argue whether or not that original Deadpool was good or not, but no matter what your opinion the facts speak for themselves: the Deadpool we have now is NOT the same Deadpool we had then. The serious take on a mercenary who is only out for themselves doesn’t really work for long, just like an unmasked Peter Parker. If this title wants to be successful it is going to need to find a unique voice.

IS HE A MERCENARY OR A TANK?

From the first cover I was not excited about the redesign of Deathstroke; he is far too armored to convince me that he is going to be a successful assassin/mercenary. For someone who is dependent on quick motions and hand to hand combat, his armor doesn’t seem like it will give him a very large range of motion. The art style is very much the 90s “Deathstrike Bloodforce” hyperviolence and adrenaline-laden type that DC is hoping will appeal to the mid-teenage crowd. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much for me. The artist’s talents are evident on the title, but the style in which he is drawing it just serve to bother me. I feel if Joe Bennett was drawing a different title I would enjoy his work, so I am just going to chalk this one up to editorial mandate.

BOTTOM LINE: I WILL PASS ON THE TERMINATOR

As much as I wanted to like Deathstroke, this series is really not aimed at me. If you’ve come this far in the review then you can probably make an informed decision whether or not you’ll enjoy this book based on my description, but for my part I can only give Deathstroke two out of five stars.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

The Author

Jimmy

Jimmy

Once upon a time, there was a boy. This boy grew up reading classic literature--Moby Dick, The Time Machine, Robinson Crusoe. At age six, his favorite novel was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He devoted his time and efforts into being an incredible nerd, mastering classical literature and scientific history for his school's trivia team. Then he got to college, and started reading comic books. It's been all downhill from there.
Jimmy's favorite writers include Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Gail Simone, Grant Morrison, Chuck Dixon, Mark Waid and Bryan Q. Miller. His favorite artists are Kevin Maguire, Amanda Conner and Alex Ross, and his least favorite grammatical convention is the Oxford Comma. His most frequent typographical gaffe is Randomly Capitalizing Words.

You can follow his lunacy on Twitter at @JimmyTheDunn

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11 Comments

  1. Noobian74
    September 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm — Reply

    Yeah, this screams 90’s. I see no reason for someone that has enhanced agility and speed to wear armor like that.

    Pass.

    • Noobian74
      September 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm — Reply

      The oversized-sword? Is it named “Overkill?”

      • Jimmy
        September 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm — Reply

        I think it’s named “Cloud McStrife”

  2. Eric (CMonocle)
    September 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm — Reply

    Totally agree. This one was a stinker.

  3. September 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm — Reply

    Had no desire to read it, but I haven’t liked Deathstroke since they killed off Wintergreen. Slade was always more fun when he had touch-points with family and friends.

  4. TaZ
    September 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm — Reply

    I could see no reason whatsoever that anyone would have any empathy or sympathy for Slade as a “protagonist” in this series.

  5. Z. Woolf
    September 17, 2011 at 12:15 am — Reply

    I guess I’m going to be in the minority on this book and say that I actually really enjoyed it. I will say that I had no background knowledge of this character whatsoever, just decided I would grab it on Wednesday since it was new. What I ended up really digging in this book was that the title page has the last page. Showing off all the bad-assery then going into the title page made it feel like the beginning of a Bond film to me.

    • Jimmy
      September 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm — Reply

      I’m glad you liked it! This title went a very different path from the one I was hoping it would take, and hopefully it’ll be one that gets plenty of readers–I just won’t be one of them :)

      As Matthew’s so fond of saying, your mileage may vary!

  6. Balian_Ironguard
    September 20, 2011 at 2:56 am — Reply

    My mileage has definately varied into loving this book (course I have the mileage of someone giving DCs stuff a more than cursory glance since the company from the top down is trying something new). Funny enough, I’m in the similar boat to Z. Woolf there. As for empathizing Slade, I’m in it for one reason: Slade’s a ‘John McClane’ sort of anti-hero: an analog man in a digital world (or at least how I’m reading this)… yeah the claymore’s a bit overkill though.

  7. brenton8090
    September 25, 2011 at 7:53 am — Reply

    Another one of the weeks titles that failed to thrill me and often downright annoyed me. I’m done with it. I’ll peek at the next issue, but I’m doubtful that I’ll read the whole thing. The whiny kids, the overdone dialogue, the mystry that fails to catch my attention: nothing new under the sun here, just generic bad-assery.

  8. walker
    September 24, 2012 at 11:22 pm — Reply

    i have to say not such a majority. i haved collected comics in awhile but when i seen deathstroke well lets just say the local comic store is happy to have my business. i like him think he is bad ass and yes he may have some enhanced abilities. but as his armor goes he is gonna need it. look at the guys he is starting to take on. umm lobo for instance. Two thumbs up

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