Or – “The Cover Does Not Fill Me With Hope.”
I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of Rob Liefeld, but even I have to say that it’s impressive to see him staying in steady work for over 25 years in the volatile comic industry. A highly controversial creator, it seems everybody has an opinion on Rob, and his New 52 work has been no exception. One thing that has become VERY clear that he has a deep love for Slade Wilson as a character, but will that translate into a good comic? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Writer: Rob Liefeld
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Inker(s): Adelso Corona, Cory Hamscher & Art Thibert
Colorist(s): Juan Fernandez & Ross Hughes
Letterer: Travis Lamham
Editor: Brian Smith
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously, in Deathstroke: Slade Wilson, in the old continuity, was the greatest mercenary in history, even with only one eye. Since the advent of the New 52, he has been more or less the same, fighting and fighting and mutants and fighting and stuff, but has discovered that his son Grant (aka The Ravager) may still be alive. None of that matters right now, though, because we’re about to see the Origin of Deathstroke!
AS SEEN IN THE JUDAS CONTRACT…
The cover of this issue is almost spectacularly unattractive to me, with a massive, impossibly proportioned Deathstroke falling through the cover (reminiscent of Giant-Size X-Men #1, now that I think about it.) But the first pages make it so much worse, as we see Slade Wilson in the army, learning his trade as a super-assassin. (Not THAT Super-Assassin.) If you’ve ever read ‘The Judas Contract,’ where we first read the origin of Deathstroke (as done by Marv Wolfman and George Perez) then much of this issue should be no surprise to you. Rob is very respectful of that original story, to the point of using entire scenes and conversations in this story. I can’t decide whether I like or hate this technique, because what they’re retelling is a VERY good story. Of course, there are some changes, as one of his first missions is apparently to recover the Black Diamond of Eclipso from it’s Pacific Island hiding place, and his team includes Grifter, the future Black Canary, Amanda Waller and Alex Fairchild, the father of Fairchild from Gen 13. Slade’s best friend Wintergreen gets aged down a few decades (as well as changing race), but we still see the first outing of Deathstroke trying to save him from captivity, but all in all, the backstory is mostly the same, save for some unnecessary bits of topical reference (Slade’s mission to knock out North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, for one.)
THE ANATOMY OF NO ANATOMY.
It should come as no surprise that the art in this issue isn’t very good, although Liefeld has improved somewhat since his heyday on X-Force. The multiple inkers make for an inconsistent artistic experience throughout the issue, and the attempts to draw military weapons and clothing (notably the laughable army boots on display) are pretty giggle-worthy. As with the story, there are visual references to Slade’s origin back in New Teen Titans as well, which work against the effect. Most severely, the narration is done by Adeline Kane, Slade Wilson’s ex-wife, leading to the last page return of Jericho to the New 52, undermined for me by the fact that this also happened the LAST time they told this story. By the end of the issue, my reaction was one of complete disinterest, as I haven’t been particularly interested in Deathstroke’s new solo series, and this issue is one of contrasts. On the one hand, they’re trying to freshen up Slade’s Bronze Age origins, but on the other, they’re being almost TOO respectful of the source material, to the point where it feels like they’re not on the same page. Are we all new, all different or not? This issue has no idea at all…
THE BOTTOM LINE: PROBABLY AN EASY SKIP.
I don’t want to be harsh or cruel, but this issue was absolutely unnecessary. The promise of Deathstroke’s origin was fulfilled, but that fulfillment was pretty much a retelling of a story from 1984 with a few new barnacles thrown on to make it feel different. The art was sub-par from top to bottom, and the best lines of the issue were written by Marv Wolfman and not the current creative team. Deathstroke #0 doesn’t get the job done in either story or art, and while it might be of interest to fans of the artist or diehard fans of the character, but I wouldn’t want to pay 3 dollars for it, earning a disappointed by not at all unexpected 1 out of 5 stars overall.