Wes Reads DC: Deathstroke #1-2: Brutal Brilliance!

Deathstroke #1 Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

After my glowing look at Deathstroke: Rebirth I was hesitant to do another piece on this series. After reading the first two issues of the ongoing, I had to say something. Consider this a slight bit of review but more, here is why I like this. Christopher Priest with the Rebirth issue brought back an extra sense of grit to the DC Universe. Deathstroke’s world isn’t a nice one and as Priest expands on it, the comic is that much better. I won’t be going on a spoiler spree here with this piece so you can read on with peace. A non-stop brutal and violent wonderland awaits you in exploring the life of Slade Wilson. As a comic series, Deathstroke doesn’t shy away from the darkness and that’s wonderful. Read on, join me in my adventure into Deathstroke #1-2.

By the time this is through, you will likely be snagging the first two issues at hyper speed.

Deathstroke #2 DC Rebirth Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

One aspect of DC that I appreciate is how when it does gritty, it does gritty. Deathstroke is a weird character for DC as they’ve never been sure how to portray him. DC was wanting to make him their next antihero and that never gelled as a concept for the most part. The Deathstroke that works is one that portrays Slade Wilson has a terrible person and that’s fine. These two issues continue exploring how dark Slade’s world really is. What I like about Priest’s portrayal of Slade is how he fleshes him out as a character. There’s an understanding as to why he is the way he is. Slade Wilson is Deathstroke, he’s not good, bad, he’s Deathstroke and hopefully you’re not the person he’s after.

Deathstroke doesn’t live in a pretty world, but it is a fascinating one.

Deathstroke #1 Assassin Splash

Copyright: DC Comics

Now we’re dealing with yet another tweak of Slade Wilson’s family but I hope this is the one that sticks. There’s a nice dynamic as to how Slade’s family works from the past with his wife, to his daughter from another woman. Priest deals with all this in a matter of fact way. Even the people in his supporting cast, especially Wintergreen say Slade is not a nice person. It is also shown though if you’re in a firefight, Slade Wilson is a good person to have at your side. He’s not the best friend, he’s not a great dad, not a great husband, but an amazing warrior.

Deathstroke: Terrible Person, Best Fighter Around, That’s Slade Wilson.

Deathstroke #2 Slade Wilson Battle

Copyright: DC Comics

I like how Priest is building Slade up at this point with his adversaries. For a new reader, the new Deathstroke series is a primer on Slade Wilson. If you want to know how he’d handle a non-powered to a super powered character, this is it.  So far this series is keeping Slade Wilson grounded for all the best reasons, making for great storytelling opportunities. Right now the story is someone is after Slade and it’s not clear who it is. There’s one big reveal at the end of issue two that sets up a lot of possibilities for who could be after him. We’re only at part three here and I know there’s more to come. The hits just keep on coming for Slade Wilson.

As the issues go on you learn more about Slade’s family life too and it gets messed up, fast. Every writer at some point or another has a take on Slade Wilson’s family. To be honest from all that I know, this is ten shades of awful, then again this is Slade. All of Slade’s family life takes place in the past and it makes you wonder how this will sort itself out. Priest’s way of jumping between the past and the present as a storytelling technique works wonders here. The layers to this series building within these issues and the Rebirth issue is phenomenal.

There is even more to say here for sure, Deathstroke is just that good.

Now take note as I talk about the story happening here, Deathstroke’s art team is incredible.  In my Deathstroke: Rebirth article I rave a lot about the art team and it all applies here too, such amazing work. In #2 the team of Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Jeromy Cox, and Willie Schubert get another addition, Larry Hama on breakdowns. Hama is a perfect fit for Deathstroke’s world. Pagulayan’s pencil work and Paz’s inking were great, but Hama adds another element to Deathstroke. It’s noticeable how the storytelling got that much tighter with Hama’s breakdowns. Priest has a team here that has shown that they bring his vision to life with sheer ease. It’s exquisite.

This my friends, summing up two issues of Deathstroke, Simply Put, Buy This.

I could go on even more about Deathstroke but it would be overkill. A genuine blast of a book that will keep you engaged for the entire time reading it and you will want more. One of the best in the DC Rebirth line that deserves all the attention it can get. Slade Wilson is a terrible person but as Deathstroke, a terrible person makes for a fascinating series. Buy this comic.

 

 

 

 

Wes Reads: Doom Patrol #1: Young Animal Arrives!

Doom Patrol #1 Young Animal DC Comics Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

Doom Patrol is the start of the Young Animal Imprint at DC Comics. Gerard Way unleashes his distinctive vision for Young Animal within the pages of Doom Patrol. Way’s writing on Doom Patrol gives you an idea of what to expect out of Young Animal. If this is what Young Animal has in store for us, this line of comics will be amazing. I’m part of the crowd with Doom Patrol, I like this comic. The tagline for Young Animal is “Comics for Dangerous Humans”, this fits in a good way here. In every review and opinion I’ve read, all across social media, everyone likes this comic. Here’s where this gets fun, why is it so loved? I’m going to give you my personal reasons why I like this comic as much as I do. To the land of the weird and wonderful with Doom Patrol #1!

Enter the Gyro, You never know what you will find.

Doom Patrol #1 Young Animal Gyro

Copyright: DC Comics

 

As the comic explores about a thousand different concepts in one issue, this is surprisingly friendly to a new reader. Gerard Way sets up the concept as if you know next to nothing about the team you’ll be fine. Now if you know a little to a lot about Doom Patrol then it becomes that much richer for you. Way’s Doom Patrol can be appreciated on any level. My level of Doom Patrol knowledge is moderate but I am weak in my knowledge of Morrison’s run on the series which seems to be a heavy influence here. If you haven’t read any of Morrison’s Doom Patrol, you’ll still be fine. Ideas come at you in many ways here and this is a blast to read no matter what.

You can say that Doom Patrol is Weird but a Good Kind of Weird.

Note the heading, yes this is weird but I am so glad it exists. Casey Brinkle helps in being your guide to the madness around her. No matter what kind of weirdness and craziness comes at you, Way lets Casey be your guide to Doom Patrol. People start exploding, no problem, Casey centers the comic. Gyros being their own worlds, no problem, Casey gives you a way to process this in your mind. Sometimes there are comics out there that throw weird out there just to be weird, this is weird with purpose. Casey is the viewpoint for the new readers while the old readers wonder how she fits in. Casey Brinkle works on both levels and Way makes it seem effortless but the thought behind her shows.

From what I can tell, the Doom Patrol is forming around Casey and she’s become a magnet for weird in the process. In the meantime, while the Doom Patrol is coming back to the scene, there’s something behind the scenes perking up. A strange new food sensation is starting up that is going to factor in amazing and odd ways it seems. The people behind this new food sensation are a nightmare fuel corporate group, while still being slick and shiny. I got a NextWave vibe off of them as to how they acted mixed in with a lot of horrifying corporate focus group shows. Even better that this group is discussing the food in a run of the mill hotel, perfection.

Seriously, Absolute Perfection.

There’s so much to this one issue of Doom Patrol and yet it is still easy to piece it together. Robot Man appears and then has something bonkers happen from the start, which adds another element to the story. I am intrigued by Terry None, that intro was the most off the wall thing but Casey’s reaction to Terry made it priceless. Even more curious as what Robot Man was up to before certain events happened to him. Way even addresses Niles Caulder, the founder of the Doom Patrol, in a random one pager, and it all makes sense. There’s so much meat to this comic and so much going on that I can’t imagine what will happen next.

Where’s the Kaboom? Well right on the image below you can see the kaboom.

Doom Patrol #1 Birthday

Copyright: DC Comics

I haven’t even touched the art on this yet, which is amazing in itself!

Attempting a story such as this requires an art team up to making this vision work. Nick Derrington, Tamra Bonvillain, and Todd Klein are beyond up to the task. Derrington’s art on this is without a doubt phenomenal. The art here captures so much in the emotions of the characters and making this wonderland of madness seem tactile. Way’s story blends the weird and wonderful together swimmingly with Derrington being the one to bring and enhance the world of the Doom Patrol and Derrington does that with perfection.

The Expression on the Cat alone makes it all the more special.

Derrington’s art is only part of what makes Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol great, it’s also the coloring that makes the comic shine. Tamra Bonvillain’s coloring is a masterwork. Bonvillain’s coloring on the Robot Man scenes in the Gyro world are impressive. That painted look to those pages that Derrington drew gives it a unique style all on its own. That’s not to say that the rest of the coloring here isn’t impressive, it’s pure beauty that can’t help but make anyone smile. A bright palette for a strange and sparkly world.

You also can’t help but get a kick out of this page showing the brilliance of all involved with this.

Doom Patrol #1 DC Comics Young Animal Blast

Copyright: DC Comics

Todd Klein’s lettering on this is as amazing as anything else he’s ever done. He’s a legend in the comics industry and Klein makes this book sing through his letters. Unique stylings with an unleashed brilliance to match with Way’s off the wall storytelling. It’s quirky, fun, and engaging lettering, making the lettering as much a part of the art process as anything else. It’s delightful and some of the coolest stuff I have seen in awhile.

Young Animal is going to be a brilliant imprint.

Simply put, buy this comic. If you somehow have managed to miss this book then correct that mistake and read it. We could use more of this madness in comics. A great start for the Young Animal imprint and I’m excited for what’s to come for this series and with the imprint itself.

 

 

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #3: A Fall Before the Storm

Extreme Justice #3 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Extreme Justice #3, yes my friends we are at #3 of the DC Extreme Adventure. Extreme Justice #3 is the conclusion to the first story of this series. At points, this has been a frustrating arc but a fun one. Outside of #0 which gives little to nothing to go on for the series, the rest of the arc got much better over time. Now we near the end of this first adventure.  Hopefully, this issue will continue the upward trend I’ve seen within Extreme Justice thus far. As #2 ended, our heroes were fighting the Beta Team. The battle is the epitome of it’s always darkest before the dawn, the dawn, in this case, being Captain Atom. Captain Atom is back and he’s raring to do some damage to the enemy. Let the battle continue on as we see how this story arc ends in Extreme Justice #3!

The Battle Rages On as Extreme Justice #3 Begins with an Angry Captain Atom!

 

Extreme Justice #3: Captain Atom Returns!

Copyright: DC Comics

That image is the perfect opening shot for this article. Yes, I am playing with the format but for an opening shot that cool, worth it. As this page sets up a comic that goes at full speed without stopping for a minute. Even in the quiet moments, there’s always some kind of action going on. If ever you could say one comic is nothing but high octane action, this is it. Dan Vado went for writing a big splashy finish to the first storyline and it accomplished that. It gave Marc Campos, Ken Branch, and Lee Loughridge a lot to work with. Campos goes with pure dynamic layouts in the fight scenes giving added energy to even the quietest moments in between. Branch adds a strong line to make the fight scenes that much stronger with a bold line. Add in Loughridge’s popping coloring and you have a party.

One of my favorite panels, a cool punch will always win me over. Stylized and Awesome.

Extreme Justice #3 Amazing-Man Punch!

Copyright: DC Comics

Vado veered towards giving the art team a chance to show off, which in theory isn’t a bad idea. You get the powerhouse return of Captain Atom and he’s not slowing down for anyone. It also let the team have some fun moments too so that’s cool. There are many creative and exciting pages with everything but the kitchen sink thrown at the team. With all of this happening it doesn’t give much time for the final part of the story to breathe. I like a good high-intensity finale but this was a little much. In my case, I now get to figure out how to make this digestible for you and for me. Let’s get this part of the party started.

In the land of revelations, I was wrong about The Beta Team. They weren’t robots, they were grown soldiers to help out General/Mister Synge in his campaign. Synge’s campaign is for Freedom, think every nutty conspiracy you’ve ever seen or heard, that’s Synge’s campaign. A little over simplified but the comic only gives a loose depiction of it anyway. This all comes at you at rapid-fire and Vado doesn’t really explore everything. Hence why I feel the story is rushed, also makes my frustrations over #0 that much more pronounced as that issue could have been used to better effect.

Cool art is one thing but give me some genuine payoff to a storyline, please.

With every revelation, the Beta Team eventually betraying Mister Synge and his conversation with Captain Atom has little effect. It’s weird that all these big climatic reveals and eventual death of Mister Synge, and I felt nothing. There are cool character moments with Amazing-Man and the rest of the cast which redeems the issue. If it wasn’t for Vado’s handling of the team and the fun art, this would have been tougher to read, to say the least.

After all that though there’s a spark of life at the end of the tunnel. In a weird sense it feels as though Vado set up this action packed but overall meaningless arc for one reason. The reason being, Firestorm. That’s right the Firestorm story with Ronnie Raymond finally kicks into high gear. The situation has become grim with Ronnie and his leukemia. Nothing is working to help treat it and Ronnie is feeling hopeless.  That’s until the big payoff kicks into gear and our next story begins. Firestorm has arrived into the Extreme Justice Universe! Bless you Dan Vado, bless you.

All it took was for me to see the final page and I am already excited for what’s to come.

Firestorm Returns: Extreme Justice #3

Copyright: DC Comics

That’s story arc one in the books for Extreme Justice and the DC Extreme reading journey. I’m already working on how to set up the next issue as you read this. Until next time, thanks for reading and always remember, stay Extreme!

If you’re just starting the Extreme Justice Journey, feel free to catch up with the links below.

DC Extreme: Exploring Extreme Justice #0: Hello 90’s!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #1: It Makes Sense!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #2: Yay Character Development!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #2: Yay Character Development!

Extreme Justice #2 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Back to the DC Extreme Universe with Extreme Justice #2! After the events of Extreme Justice #1, life is tense for our new team. First of all, Captain Atom is out of the picture. For a team to be successful it needs some kind of leader. Any other team would have called it a day after that. Of course, this team is made of sterner stuff and they have a job to do. The mystery of Mount Thunder intensifies in #2. Our Beta Team pals are only the beginning of the craziness lying within this hostile new headquarters. Our story is starting to heat up now. What will Extreme Justice do now without Captain Atom? Will the team survive his loss? Let the mystery be revealed as I venture forth into Extreme Justice #2.

I feel my desire for Crystal Pepsi rising as I return to Extreme Justice once more.

In adventures of Extreme Justice, this issue is the toughest to get a handle on. General Synge has one big evil villain moment but that’s about it for him in this issue. In all honesty, I was this close to combining this one with #3 and calling it a day. As per anything in this crazy universe of ours, something within this issue struck me. One special aspect that I’d been clamoring for since #0, character development. What’s frustrating for me as a reader of Extreme Justice so far is characters, namely Maxima and Amazing-Man, getting little to no development. Oh sure Maxima and Amazing-Man have things to do but even Booster Gold was lost in the shuffle too. Extreme Justice is the Blue Beetle and Captain Atom show at this stage of the game. Dan Vado knocking Captain Atom out of commission gives the team the development they need.

Extreme Justice #2 Aftermath

Copyright: DC Comics

A lesson for Extreme Justice: Character Development is Beautiful.

In any good team book, the key is to make every member of the group feel necessary. While Vado has each of the characters showing off a skill or two, they never seem to gel as a team. By the end of this issue, Extreme Justice begins to become a true team comic. Character development, it’s a magical thing. Even the bad guys get a moment of character development. The Beta Team robots that General Synge controls start to show personality. Synapse is the head robot over the robots in Beta Team called Kill-Units, but they don’t really want to kill. A nice twist on the formula of robot killers of the period, of course, Synapse is a jerk and zaps a Kill-Unit showing doubt in the mission. Heroes and Villains getting character development, I love it.

Extreme Justice: Giving me a dose of wonderful robot fights, so many robot fights.

Extreme Justice #2 Blue Beetle vs. Robots

Copyright: DC Comics

As we dive into the rest of the issue, our team gels together personality wise and now they can become a fighting force. Of course, even as they get over the hump of Amazing-Man doubts and more issues, they are dealing with a tough foe. One thing about Captain Atom, he’s tough as nails to kill if anything he’s nigh impossible to kill. Since he is also the official leader of the team as you know and I know, Captain Atom returns at the end. How does he return? The mystery will have to be revealed at a later date as that’s how Extreme Justice #2 ends.

This is a shorter recap of Extreme Justice than I’d like but that’s because there’s not a lot of big moments here. Marc Campos and Ken Branch were given many chances to show off at least. In between the short but needed character development Vado put in, this was a heavy action issue. I get the feeling Vado knew this could have been a slow issue so he piled on the action and it worked. The simple bits work in a comic at points, just enough character and a ridiculous amount of robot fighting. I am but a simple man and Extreme Justice plays to it in this issue.

As always thank you all for your support in my Extreme Justice adventures. Until next time, make sure to tune to this GWL Station and as I return with Extreme Justice #3!

 

If this is your first DC Extreme Justice adventure, never fear! Look below to catch up with the rest of the adventure!

DC Extreme: Exploring Extreme Justice #0: Hello 90’s!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #1: It Makes Sense!

 

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #1: It Makes Sense!

Extreme Justice #1 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Welcome back to the ongoing mission to read the entire series of Extreme Justice. Here we are at #1 of the somewhat remembered Justice League series. Extreme Justice had a rocky start with #0 notably making me wonder about this comic in the first place. Moments of cool are one thing, but there has to be a reason to care about a series. The cast is likable enough. Captain Atom is a good team leader. You even have a version of the classic Blue and Gold/Blue Beetle and Booster Gold duo here too. With Maxima and Amazing Man having trouble finding their place in Extreme Justice at this stage. So what will happen from here? Only one way to find out. Time to see what is in store for our Extreme Team as we head into Extreme Justice #1.

Time to get our Extreme 90’s Caps on!

Last issue in Extreme Justice Mount Thunder was introduced into the series. This from what I’m seeing will be the headquarters of our series. As this issue starts to give more background into how big the place is. There’s more details on the villain of the piece, Mister or should I say, General Synch revealed too. Synch is in charge of Mount Thunder and isn’t happy that our team is there. Turns out Mount Thunder is a massive complex; one place in particular called The Neighborhood is revealed in this issue. Synch is now trying to get the team out of there, one way or another. Which gives us a fun few pages as we start off the issue the first team gets more than they bargained for. Let’s just say, Captain Atom knows how to avoid a useless fight.

Sometimes in comics avoiding the ridiculous fight is a good thing.

This is the issue where Captain Atom gets some strong development as the leader of the team. Vado establishes why Captain Atom is the leader of Extreme Justice. One of Atom’s old friend’s is in charge of the group sent into Mount Thunder, a man by the name of Crater. Crater doesn’t want to really have this fight but he’s just following orders. Of course another person tries to go after Atom as Crater talks to his friend and Maxima comes into play and is awesome. Vado gives Maxima something to do this issue, bless you comic, bless you. Atom gets Crater to realize that if Maxima is there, there’s likely more where that came from. Crater gets his team out of there and Captain Atom shows why he is the best leader for Extreme Justice.

From here on, I am going to be spoiling bits of a 20+ year old comic so here’s your warning.

Captain Atom and Maxima Extreme Justice DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Even better with how Captain Atom handles the battle at their doorstep, he explains the reason behind Extreme Justice. That conversation should have happened with #0 but better now rather than later. Ted Kord as Blue Beetle is the speaker for the audience, he’s saying what we’re thinking about this team. A needed discussion that explains why Extreme Justice is even a thing. While #0 had many exciting moments, this is where I started to feel that Extreme Justice could start to truly connect with me. Dan Vado adding a few pages to illuminate the concept, that’s all it took.

So much makes sense now about Extreme Justice within the span of a few pages. Thank you Ted Kord.

Captain Atom and Blue Beetle Extreme Justice #1

Copyright: DC Comic

As a first time reader of Extreme Justice, I knew little to nothing about this. 90’s art was the only major thing I knew of this series. Never even knew who was on the team until I read #0. Now knowing why the team exists, this makes sense now. Take note of this, these pages I post here are why Ted Kord is one of the best DC characters no matter who writes him. Hence in the first recap why I said Dan Vado writes a good Ted Kord and he succeeds triumphantly with his characterization of him.

Take note, Dan Vado writes a good Captain Atom too.

Captain Atom and Ted Kord Extreme Justice #1 DC Comics

Firestorm/Ronnie Raymond’s story picks up a little more steam as he goes back to the Justice League Headquarters. Only he sees that the place is now gone and I was desperately wishing for an editorial note to tell me what happened. I was happy to see Oberon and Skeets though, Oberon being a classic of this period of Justice League and Skeets being Booster Gold’s Robot Pal. This was during the odd Booster Gold full armor period and editorial notes would be so nice to have right now. I digress a little though as this sets up Ronnie Raymond’s purpose in this series, to find a cure for his Leukemia with Skeets helping him to find the Extreme Justice team. Take note, I have no idea how the story ends so this will be fun for all of us.

The rest of the issue is Mount Thunder exploration time! Now we’re dealing with the rest of the people who are inside Mount Thunder with our oddball Justice League team. Early on I mentioned the Neighborhood and even the title page notes it, the place looks like Leave it to Beaver. Of course the massive battle that finishes off our comic is far from the peace this Neighborhood gives off. There’s only so much to dive into with the battle, it’s bonkers, it’s fun, and that’s the battle. Amazing-Man gets a few cool moments with his power and Maxima gets a little more to do. By the end though there is a classic what in the world moment in comics, Captain Atom is gone. Imagining the reactions of fans of this period sounds priceless right now.

The most horrible things happen to characters in classic sitcom settings.

Amazing-Man and Maxima Extreme Justice #1 DC Comics

Nearing the end of this article, you all are wanting me to comment on the art. Marc Campos is an artist of that period, but better than a lot of the Extreme artists of the time. Not saying the work is perfect but there are some great designs in the book, especially with the Beta Team near the end of the issue. The Neighborhood has a nice, classic feel to it that I personally enjoy. Yet poor Maxima, her body gets contorted in so many strange ways. Even the guys have issues but Maxima is where the issues are glaring. Ken Branch helps on the inking here, giving it a stronger look and Campos does improve with his panel work here too. Everything is much improved here. Want to know my favorite part of the art team? Lee Loughridge’s coloring is sensational. Great work with light and shadows and a lot of classic pop and sizzle within the action of the comic.

In this crazy life of ours at times seeing cool robot designs makes the universe brighter.

Extreme Justice #1 Marc Campos Robots

Time to close the book on Extreme Justice #1 and prepare myself for #2 in the meantime. Thank you all for reading my DC Extreme adventure, I appreciate the response so far. Trying to not go for the obvious snark and humor with this series is tough but fun. It’s nice to dive into a series that’s never been looked at with a semi-serious tone before but that’s what I’m attempting here. Stick with me on this ride as trust me, it’s only going to get more entertaining from here. Till next time, stay Extreme!

Same Extreme Time, Same Extreme Blog, Stay tuned to the geekwholanded.com for more Extreme Justice!

If you missed part of the DC Extreme, here’s what has been covered so far below!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #0