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 Deathstroke: Rebirth #1: Christopher Priest Returns to DC!

Deathstroke Rebirth #1 Cover

Copyright: DC Comics with Cover by ACO and Romulo Fajardo Jr.

In the New 52, DC had a tough time with an ongoing for one character in particular, Deathstroke. At his core Deathstroke is a tough character to build an ongoing around as by nature, he’s not easy to connect with. Yet with the right set up, Slade Wilson as Deathstroke can be a compelling read. I remember when the DC Rebirth announcements hit and Christopher Priest on Deathstroke surprised me. Deathstroke became a comic for me personally to get excited about because if this character is where Priest returns to an ongoing series, this has got to be good. Quietly I’ve been awaiting this comic and I’ve been waiting to see what Priest has in store for us as readers. I am surprised that they’re doing a Rebirth rather than going into a #1 but from reading this issue, I can see why a Rebirth issue was needed here. So does Priest have the magic touch once more to get readers hooked into Deathstroke? Well there’s only one way to find out, let’s dive into Deathstroke: Rebirth #1 and go back into the brutal world of Slade Wilson once more.

Deathstroke Rebirth Title Deathstroke the Professional

Copyright: DC Comics, Letterer: Willie Schubert

First off with Deathstroke: Rebirth #1, you can tell that this is a Christopher Priest comic from the get go. The black box with white text giving you the slightest hint of what you’re in for is that instant sign that this is a Priest book. You see Slade Wilson being a Dad, an awful Dad at points, but a Dad nonetheless. On the other hand you see Slade as Deathstroke and what mission he’s on right now. You get many sides of the character, Mercenary, Dad, and altogether a complete character study of sorts. Best part about Deathstroke: Rebirth is you don’t need to know that much about Deathstroke going into this. Priest is making a point to show all the sides of Slade Wilson and how he operates. For every moment that Slade has that second where he might not be so terrible, he immediately becomes terrible again. Slade Wilson is not a good person and Priest doesn’t shy away from that. Priest is starting off his run on Deathstroke by doing some amazing character work with him from the start. There’s a lot of action and intensity here but the character work here is top notch.

deathstroke-rebirth-dc-comics-priest-pagulayan-battle

Copyright: DC Comics Art Team: Pencils: Carlo Pagulayan, Inks: Jason Paz, Colorist: Jeromy Cox

You get a slow intro to Slade Wilson’s supporting cast in the book too, mostly Hosun his tech support, eventually Slade’s Kids, and another character I won’t mention because of spoilers. This isn’t a slow burn book by any means, yet Priest is making it clear, Deathstroke is the major focus and everything else is forming around him. This isn’t a light book either, some humorous moments yet but this book is dark without a doubt. Which shows in the art of the series, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, and Jeromy Cox, make for a powerhouse art team here. It’s realistic, and tough as nails art and I like it. Pagulayan has a style fit for Slade’s world, it’s tough and suited for the fluid action scenes here. Paz’s inks add a tight line to the work, giving extra emphasis to Pagulayan’s art making it that much stronger. Jeromy Cox’s colors are muted for this, this is not a bright and shiny world that we’re in here and the colors show it. I would say the brightest coloring in the comic is the desert as Slade Wilson is talking to his current employer in the bright desert but the horrors around him are shaded in hushed and dark tones. The art for this series fits the character and sets the mood for darker things to come.

Deathstroke: Rebirth sets up Slade Wilson as a genuine bad guy and that’s amazing. No gimmicks, nothing fancy, just Slade Wilson being Slade Wilson. This is a back to basics for Slade Wilson and it’s been sorely needed. Now this may not be a series everyone will end up digging, this isn’t a light read by any means but it is good reading for sure if you’re into it. It adds more than a couple cool ideas into Slade’s world and I can’t help but like that. If you’re a big Deathstroke fan or just want a good tough action series, look no further than Deathstroke: Rebirth.