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 DC Universe: Rebirth #1: A Universe Reborn

DC Universe: Rebirth #1 Cover

DC Universe: Rebirth #1 has arrived after months of anticipation as to what DC Rebirth would entail. This was already going to be a special book as it launched DC Rebirth but even more so as this book is kind of event is what Geoff Johns thrives on. Johns is a rare breed of writer that excels on stories that tend to put things back in place and still managing to make it a good read. In my own case I’ve been excited for this book since it was announced and overall the entire DC Rebirth line. Now I have read DC Universe: Rebirth and mostly processed all of the events within the book. There is going to be much discussion in the months to come about this book and in turn throughout the entire DC Rebirth line itself. DC Universe: Rebirth #1 is a book that is huge on many accounts as there is a few surprises that I didn’t expect to see as somehow I managed to dodge a few spoilers as this book was about to launch. As I have been someone who has enjoyed a lot of DC Comics over the years, this one was special to me as well as I have always wanted to embrace the DCU the way I have in the past. It was a hit or miss affair with me and the New 52 and I had to wonder what DC Universe: Rebirth would have in store for me as well as other comic fans, apparently more than anyone imagined.

(Take note, from here on I am going to spoil the living nightmare out of DC Universe: Rebirth, this is your spoiler warning so if you don’t want to know what happens, stop reading now. You have been warned.)

Not sure how much reviewing there will be here for DC Universe: Rebirth as to put it bluntly I liked it, yet I will say it shows no mercy for new readers. That is probably the only criticism I have, it is a good read but if you are new to the DCU then you are going to have an adventure on your hands as a new reader. There are parts where it is easy to dive into in the aspects of the intros to the Blue Beetle series, Green Lantern, and so forth, but the Superman stuff is going to fly the heck over some heads, pun not intended. The fascinating aspect of DC Universe: Rebirth is how insane Geoff Johns went with it, this is some high level DC deep cutting in the best ways possible. We got Legion of Super Heroes getting set back up with Saturn Girl making an appearance and then Johnny Thunder appearing again in a rest home and getting the Justice Society of America seed in place. Destroying Pandora from the New 52 and restoring Wally West back to the DC Universe as a Flash once more. DC Rebirth has only started to play the game though as there is one bit that will likely be discussed heavily in the months to come, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen is a major force in DC Universe.

There is a simple statement to be gotten out of DC Universe: Rebirth as it explores everything within the DCU and uses Dr. Manhattan and  Ozymandias as Manhattan is talking to Adrian Veidt at the end. The Dr. Manhattan bit explains why Pandora, who created the New 52, was killed the way she was. I actually didn’t think about that part until later when I put the Dr. Manhattan pieces together. Geoff Johns went heavy into DC Continuity here and adding Watchmen characters to the mix is huge as no one could have seen this coming. Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias working together on some massive DC Universe style attack or is there more to it? We’ll learn more over the coming years as it seems this is a slow burn sort of situation with the Watchmen being involved in this. I never thought we would be in a world where the Watchmen would be used in this way but here we are.

DC Universe: Rebirth #1 Splash Page

DC Universe: Rebirth does one major thing right though, it unites the DC Universe once more. Everything is connected and legacy is fully restored to the DCU. There is much to dissect in the coming months and years as to where this will all go. That Johns managed to make this into a good story is an impressive feat in itself. This is why I’ve been saying this comic is insane but in a good way. Yes, the New 52 is for all intents and purposes dead. This is a DC Universe built on the foundation of the old universe and taking aspects of the New 52, while killing the bits that everyone hated. This is DC Comics welcoming back its old fans and saying come back to us. While welcoming new ones to a point, this isn’t the most new reader friendly book but it tries, by golly it tries. As it tries, there are many factors that still welcome in new readers in the introductions to new and exciting concepts within the story.

Take note of this too, the entire art team involved in this series worked wonder in making Geoff Johns vision for DC Universe: Rebirth come to life. Ivan Reis, Gary Grank, Ethan Van Sciver, Phil Jimenez, and more all did such great work here. It’s easy to let all the tremendous work of the art team get lost in the monumental achievement this comic is. I would feel terrible in letting their contributions go unnoticed here as there is some great art in the mix of the powerful amount of story lying within these 80 pages.

DC Universe: Rebirth is a comic that by all intents and purposes shouldn’t work as well as it does. Geoff Johns has done Green Lantern and The Flash smoothly but this was the entire DC Universe, this was on paper a herculean effort. Somehow though, Johns made the whole comic book work. It’s not perfect but for what it does it is impressive. Got me excited about DC Rebirth and happy to see what else DC Comics has in store over the coming years. An amazing experience and one that will be talked about for years to come.