Deathstroke vs. Ra’s Al Ghul. But wait, they have a common enemy, so who does Deathstroke fight? Two questions remain: Who ya got, and is it good?
Deathstroke #19 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official DC synopsis reads:
With the life of his daughter Rose hanging in the balance, Slade Wilson is forced into a tense alliance with Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins. And before he can carry out his vendetta against Victor Ruiz and his mercenary army, Slade must first engage in a violent rematch with his latest deadly foes, Lawman and Snakebite. Can Deathstroke survive this all-out “Blood Feud”?
Why does this book matter?
Writer James Bonny has really ratcheted up the stakes for Deathstroke, hasn’t he? A daughter dying, a pact with one of the most evil men in the world, and two of his nemeses on their way to off them all. Sounds like a fantastic setup for a climax!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
“The tables have turned Mr. Bond…”
I went into this issue knowing not a thing, but came away quite entertained and intrigued on where the story is going. Not every comic can say that, and that’s in large part due to some good plotting by Bonny, some stylistic and fluid looking art from Paolo Pantalena and some fun plot twists too. Plus there’s a nice summary to open the book which helped quite a bit to get right into the action.
The art by Pantalena is quite something, reminding me of the art in the recent TMNT/Batman crossover with art by Freddie E Williams II. Though Deathstroke’s helmet is metal it is curved and somewhat weathered, making it quite addicting to look at. Action continues to be just as fluid with a cartoony feel though everything is rendered with a good amount of detail. There’s a fantastic full page spread of Deathstroke dodging some poison stingers that’s delightful (and brings some nice gore too).
If you don’t like fighting in your comics you may not like this, because there is a lot of that. Bonny sets this up with a good amount of stakes and reasoning for Deathstroke’s motivation too. Lingering above all of this is Ra’s who knows he’s getting a big chip out of this poker match. Bonny doesn’t let up in this issue, with Deathstroke having to make some hard choices while death squads are on the way. By the end of the issue Bonny proves Deathstroke is a very heroic character who just signed a deal with the devil. Nice work!
It can’t be perfect can it?
Ultimately this is a shoot ’em up action comic that’s light on character development. If you like some fast action and some good reasoning behind it all, this comic delivers. If that’s not what you want you probably won’t like this.
Some of the art does seem a tad inconsistent, which is really my only gripe. Deathstroke looks stubby and short in some panels and long and huge in others. It’s somewhat unnoticable, but it can take you out of the reading experience.
Don’t do it!
Is It Good?
Deathstroke delivers tight action with clever buy-in for our hero to fight like there’s no tomorrow.