The cool thing about Deathstroke is that, while yes he’s a contract killer, he wasn’t always just cashing in on his ability to kill; he had to learn his skills elsewhere, which means he had to have had some friends along the way, which is what this series is all about.
We ask the usual question with the latest issue, Deathstroke #2: is it good?
Deathstroke #2 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
“The Professional” part 2! Deathstroke investigates a connection between Wintergreen’s kidnapping and their old special ops unit to find out which of Slade’s trusted inner circle has betrayed him!
Why does this book matter?
This series has done a good job showing Slade’s (primarily through Deathstroke’s kids) humanity without making him seem like a hero. It establishes he’s a person, who might care about others from time to time, but that he’s still more than capable of killing. That’s intriguing, especially when our society seems to cast any murderer as a psycho evil villain.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The best element of Deathstroke #2 is how it flashes back to a moment Slade had with his old killer buddies and their meeting in a bar. Though they’re all much older now, deft parallels of the characters during their youth and in the present give us a good sense of who they are. We’re also privy to a key moment between the characters that reveals cold blooded murder isn’t necessarily something they’re all into. It’s clear writer Christopher Priest is establishing how Deathstroke is a bit different from the rest of these guys and possibly never ready to retire. The entire issue has an espionage feel to it and it feels quite adult-themed all along the way.
That’s especially true in a violent sequence where a character attempts to see someone and inflicts insane violence on two folks ready to take him out. The violence is reminiscent of the Bourne Identity as it’s quite good at showing precise ultra violence. Larry Hama does a great job breaking down the comic and Carlo Pagulayan renders it all with a vivid amount of detail. The inks by Jason Paz round everything off with a darker tone that suits the subject matter.
Plus there’s superhero stuff in this issue. It’s nice to see Priest pit Deathstroke against Dr. Ikon (I think that’s his name), but also establish they were old buddies. It’s also neat to learn Deathstroke had help to make the suit he wears, but also has skeletons in his closet too.
It can’t be perfect can it?
New readers will be quite lost if they drop in now so I advise not to. The complexity of Slade’s past and the friends he had is interesting, but it’s hard to gauge where the story is going and why.
See, what did I say?!
Is It Good?
Strong use of flashbacks reveal Deathstroke is much more complicated than you ever thought. The series feels like a solid espionage title with breakneck violence and even more dangerous secrets to be revealed.