Even setting aside the Bat-Bastardization of Bruce Wayne’s “No Killing” rule in the latest cinematic offering from DC comics, Deathstroke has always been an excellent alternative mirror image to the Bat in terms of just how bad things get when you let yourself kill the baddies, instead of just locking them up.
Now, he’s not a terrible character – far from it – but his reliance on death to tidy up loose ends has painted him into a pretty typical villain corner for decades, and this book is trying to open a little tiny gap into his softer side. So let’s talk Deathstroke #5 – and how this roadtrip, father/daughter bonding series gets upstaged by a father/son pair.
Deathstroke #5 (DC Comics)
A Robin, with an attitude = yes, please
Slade has a problem. As shown in issues 1-4, someone is on the hunt for his daughter – and seeing as his two sons have both died in the past because he’s such a shitty father, he’s going to do his damndest to not go 3/3.
On the other side of this cage match? Batman and Robin – a father and son of a different sort.
Here’s an observation – Damian is far closer to the ideals of Deathstroke when he first meets Bruce, and it’s only under his father’s tutelage that he finds a higher way, and stops killing his opponents. Meanwhile – DC holds Slade up as an example of a obsessive and gruff, father figure, with little concern for the feelings of his offspring — he’s basically there to make sure they’re trained to protect themselves and then he’s off. Both Batman and Deathstroke have lost “children” to the wars they fight…so is Batman’s way truly better – or is it just a way to salvage his own soul?
Enough deep thoughts, check Batman’s entrance:
“Oh hold on honey – Batman just showed up, gotta run – dinner’s in the fridge!”
And his response to the fact that Deathstroke has kidnapped Robin:
DATS COLD BATSY
Is It Good?
I found myself enjoying this issue quite a bit – but at the expense of all the major players. Slade is barely in it, Rose is an assassin with a heart of gold (snore), and Batman seems pretty awesome and all knowing, but the true star of this issue is Damian.
Captured, but playing his own game – he stays calm under pressure and has some of the best lines in the entire Deathstroke run to date.
So how do I score this one? I’ll go 8 out of 10. The main character of the book is boring or absent, but the guest stars make it shine.