Deathstroke just faced off against Batman, so how about we pit him against Superman and see how that plays out?
Deathstroke #7 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The full summary reads:
“The Professional” part seven! After Deathstroke confronts the enemy behind Wintergreen’s abduction and the attempted murder of his daughter, he soon finds himself abandoned on a suicide mission where he confronts an unbeatable foe-the Man of Steel!
Why does this book matter?
Aside from setting up a seemingly impossible battle this issue also delves deeper into Dr. Ikon and the suit that he wore. On top of that, Deathstroke has a major battle with his… ex. Dun dunn dunnnn!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Damn, he’s strong.
This issue is bookended with the Superman stuff setting up the battle for next issue, but also allowing writer Christopher Priest to get inside Superman’s head. He reminds us Superman fights for no nation, nor does he follow any orders from governments (Dark Knight Returns Superman this ain’t). That said, the question of why he hasn’t stopped Deathstroke before does seem like a valid one, which takes up the first full page of this issue. It then cuts to events that occur after the last page, then transitions to Dr. Ikon’s story.
The Dr. Ikon scene is possibly the best of the entire issue primarily because it offers up some superhero fun. Priest explains how the suit works complete with some action packed close calls. There’s also a bit of mind control that’s used that’s fun, especially when a bystander is confused by it; the segment adds a bit of reality to the super abilities of Dr. Ikon, which is important for a grounded character like Deathstroke.
Deathstroke encountering his ex-wife is a lot of fun too adding some comedy to the violent world of Slade. Like Mr. And Mrs. Smith, it’s clear these two are killers and that violence extends to their spats. The fact that his ex-wife’s current husband Barry is not impressed or even shocked by their violence adds a nice comedic flair.
The art by Carlo Pagulayan (with inks by Jason Paz and colors by Jeromy Cox) is detailed and illustrative. A double page spread of Superman pulling a battleship has the perfect amount of awe and scope to remind us Deathstroke is very much outmatched. The Dr. Icon scenes are wildly fun too, reminding us flying isn’t as simple as heroes make it out to be. The comedy in the issue lands largely because of the artistic team too. Barry is not impressed with a show of guns and knives when most should be and it’s sold by his nonplussed expressions.
A very cool scene indeed!
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s a lot of time shifting in this issue – much like most of the series – and I’m not sure it’s all that necessary. It mixes up the action well enough, but it forces the reader to pause and reassess to be clear what’s going on in the narrative.
Is It Good?
This is the stuff superhero comics should be made of. Priest makes even the most unrealistic aspects of superheroes feel grounded, which is particularly important for a character like Deathstroke. This issue properly sets up the big Superman showdown while delivering funny moments and interesting details on another hero.