Strong style and writing helps get through a series of confusing timelines and unfortunate caricatures.
Deathstroke #10 (DC Comics)
Some comics are easy to jump right in and join in. Others are so mired in lore or exposition or momentum that coming in anywhere but the beginning leaves a reader completely lost. Unfortunately, Deathstroke is a series that falls in the latter category.
Across multiple timelines we see Slade and his progeny come to grips with who they are as people, be it as an imprisoned mercenary reliving his past, a mute hero coming to terms with his growing powerset, or a teenaged badass rediscovering her roots.
Cary Nord’s pencils, though highly stylized and occasionally hard to read, offer the world of Deathstroke a unique feel. The art hits its highest notes during Slade’s flashback, as the action is solid, though occasionally awkward (Seeing a warlord get shot in the head, for example, in a panel where the sound of the shot is positioned before his dying words).
It’s at it’s weakest, conversely, during Rose’s time in Minneapolis, where the pencils become muddy and the actual fight feels awkwardly choreographed. The art, however, is considerably easier to take than the odd phonetic ebonics spewing from many of the characters in this segment. The awkward spelling issues are exacerbated by the fact many of the characters appear to be speaking Hmong, a cultural language for people in mountainous east Asia that – one might assume – most readers won’t be familiar with it.
On the positive side, as this is arguably a legacy book following three members of the Wilson family, each section has its own voice and Slade, Jericho and Ravager all feel like their own characters. It’s easy to overlook for a casual reader, but it’s a talent that not all writers can bring to the table.
Aside from expanding the backstory of Slade’s time in Serbia, this issue felt like a bit of a placeholder. Not a lot happens, we see Slade get sprung from his imprisonment to cap the book off and the mystery about what’s happening with Jericho gets fed a bit, but otherwise, this issue has no real meat to it.
Heading into a new arc, things should pick up quite a bit for the family that slays together. For now, though, issue 10 is a bit of a dud.