After unearthing a copycat Deathstroke taking out gangbangers in Chicago, Slade is looking to get to the bottom of it all. Meanwhile, Jericho is having violent flashbacks to his timely dispatching of Dr. Isherwood, and Ravager is…fending off marriage proposals. It’s an uneven issue.
Deathstroke #12 (DC Comics)
When we last left our hero (?), Deathstroke was in Chicago following the trail of a copycat killer murdering violent gang members across The Windy City (and Philadelphia before it) after being broken out of prison by foreign terrorist king (and in no way transparently inverted DC palette swap of Black Panther) the Red Lion. This month we fill in a little of the backstory of how Mr. Wilson made it out to Chicago, and see him track down the man behind the other black and orange battle suit.
As an ‘A’ story in what has become an ensemble book, Slade again manages to have the most interesting developments of the three protagonists. The scene where he interacts with his ex-wife is a good character moment (even if it introduces a concept the rest of the book fails to make sense of), his interrogation of Dex shows his clever (and somewhat witty) side, and then his confrontation of the Raptor at the end sets up the central conflict for the rest of the arc. It’s a flawed story but it’s one that moves at a good clip and will keep readers coming back.
To a much lesser extent, the Jericho storyline also has its perks. While having a mute hero means his segments are often missing context because of his disability, seeing him come to terms with his past has potential. It needs more to become compelling, but it’s an arc with some legs.
It is, unfortunately, poor Rose whose story is going nowhere fast. She’s hanging out with “extended family,” getting hit on by Asian gang members who shift randomly between the writers’ understanding of a “ghetto blackcent” and traditional Hmong, and…actually that’s about it. This week it’s implied that Slade’s estranged ex-wife may have (inadvertently or otherwise) put a hit on her and it’s….it’s three pages I’d rather see devoted to either of the other stories we follow. I like the character plenty, I just want her to actually do something.
The pencils in the book are good – particularly the action sequences, which have a good energy to them and motion that all manages to make sense. That being said, his character model for Slade’s face just doesn’t work. I mean a lot of his faces are simplistic (take a look at the Hmong women hanging around Rose for a prime example), but when it comes to the central protagonist (and namesake) of the book, I kinda figured that would be the first element nailed down.
Still, it’s a decent read. Next issue’s faceoff with The Raptor should be a good one, and this being the start of a new arc, we’ll likely see a more defined path for each character.