Deathstroke #2

Deathstroke #2

B+

We can’t really talk about the second issue of Deathstroke without a discussion of its cover. I mean, look at this thing — it’s awesome. It makes it seem like the issue inside’s going to feature Deathstroke vs. the Transformers, or maybe Deathstroke battling his way through a level from Mega Man 7. Simon Bisley (of Lobo fame) may be my favorite cover artist working at DC right now, and that’s saying a lot. This is the kind of frontpiece that would have made me beg my parents to buy me this book 20 years ago, and even now it’s got a style that convinces me to purchase a series I might have otherwise overlooked.

Of course if my parents had bought me this comic, they’d be absolutely disgusted with what they saw inside. But this seems like a good time to invoke Will Smith’s axiom about parents. A lot of people aren’t going to like Deathstroke because it’s too violent. Well, okay. I think that’s a perfectly legitimate complaint for a lot of DC books — Tom Tomorrow argued as much with Green Lantern Corps, and I complained of it myself in a review of Nightwing — but when it comes to Deathstroke, saying the book is violent is like saying Freddie Mercury’s a good singer. Duh. And truthfully, I kind of love the violence in this book. It’s so over-the-top that you can’t take it seriously. In pages six and seven, Deathstroke decapitates, impales or otherwise dismembers like ten people in endlessly creative, brutal ways. In the climactic scene of this book, some dude is cut in half by a helicopter blade. This isn’t gore, it’s a cacophonous symphony of bloodshed.

I’d really like to know how this book came about at DC — whether it was conceived by editorial or by writer Kyle Higgins himself. If it’s the former, I wonder if Higgins took the assignment and decided the best way to do it was to make the book basically unbelievable in its murderousness. I hope that’s the case, because no one can/should take this seriously.

In Deathstroke #2, our titular mercenary pursues an underworld connection who sent him on a bad job in the first issue. The “villain” of the piece (that’s a relative term) has decided to send an army of hired guns to take down the protagonist in a battle royale on a Los Angeles freeway, but of course that’s not going to work. He’s Deathstroke. The whole point of this book is that no one can really take him out. I’d say he’s the best he is at what he does, but that would be straying too far into another company’s territory.

That does make me wonder, though — at some point, this book will have to put Deathstroke up against an opponent that he can’t brush off so easily. It’s cool that Higgins is building him up by having him fight all these scrubs, but at some point somebody’s got to test him. That will likely be some kind of metahuman/superhero. I’m honestly kind of hoping it’s Superboy, since our hero’s daughter is currently busy tending to the clone over in his own title. Is it weird that I think that fight would be kind of awesome? I would definitely buy Superboy to see that crossover.

I really like Joe Bennett’s artwork here, particularly the way he draws the book’s main character. Slade Wilson is a hardened man with a chiseled chin and a cold, craggy face. He’s built like a truck but can move like a gazelle. You wouldn’t want to mess with him. As long as Bennett can convince readers of that, the rest of the book should fall into place, and brother, does he convince me.

Again, I can’t stress enough that Deathstroke is not for everybody. For starters, no one under the age of 13 should ever look at this book, and that’s being generous. But if you know what you’re getting into and you’re up for a pop-art explosion of violence like no other, it’s a really good comic, and I certainly don’t regret my decision to buy it.

tags: deathstroke, joe bennett, kyle higgins, simon bisley

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Meneghini/651216408 Michael Meneghini

    I still don’t like the new costume though.

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