Sunday, August 9, 2015

Deathstroke Annual #1 Review

Written by: Tony S. Daniel and James Bonny
Art by: Tyler Kirkham and Arif Prianto
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: July 29, 2015

Slade and Diana's Bogus Journey

This book has been hit or miss for me.  The art has been a hit, while the writing...well, you get the picture.  Since Tony Daniel has been doing both, I have spent the majority of my reviews praising and complaining about the same person and that's just confusing for a dummy like myself.  I often end my comments by saying if the writing could catch up with the art, this could be the best book on the shelves today, but sadly, we are far from that dream.  However, with this God Killer arc, it at least seems possible.  Having Deathstroke go up against a god (or gods ?!) is exciting and teaming him with Wonder Woman is awesome, but there is still a lot of work to be done before this book can sit at the DC Comics adult table.  Unfortunately, this issue is not the game changer I've been looking for.  Sure, it's a fun issue that brings to mind one of my favorite movies, but in the end, it is pretty much unnecessary.  What am I going on about?  Let's find out...

The issue starts off with a God Killer recap that gets everyone up to speed, but seemed like page filler to this guy who has been reading the entire arc.  I wonder who would pick up this book without first reading the previous issues, but with the cool Tony Daniel cover featuring Slade, Wonder Woman and Superman, that may actually happen more than I think.  So, with everyone on equal footing, Lapetus casts Diana and Deathstroke to a sort of hell and thus begins their (Bogus) journey.

The two are immediately attacked by demons and while their banter is a bit cliched, the action scenes are pretty damn cool.  In a book that has made it's mark on decapitations and limb severing, the gore is pretty tame here.  Granted, it's still more than most books, but I'm used to gallons of blood per panel.  Just when it looked as if it might be the end for our heroes, the demons run away...and a bigger monster arrives.  It's a monstrosity of human remains and it's awesome.  To quote another one of my favorite movies, they are forced to "run away!"

This is when the book steers into Bill and Ted Territory.  As they escape, they are separated and find themselves in their own individual hells.  It's a cool concept, I just wish we learned something new about Deathtroke and Wonder Woman.  Deathstroke's bit shows that he blames himself for how his children turned out is afraid they will always hate him.  Diana is afraid that being the God of war will bring only destruction and loneliness to her life.  Of course, it's all a trick played by Lapetus and when they realize it and work together, they kick major ass and get back to Paradise Island.  The issue ends with Deathstroke and Wonder Woman rejoining the battle between Lapetus and the Amazons, only a little bit from when the issue started.

I said it above, but it bears repeating...this issue was unnecessary.  It ends pretty much where it began and while I liked seeing Slade and Diana become more of a team, it shouldn't have taken an over sized annual to do it.  This is the purest definition of a filler issue that I've seen since I started reviewing comics.  Now that I got that off my chest, I'll tell you something else...I didn't hate it.  I liked Tyler Kirkham's art and since I am a fan of both Wonder Woman and Deathstroke, I enjoyed seeing them work through their inner fears.  I just wish we got something more meaningful for the cover price.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue was pure filler and doesn't push the God Killer story forward one bit.  However, I love both Deathstroke and Wonder Woman and having them together is worth something in itself.  The story revolves around their inner fears and while I love me a good Bogus Journey, the revelations were hardly surprising.  I did enjoy Tyler Kirkham's art, but  I can't recommend this issue since nothing much happens.  Just hold tight until the God Killer story continues in the regular Deathstroke book.


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