Written by: James Bonny
Art by: Paolo Pantalena, Arif Prianto and Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 23, 2016
Deathstroke is a book that kind of snuck up on me. I was never a huge fan of the character and barely paid attention to the first go around for the him at the start of the New 52. However, when DC brought the book back, I ended up reviewing it by default and I am so glad I did. It's not that I suddenly became a huge Slade fan (though I do love "Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me"), but the book was just knock down, drag out fun with more severed limbs than you could shake another severed limb at. Sure, it's had it's ups and downs like any book does, but at the end of the day, it is one of the handful of books that I would continue reading even if our little site was taken down by One Million Moms or one real big guy with a baseball bat. Let's hope it doesn't come to that and let's get to this month's Deathstroke...
The big thing with this book lately is who will show up and where will it lead and this month it's all about Red Hood. That's fine with me as I am a huge Jason Todd fan and couldn't wait to see what happens when these two bruisers get together. I didn't have to wait long at all.
After a brief flashback showing more of Rose's trip to the dark side and Deathstroke beating the shit out of Victor Ruiz, it was time for the main event and it didn't disappoint. The two go at it pretty good and Bonny uses it to catch the reader up to where we are (mentioning Snakebite!) as well as showing the strengths and weaknesses of both characters. One thing I was glad of was that Jason Todd felt pretty good in this issue. Bonny almost ruined it for me when Jason opened fire of Deathstroke, but he showed that he did his homework when we find out he wasn't hired to kill Deathstroke at all. That's when Victor returns and blows things sky high!
This whole arc has had Slade jumping for here to there and now he's in Montana, but the way things are going for him, if he doesn't find Rose soon and get some medical attention, he's a goner. Of course, the Terminator isn't giving up just yet and rolls into a ghost town and sees a...ghost...kind of...well, actually a couple of them...kind of. It's a great cliffhanger that has an awesome cast of characters that I hope aren't all doing what it looks like. The one thing I want to know is where is Jason Todd and how cool will it be when he saves the day next month?!?!?
I have dealt with a bunch of books that get tangled into the monster, bounty, road trip of the month stories as a way to get different guest stars involved with the main character, but I have to say, James Bonny has come up with a formula that works for me. It's more personal than the average story and seeing Deathstroke actually one step behind is a unique twist for a character like the Terminator. While the story doesn't advance by leaps and bounds, the way it ended made up for it and in a big, big way. I can't wait to see what happens next month.
When I saw the preview for this issue, one thing slapped me in the face right away...no Tyler Kirkham on art. Well, I'd like to thank Paolo Pantalena for having such a cool name as well as for making me look like a jerk for dissing him a sentence ago. The issue looked great and his style fits the story and Kirkham's usual art nicely. If he ended up on the Rebirth Red Hood book, you would hear no complaints from this guy.
Bits and Pieces:
Deathstroke continues being a self contained flurry of fists and explosions and that's why I like it so much. It's funny that such a violent book can be my monthly pallette cleanser, but with so many books trying to go for that deeper meaning, it is nice to sit back and watch a heavily armored guy trying to save his daughter. Don't go and get fancy on us James, you have Deathstroke exactly where he should be.