Written by Christopher Priest
Art by Joe Bennett, Belardino Brabo, Mark Morales, and Jeremy Cox
Published by DC Comics
Some comics just have a way of getting in your face and showing you just how it’s done, Deathstroke is one of those. More than that though, it’s a reunion of the team behind perhaps one of the best Big Two comics ever published: The Crew. While it’s been over a decade since that comic was published, there’s still a very easy translation from Priest’s script to Bennett’s pencils and so on. While Deathstroke has kept a pretty surprising amount of Slade Wilson’s complex history intact, a few knots are re-tied with the introduction of his other child: Rose Wilson aka the Ravager. While Rose is hardly an obscure character, there’s a lot of trust from both Priest and Bennett in communicating the essentials: you’re given the minimum of who Rose is and how she came to be in the prior issues, though in reality everything you need is in her initial appearance with Slade’s leering disapproval of how his daughter chooses to live, and in the sole meaningful conversation they have later in the issue.
One of the biggest problem with the worst of superhero comics is a tendency to not trust the reader to grasp the subtleties and nuances being communicated. Minimalism is underappreciated in comics, and Deathstroke uses that as an engine in this issue: whether that’s to slice off unnecessary bits of story we can fill in the blanks on, or again giving the bare minimum of what you need to understand the relationship between Slade and Rose, or Priest’s sparing use of flashbacks to understand what led Slade to a lonely life.
Joe Bennett’s art is a great follow-up to the tone set by Carlo Pagaluyan in the first three issues. The gritty art matches up well with the turn this issue takes with showing the lengths Slade will go to protect someone he cares about, even if that doesn’t come across. There’s also a great deal of care taken to establish how while Rose is the daughter of Deathstroke, she’s less like him and more like her mentor Dick Grayson, her more careful style contrasting towards the easy surgical style Slade takes to eliminate his targets. That said, this book continues to up its game, if you’re looking for what’s probably the best book in DC Rebirth, you’re probably looking at it, it’s worth the $2.99 and more.
5 out of 5 Bottles