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Deathstroke #1 - Back to Basics Review

4

Titles featuring villains rarely live up to their potential. The villain often gets watered down but thankfully, that is not the case here. Deathstroke is here to do his job and his job involves killing.

"Deathstroke the Terminator--the scariest badass on the planet." From the very first line in the comic, the stage is set. We've seen Deathstroke take the lead in a series recently in Titans. Will this series focus on the character that is supposed to be a badass?

The Good

Deathstroke means business. We are told through description who he is and what he is capable of. Seeing his one red glowing eye while he brandishes a gigantic sword and gun makes it clear who he is. Over the years we've seen glimpses at what Deathstroke is capable of. We've seen the potential he has. Yet he got defeated by kids time and time again. Sure those kids were sidekicks of DC's greatest heroes but as a master strategist, he should be able to deal with them more efficiently.

The good news is if you are looking for a violent Deathstroke that will kill when the job calls for it without breaking a sweat, you get that here. You almost start feeling bad for him. We don't see what's behind the mask, in terms of what his needs might be. He is a cold-hearted mercenary. He is just looking for the next job and expecting to get paid a lot.

The Bad

Deathstroke has to team up with a group of up and coming mercenaries. Even Slade questions the need to have them on the job. We can see that it provides for some conversation in the issue. That will be an interesting factor in the future, will Deathstroke operate alone or will he get along with others?

In most ways the book works as a new jumping on point. We do get details on what he's capable in terms of abilities. We see how deadly he can be. What we don't see is his motivation. New readers won't know why he is the way he is. The main mission Deathstroke goes on almost feels a little too routine until a twist appears. We'll have to see how this ties into the future of the series.

There aren't any familiar foes for Deathstroke to fight. It makes sense that this first issue should focus on him alone. It would be nice to see some familiar faces in upcoming issues.

I'm a little torn on the art. I do like it for the most part. A couple moments felt a little off. I also have to question the necessity of such a gigantic sword. It is impressive but I'm not sure if Slade needs such a big blade.

The Verdict

No worries about Deathstroke going soft. Kyle Higgins delivers a mean, cold-hearted, brutal killing machine. This isn't the Deathstroke that got defeated over and over by a bunch of kids. He goes on a mission and will do whatever it takes to complete. There is some introduction to his character for new readers. It's described how badass of a character he is but his full origin or motives remain unknown to the newer reader. It's clear that he's a killer for hire. Whether or not we'll see any semblance of a human side to Slade remains to be seen. If you're looking for plenty of hardcore action and violence, this title featuring a villain will satisfy and sick and twisted need (almost) you might have.