Monday, September 19, 2011

"The scariest badass on the planet."

Deathstroke the Terminator
Review of Deathstroke #1
By: Andrew Hines
            “Deathstroke the Terminator – The scariest badass on the planet.”  This is the first line of Deathstroke #1.  The man known as Slade Wilson has been a mercenary for decades by this point in the story.  Not only is Slade a battle-hardened mercenary, he is also a master strategist.  After losing his right eye, he volunteered for experiments, which increased his strength, endurance and healing abilities.  While almost every person on the planet uses a maximum of 10% of their brain, Deathstroke uses 90%.  This is a man who notably decimated a 7-member squad of Justice Leaguers in less than five minutes without breaking a sweat.  With that being said, this is obviously a book about a villain. 
            Writer Kyle Higgins had a few hurdles to get past in this premier issue.  First off, there’s the treatment of Slade from the Teen Titans cartoon, as a man who is constantly owned by a group of high school sidekicks.  Thankfully, Edmundson delivers a brand new, more ferocious Deathstroke.  This time, saddled with a team of twenty-something wannabe mercenaries, Slade is given a job he barely wants.  Acting little more than arms dealers, transportation specialists and intelligence providers, the “Alpha Dawgs” are, in Slade’s own words “only competition.”  This issue is rife with action, blood and some humor, plus a killer ending.  Staying true to the character, though revealing little personal information, it’s as fun to read, as it is to watch.
            Artist Joe Higgins gives the reader an eye full in the first few pages with a blood bath that would make Freddy Krueger feel insecure.  He dazzles on every page and keeps the action interesting.  Somehow, despite Deathstroke’s incredible abilities, he manages to keep the feats of strength and athleticism within a believable range. The shapes on several pieces are a bit clunky and over-sized, leading to questions of how he can perform some of his more acrobatic stunts.  The shoulder pieces, for example are problematic as are the Batman-style gauntlets. 
            Questionable design choices aside this title is a fun romp through the life of a cold-blooded villain.  I look forward to where else this series goes and hope for some more personal stories in the future.  Having weighed the pros and cons of this issue, I conclude that it stands as an 9.2 out of 10.

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