Written by: Christopher Priest
Art by: Jeremy Cox
Issue #1 of Deathstroke starts off in the snow covered wilderness where Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) is camping with his two sons. Come to find out this is a flashback scene. Slade is a little rough with one of his boys when he grabs him, which could be indicative of child abuse. Slade grabs him because he slept in the truck instead of the tent. There is a cutaway scene with Deathstroke talking to a guy named Matthew and they are negotiating a deal. Deathstroke had previously been hired to kill someone that Matthew has been tasked with protecting. Deathstroke is also looking for his colleague, Wintergreen, who has been captured by the Al Lajna terrorist group. There is a surprise appearance by a villain who I did not expect to see show up who could be an ally or an adversary.
What makes Christopher Priest’s writing effective was the initial shock and awe of reading one blasphemous word that I thought was against the rules and wondering what else the editor allowed him to get away with further along in the book. Jeremy Cox’s art is richly colored and each panel seems to have the correct shade and shadow placement with regard to where anyone is standing. Specifically, the gears on page 13 and the action sequence of him jumping in the air on page 19 are all highly detailed. Kudos to Jeremy Cox for complementing Priest’s writing.
The problem with the book is that it uses the race and religion card, which may turn away potential comic book buyers. They might buy this and read it and misinterpret something or be offended by the first word on the fourth panel and say, “I’ll never buy this or another DC book again.” The other problem is just with the name of a character: Wintergreen who we met in the camping scene. That is a flavor, not a code name. I’d rather have his name be Major Jim Storm or something else creative. Wintergreen seems like a bit of lazy writing. What’s next, characters named Spearmint, Peppermint, Cinnamon, and Juicy Fruit? They can go in pairs and be the Double Mint Assassins.
The parts I enjoyed are the action sequences, especially the reveal of who Deathstroke was tryinng to kill and who Matthew was protecting. The last couple of pages when the action intensifies, the writing seems to take a turn for the better and there were a few surprises I did not see coming that were wonderfully written and for which the art was complemented.