Deathstroke, the Professional: Part One “Deathstroke” #1 (Review)

Aug 24, 2016

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deathstroke coverDeathstroke #1
DC Comics

Written by: Christopher Priest
Art by: Jeremy Cox, Jason Paz, Carlo Pagulayan, Willie Schubert, and Romulo Fajardo Jr.

This issue picks up right where the last left off: with the Clock King holding Matthew Bland in a clock-shaped prison cell as they argue about who double-crossed whom. The Clock King thinks it is a fool’s errand for Bland to think Deathstroke will save him after double-crossing him. Little does he know, Deathstroke and Wintergreen are on a mission to save Matthew Bland from the Clock King, but can they stop him?

The scenes change quickly from Wintergreen sitting in a safe house in Vermont to him and Deathstroke riding a motorcycle in a cavernous tunnel shooting bad guys in their face. We get to meet Slade Wilson’s wife Adeline in a scene where it looks like they are only good at two things together . . . and one of them is fighting.

Priest’s writing in this issue stays on course for the most part. I had to go back and reread Deathstroke: DC Universe Rebirth #1 to refresh my memory of the Clock King capturing Matthew Bland. Upon rereading, I realized last issue never shows the Clock King capturing Bland, so the reader must infer something happened between issues. There may be too many cutaway scenes to keep the story on track for the casual reader. Coherence is key. It’s not that the writing is completely incoherent, but the key detail of Bland being captured was just left out of the beginning of this issue. Instead of the pointless back-and-forth dialogue between Slade Wilson and Wintergreen in the car, Priest could have written about the capture. Priest does a great job portraying the witty banter between Wintergreen and Deathstroke and manages to make the Clock King a decent villain when I previously thought he was a laughing stock.deathstroke picture

The artwork from Jeremy Cox, Jason Paz, Carlo Pagulayan, Willie Schubert, and Romulo Fajardo Jr., specifically the colors, ink, pencils, letters, and cover, are terrific. The cover with a clock face in the background is amazingly detailed. Deathstroke is front and center, presumably his wife Adeline at the eleven o’clock, Matthew Bland at the eight o’clock with a bulls-eye crosshair on his face, and Slade’s kids and another woman highly detailed to the right. Wintergreen is looking as sharp as Alfred Pennyworth at a Tech Convention. Deathstroke himself is so finely detailed that we can get Kotobukiya to make a statue based in this cover. The weapon’s detail is only lacking aspect of the artwork because I don’t know if the artist intended it to be an M4 or if it is some weapon I am unfamiliar with.

Overall, this is another good book. I want fewer cutaway scenes in the next one. In the next issue, it would be wise for Priest to do a few pages of backstory and then cut to the present. The scene in the car did not seem to add anything to the story, unless I missed something. The artwork is incredible and helps to keep this book rated highly. As usual, I cannot wait for the next issue because I’m eager to know what happens next.

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