The Things I Do For Comics – Deathstroke (2014) #2

DC’s newest volume of Deathstroke is basically a nine-volt battery to the tongue.  It’s not pleasant, and it’s more than a little unsettling. And yet for some reason, I find myself trying it again even though I know it’s terrible.

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An Eye for an Eye? Oh, you’re incorrigible, DC!

So, maybe I’m the only weirdo who intentionally runs electrical current through his face, but I know there are plenty of assholes out there who continue following this comic. As I mentioned in my review of the first issue, the buzz around the book was inexplicably positive. This time around it’s not quite so widely loved but much to my chagrin it is not universally reviled.

Just as confounding, in my eyes, is this book’s utter disregard for the continuity in which it exists. At the end of the last issue, we saw a rejuvenated Slade Wilson being all sexy after the mystical I-Ching resurrected his bullet-riddled mercenary ass. I commented in my write-up that I wasn’t sure if it was actually Deathstroke (it is) because he had black hair whereas young Slade Wilson was always shown to have blonde hair. Now, you may be saying “Kang, you dummy! This is the New 52 continuity, maybe Deathstroke is some swarthy raven-haired fellow in this version of DC’s history.”

How dare you speak to me like that, reader. The nerve on you…  That’s a fine point and all, but when Rob Liefeld homaged (read: swiped) pages from George Perez and Marv Wolfman’s origin of Deathstroke for his retelling in the first New 52 Deathstroke series, the blonde hair remained. Sure, he’s got a tiny nose and tons of lines on his face in this new continuity, but he’s still got blonde hair.

deathstroke swipe 1 Deathstroke swipe 2 Deathstroke swipe 3

I’d demand answers, but that would be an awful lot like giving a fuck so I’ll pass.

Anyway, when last we saw Slade he was way younger and more than a tad hunkier. And in a moment of disbelief, he looks himself over in a shard of mirror. If you went into a coma and awoke weeks later in what appeared to be a drastically younger version of your own body, how would you confirm these suspicions?

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Did you say “I’d look at my dick!”?  Well, if you did you should send some writing samples to DC via the following link:

They say that they aren’t currently seeking submissions, but for a writer of that caliber I’m sure they’d make an exception.

Another thing I mused on last time around was whether or not Deathstroke would get another eye hole now that he’s back to having both eyes. He has not, as of the end of this issue, made any modifications to his mask, but I’ll grant them a stay on my judgment as this issue takes place immediately after the end of the first and he has no time to do so. He’s too busy eyeing his own junk. I have a penis, you know. And if you showed me photos of my penis as a younger man side by side with ones from this morning, I seriously doubt that I could tell the difference. Is there something I don’t know about Deathstroke? Did he have some sort of catastrophic accident in his old body that didn’t carry over to this one? Maybe this one is uncircumcised?

I seriously wonder in this book if Tony Daniel isn’t having another artist touch up certain faces. This is a phenomenon that I swear I’ve observed before in Greg Capullo’s Batman, I think I even know which artist is doing it. There are certain shots of Deathstroke that just don’t jive with Tony Daniel’s normal style, such as this one:

Daniel Face

The smoothness and almost cartoonish touch to this face just doesn’t look like Daniel to me. But what troubles me even more greatly about the art is the inconsistency. There are quite a few cases where Daniel draws Deathstroke in profile, showing the ride side of his face. Every one of these faces is drawn with different proportions, and yet they’re all supposed to be the same person.

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Pick a nose and stick with it, Deathstroke.

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There’s a lot of intrigue in this issue, Deathstroke meets a few mysterious figures who seem to be manipulating him and/or one another. The thing is, though, I can’t tell if the story is so intricate that there’s just a lot waiting to be revealed or if it just makes zero sense. I’m not even going to bore you with the details, suffice it to say Deathstroke kills a few dozen more ninja, clumsily swears within the confines of a DC comic, finds out he was super-roofied by a mysterious villain, and uses some kind of truth serum on himself to unlock the memory of finding his son, Jericho, in a laser cage. Much like his old man, Jericho appears to have been de-aged from his initial appearances in the New 52 continuity… or maybe the quick glance at Wikipedia it took for me to find out he’d already appeared in the post-New 52 comics was more research than the editorial department and Tony Daniel could bother to perform.

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Special thanks here to friend of the site Rex Mason for pointing out the lazy similarities between the final pages of the first two issues of this comic. The reveal of a youthful version of the characters may be intentional symmetry (I think that would be giving them a lot of credit, but whatever), however the unusually tense poses and in particular the positioning of the hands in both pages is almost identical.

deathstrokethehunkinatorSo, to sum things up:

If you like this book, I don’t like you. I mean, maybe you could win me over somehow, but I know for sure when I overhear a stranger or a casual acquaintance talking about comics, I always wait before joining the converstaion… I wait to hear them discuss something like this comic and to hear how they weigh in on it so I know if I want to acknowledge that we have something in common. Because I like comics, and they like this horseshit.


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Posted on December 16, 2014, in COMICS!, Reviews, The Things I Do For Comics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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