52 Catch Up: Deathstroke

Deathstroke 152 Catch Up is a series devoted to looking at issues from DC's New 52 and seeing how they're faring now that they're underway, why they're worth reading (or not), and places we hope they will go in time.




A metahuman who bills himself out as the best there is, a one-man killing machine who will take down anyone regardless of their gender, age, or affiliation.  A man who can instill fear in even the most steady of persons. An assassin of the highest caliber and with the best training.  The one, the only, the slightly insane, Deathstroke.




Previously on Deathstroke: Covering Issues #1 - 8

After a mission in Moscow, Deathstroke’s “agent” and friend, Christoph, sets up the assassin with another job, but with something different than his usual situation: leading a small group of young (and somewhat green) wannabe bad guys who like to call themselves the “Harm Armory.”  Not willing to really get to know them, Deathstroke becomes annoyed by their seemingly unprofessional attitude and demeanor in the field and on the job.  While the job itself seems to have gone okay—aside from the fact that the package was completely different than what was advertised—the childish antics of the “Armory” crew earned Deathstroke’s ire, and the metahuman blasts them away without a second thought.  He leans on Christoph to find out who set up the job, and discovers that a lot of people are beginning to think he can’t cut it anymore.

Our unfriendly assassin takes a meeting with Christoph’s contact and tells him how the job went down, and the contact immediately thinks that Deathstroke’s gone over the hill.  When Slade applies some threat-level pressure to the man, several patrons of the bar spring into action as hired muscle for the contact.  Swiftly and almost disturbingly disposing of the thugs, Deathstroke returns his attentions to the contact only to find him trying to weasel away.  Not seeming to care about those around him, Slade starts tearing apart the place and killing everyone (and everything) he sees in his path, all the time yelling that the contact should have brought in more people.  To answer his cries, some heavy-duty mechanized bad guy named Road Rage shows up and starts to lay into Deathstroke, all the while Slade just shrugs it off and ends up causing a massive explosion that takes out the contact and anyone else nearby...all in front of a live TV crew.  In the end, Deathstroke tells Christoph that it was the easiest way to get media exposure and more jobs.

Back in the game, Slade takes on a wealthy philanthropist who has been ticking off the wrong people with his policies; however, before Slade himself can do the job, he discovers the man is already dead by a new rival who then attacks him out of nowhere wearing purple and green.  While the two fight for a bit, eventually, Deathstroke decapitates the man, and Slade remembers fighting another man with the same outfit.  It is eventually revealed that the two are directly connected, going by the name Legacy, as a bereaved couple attempt to exact retribution against Deathstroke for killing their daughter (one of the Armory kids).

After taking a job that gets him put in prison (on purpose), Deathstroke finally gets some leads on the briefcase he recovered with the Armory crew: the broken and blood-splattered remains of his son’s fighting mask.  Christoph, Peabody (Slade’s electronics specialist), and Deathstroke investigate the leads, but it ends up being a trap and Christoph gets killed as a result.  Deathstroke takes on yet another Legacy, but discovers that it’s just a remote-controlled automaton by his son, Grant.  After recovering from the battle, Deathstroke heads to Chicago to take on his son, but before Grant can finish the job he was paid for, the bereaved parents use a failsafe to disable his Legacy suit: they want Deathstroke to die, but they don’t like being lied to by Grant.  Trying to persuade Slade to save himself by killing Grant, the parents die by the assassin’s hand with disturbing efficiency.  Exhausted, Slade passes out, and Grant almost kills him, but decides not to at the end.

Slade wakes up in a recovering room and takes on a small-time job just to prove he can still get things done.  The small-timer threatens to blow up both he and Slade if the assassin doesn’t back down, but Slade just picks up the detonator and presses the button himself.  Afterwards, he heads to a small house in Indiana and visits his father, taunting the man about how good of an assassin he’s become over the years and how he’ll always be better than his father—and how he hopes his son will be better than him one day.

High Points

Gratuitous Violence: If you want to see a lot of violence in a comic title, then this is the line for you.  Action, adventure, and carmageddon, all available to you by the not-so-friendly Slade Wilson as he tackles on a reputation of being too old in a game that favors the young.  His answer to everything seems to be to shoot it, stab it, or blow it up, and then shoot it again for good measure. I’s not only helped solve his problems, but created new ones.  Let’s face it, without the excessive violence, this title line wouldn’t be as interesting of a read.

Low Points

Gratuitous Violence: No, it’s not a typo; the one aspect of this series that makes it the most appealing also makes it the most unappealing.  The main focus of the comic is to showcase Deathstroke’s skills as an assassin, a warrior, and a man who can allow himself to be blown up just to kill his target and still walk away, and it certainly does that, but it doesn’t give much else.  Even the attempt to have a father-son-relationship-gone-bad story arc is given an extensive amount of violence attached to it.  I like action as much as the next person, and I do plan on continuing to read this title when I initially wasn’t, but I would like something more than just guns blazing, explosions rocking, and corpses flying through the air.  Surely, there has to be some sort of softer side to the man...right?  After all, if it’s going to be pretty much just violence, then people are going to get through the issues really fast.

Looking Ahead

Legacy: The bereaved parents made a statement that even in their deaths, Legacy would continue to exist as a way to take out Deathstroke.  Well, they’re dead now, and their latest Legacy may have lasted a long while compared to the first two, but he was still taken out (somewhat) in the end.  So, can we look forward to more random purple-and-green guys jumping out of the shadows to yell “boo” at our favorite assassin?  And even so, after a while such a continuation will get stale and annoying, so, hopefully, he’ll be able to nip it in the bud early on.

Grant: Granted, I don’t know much about Deathstroke other than random bits, but the inclusion of his son (which I didn’t even know existed) as a main antagonist really added to the story.  But, neither Slade nor Grant actually killed the other, so what’s going to happen in the future with that situation?  Is Grant going to pop up again (probably) and is he going to attempt to continue being Legacy?

No Christoph: Without his “agent” doing the front work for the meetings, who exactly is Slade going to rely on for doing the legwork?  It appeared as though the two were in business for a long time, and while Peabody seems to have stepped in to be the “sidekick” in terms of a personal relationship with Slade, there doesn’t seem to be anyone who has filled the gap.  I certainly can’t see Slade doing it himself; he’d end up stabbing the middlemen over their smooth-talking ways.

Age: Throughout the title, Slade has constantly gone to great lengths to prove that he’s not too old for the game, going so far as to instigate an all-out explosive carmageddon in the middle of a metropolitan area just to get some media exposure; however, there are times when he’s shown to have shaky hands, as though he’s losing his touch.  So, just what are the plans for the aging assassin?




Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 17:37

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