Deathstroke Inc. #14
After his defeat at the hands of Green Arrow, Slade Wilson is presumed dead by his handlers, so his contract is offered to a sweep team that’s just as skilled as he. Determined to complete the job and make a name for himself, will Deathstroke be able to defeat his competition and will he find out the truth behind his creation?
Deathstroke is still learning the ropes.
With Deathstroke Inc: Year One, Ed Brisson is writing Slade Wilson in a balancing act that has done nothing but pay off issue after issue. Slade was already highly trained and becoming a super soldier only made him more dangerous, but throughout this arc, Brisson has shown Wilson to be prone to mistakes. In this particular book, Slade manages to catch up to Dr. Campbell, but fearing his competition will kill him first, he leaps in and kills one of them, but gets seriously injured himself. It shows that he’s still learning how to assess situations and making rash decisions as he does so. This does a good job of character building without making Deathstroke too overpowered early on.
Brisson is also very nuanced with how he writes Slade’s motivations as well. Later in the book, even when Slade is given pertinent information that would normally allow a man to live, he still kills his mark because he accepted the contract and “his word is bond.” I think this is a phenomenal way to show that Slade won’t be swayed when he’s on a job and cements that mercenary mentality that we’ve seen over the course of decades with the character. It’s a cold, calculated move that only helps to serve him in the future with other contracts that he’ll take up, even when the odds are greatly stacked against him.
Dexter Soy’s art never ceases to amaze as the entirety of this issue felt like a cross between a horror movie and an action flick. Soy opens the book with a wide shot of a massacre, showing bodies and blood strewn about the page and setting up the danger that Slade and everyone else in the bunker are in. It’s immediately tense and a few pages later the villains introduce themselves by dragging a security guard into the shadows and murdering him off-panel. Throughout these examples, Soy utilizes tense, close up shots to capture the fear on Dr. Campbell’s face as well as the terror in the eyes of one of the guards.
When the book switches towards its action focus, Soy uses dynamic body posing to capture how athletic and coordinated Slade is as he flips and shoots one of the assassins, as well as speed lines and blurs to show just how fast Slade is and how evenly matched the other assassins are as well with them managing to keep up with him. Soy’s linework is thin but full of detail thanks to the depth that his inks carry on the page. By this point, the book has kicked into full gear and Soy makes sure that the action is heavy and brutal without showing too much as Slade shoots a man to death, gets impaled and later cuts the arms off of one of the assassins. Most of which is unfortunately silhouetted, but still shows enough for the gore to come across.
Veronica Gandini’s colors kill in this issue, much like Deathstroke does. Given the bunker setting of the book, many of the backgrounds are given a bluish-grey coloring to them, save for this safety chamber that Campbell is locked up for safety, with an orange color. The blue-grey color acts as an excellent contrast to the villain’s brown armor with glowing red lights on the forearms and Deathstroke’s iconic orange and blue. The cold tones of these colors act as a great way to set the feeling of unease when Slade stalks the assassins through the hallways and shadows.
Steve Wands’ lettering in this book is also absolutely fantastic. Dialogue is able to flow very nicely through word balloon placement and thought boxes doth the panels in many instances, but never feel too distracting or in the way of the action. As always, I have to applaud the use of sound effects in this book because they are used expertly here. Because this is still mostly a general audiences book, there has to be a little bit of censorship and that comes in the form of wet SHUNKs when Slade is impaled and later impales one of the assassins with the letters covering their wounds. There’s also a SHIK as one of the assassins gets his arm cut off and the letters act as the last bit of connecting tissue to him and his limb. Aside from that, there are many BRAKKA BRAKKAs acting as the sound effects to bullets being fired from guns.
I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again, taken all together, Deathstroke: Year One is a high intensity, action packed tale that doesn’t pull its punches. Ed Brisson, Dexter Soy, Veronica Gandini and Steve Wands are killing this series so far, just like their titular assassin.
Deathstroke Inc. #14: Playing Possum
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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