After his appearance in the post-credits scene for Justice League, we have all been dying to see Deathstroke go head-to-head with Batman on-screen. Sadly, production on Matt Reeves’s The Batman has been pretty quiet, and there’s been no word on if Deathstroke is still in for the solo-film. Luckily, Christopher Priest’s Deathstroke series is here to give us a taste of what we’ve been wanting to see.
Deathstroke #30 is the first entry of the six-part story arc that will see The Terminator square off against The Dark Knight. So, much of this issue carries the burden of setting up the conflict between the two. The setup does feel a bit rushed; we find Batman working very quickly to piece together a mystery that should have a much more emotional impact than we can see here. It’s a Deathstroke-centric series, but for the majority of the issue, he’s not the focus. Sadly, the characterization of Batman winds up being this story’s greatest weakness.
The central conflict is the discovery that Batman may not actually be Damian Wayne’s biological father. A DNA test seems to confirm that Deathstroke is, in fact, the current Robin’s father, and Batman is determined to find out for certain. However, Bruce’s feelings on the matter are still unclear. This is a particularly dour take on the character, but here he seems to be missing a sense of outrage or insecurity. Damian and Bruce’s relationship has developed into a very strong emotional bond over the years. When Bruce makes the discovery, his reaction doesn’t reflect that. It should also be noted that Damian himself is nowhere to be found in this issue, which is frustrating but understandable considering the page restraints, and much of this complaint is forgotten by the end of the issue.
The final panels of this book will absolutely get you pumped for the next five installments. Carlo Pagulayan’s art in these last few pages perfectly builds tension between Batman and Deathstroke. He does a great job emoting the characters to the point where you can get a clear sense of tone as your reading dialogue. Pagulayan’s interpretation of Greg Capullo’s Batman costume looks absolutely gorgeous on the page. Similarly, his Deathstroke is a colorful and timeless rendition that pops next to Batman.
While this introduction is uneven, it’s still a good read. However, going forward this series will need to capitalize on all this setup in a big way. Now that the heavy lifting has been done, this story arc will have the chance to expand its emotional focus. We need to see Batman dealing with this blow to his relationship with Damian and how this affects Deathstroke. It’s also important to focus on the character of Damian and his dynamic with his two potential fathers. The opening, which features a very interesting exchange between Alfred Pennyworth and William Wintergreen is a fun addition that will hopefully be explored further as the series progresses. The seeds have been planted, but while it’s an enjoyable read, what follows will need to be more narratively focused and character-driven.
Final Score: 7/10
7 Great Deathstroke Stories That Could Inspire The Movie
Now that fans know Deathstroke will be getting his own movie directed by The Raid’s Gareth Evans, it’s time for everyone to brush up on their Slade Wilson knowledge. Deathstroke is DC’s deadliest assassin and one of the smartest tacticians in the world, as well as the oldest foe of the Teen Titans. He’s even taken on the whole Bat-family single-handedly and escaped, proving just how tough of a fighter he is.
The movie will likely depict him as an anti-hero of sorts, a relatively new status for the character. Throughout most of his history Deathstroke has always been more of a self-interested fighter than a righteous man, but recently he’s developed a conscious and a desire to help people in DC Rebirth. He was even one of the main villains in the Batman: Arkham Origins game, proving that audiences are ready for more Slade Wilson.
Hit Next to learn about seven great Deathstroke stories that could inspire the movie!