Thursday, October 13, 2011

Deathstroke #1

DC Comics, 20 pages, $ 2.99

Writer: Kyle Higgins
Penciler: Joe Bennett
Inker: Art Thibert
Colorist: Jason Wright
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover artist: Simon Bisley

In theory, I can see myself following a shallow, over-the-top action thriller starring a badass, one-eyed hired killer—especially if it happens to be drawn by Joe Bennett, who’s one of the more underrated artists working in the field, probably because people still remember his work on Alan Moore’s Supreme or Amazing Spider-Man in the late 1990s, which obviously came to soon in his career.

But that was 15 years ago. Bennett has gown by leaps and bounds since then as an artist. Sadly, he rarely gets to show it. If you want an idea just how good he is, read his (all too short) run on The Crew with writer Christopher J. Priest, for instance. Bennett deserves better gigs than he’s been getting.

This includes Deathstroke, unfortunately. I appreciate that Kyle Higgins wants to re-establish Deathstroke as a first-class amoral bastard who’d sell his mother if the price was right. In this story, it doesn’t quite come off, though. Instead, we get a generic dude who does generic badass things because that’s what generic badass dudes do. There’s nothing in this book that you won’t have seen a million times before, and mostly done better.

Look: If you want me to be shocked or even surprised by those last three pages, the story needs to give me an emotional and intellectual frame of reference for Deathstroke’s actions so I can even attempt to tell what they mean. Otherwise, I don’t care what he does. And so I don’t, here, because neither the protagonist nor any other character in the book says or does anything memorable, let alone entertaining.

This is just a boring rehash of stock action tropes. It sure has neat art by Joe Bennett, though.

Grade: D

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