Deathstroke Rebirth Volume 1 The Professional

Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional (Rebirth) - Christopher Priest, Carlo Pagulayan

2 stars. And it's all for the artwork.

 

I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to this title. And that makes the resulting mess all the more hard to stomach. It's my own fault really, I should have paid closer attention to the name on the front cover. Not the artist; Carlo Pagulayan's art is the sort I like. Clear and concise. Reader friendly with plenty to look at but not so busy that things get lost in the detail. Some really great panels.

No, my issue was with the writer, Christopher Priest, and he's a writer I've had issues with before. I dnf'd his collection of Black Panther stories for being incomprehensible, boring, and written from a random pov.

In Deathstroke I found myself at a total loss. The story, such as it is, jumps about in timeframe with no indication where the reader is in the timeline. There is no attempt to explain to the reader who any of the characters are or their connection to Slade Wilson. For a first book in a new line I would expect some attempt to fill in backstory for the new readers in manner that doesn't have them scrabbling for wiki at the first opportunity. (I held out until the appearance of Wintergreen, and then found myself reaching for my phone.) There is no attempt to explain who Deathstroke is, what happened to Slade to make him become DS, what his enhancements are, where they came from, who any of the side characters are. With no prior knowledge of DS and his origins, the reader is completely lost in this comic.

For a character with no moral compass to work the reader needs to have some empathy for them. With little to no explanation for his actions, and such a fractured telling of his backstory it is impossible to have any empathy or understanding for Slade.

Also, almost every character in the story seems to have their own agenda so you literally have no reliable narrator to hang the 'story' on.

 

For something I'd been so looking forward to, I finished this book frustrated as hell.

 

 

While Christopher Priest continues to write this line I think I'd be better served going back in time and checking out some of the earlier Deathstroke titles.