Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Carlo Pagulayan
Some Spoilers Ahead
Deathstroke #1 continues the cinematic nature captured in the Rebirth one-shot that was released two weeks ago. I hesitate to say that Christopher Priest would qualify as an auteur director since he’s a writer, but his vision isn’t garden variety. Let me just say that he manages to hook the reader with the first page, something that not everyone is able to do.
What Priest also excels at is fleshing out the background of Slade Wilson and his family, along with providing him with a terrific supporting cast. The Slade/Billy Wintergreen dynamic is reminiscent of Batman and Alfred’s, only more violent and amusing. This is not exactly a buddy piece, but the two have great chemistry that adds yet another dimension to your reading experience.
Artist Carlo Pagulayan, whom some would say would technically be seated in the director’s chair, successfully balances the grounded with the fantastical. Slade’s world is quite intense, yet we get the campiest looking version of the Clock King in some time. And guess what? I never felt taken out of the story even once. He somehow made it work.
My only real gripe is that the flashbacks could have been presented better. Sometimes it takes a few panels for you to realize that you’re in the past. Prefacing them with a simple “Then” or use of sepia or grey tones would have made the transitions between time periods feel smoother.
Without a doubt, Slade Wilson is undeniably bad ass in the hands of Priest and Pagulayan. This new Deathstroke series feels “just right.” And you get several laugh out loud moments thanks to Wintergreen. It’s a win all around.