Deathstroke Inc #1 review

DC Universe spy organisations. Cut off one head, and two more will take their place.

Well, that’s what it seems like; it’s just five minutes since every covert group was blown up by Leviathan and we’ve already seen a new version of Checkmate. And now here comes T.R.U.S.T.

I hate acronyms, all that changing keyboard cases to get the dots in, so should TRUST come up again in this write-up – ah, there it is now – the dots go. As for what TRUST stands for, it’s Transparent Researchers for Strategy and Technology aka Nonsense.

But that’s not important right now, the main thing is that we have a cracking first issue co-starring DC’s favourite assassin (I prefer Deadshot, myself) and Black Canary. Which begs the question, why the heck doesn’t Dinah have her name in the title, she surely has more fans than Slade Wilson? I loved those mismatched character books of the Seventies and Eighties, such as Power Man/Iron Fist, Daredevil/Black Widow and, close to Dinah’s home. Green Lantern/Green Arrow. So why not Deathstroke/Black Canary?

The book opens with a memory montage referencing Deathstroke’s comics history – amusingly, a single tiny monochrome panel of Conner Kent with the Teen Titans merits that whole ‘thanks to the Jerry Siegel family’ line in the credits – followed by a TRUST agent investigating a perfect little town.

Someone never believed in Gilmore Girls.

Under that wig, you may have guessed, is famed flower fancier…

And also making the scene is…

While running the show are…

…and

Gosh, this is all very visual, but writer Josh Williamson and artist Howard Porter have come up with a terrifically in-yer-face, super-cinematic opening episode so why not reflect that? Introductions to characters and situations are economic, the action scenes explosive (literally) and the overall mystery put in place nicely.

Said mystery is, can we trust TRUST? That’s what Black Canary is there to find out. As for Slade, he seems to be having a late-life crisis.

There’s also a massively enjoyable encounter with that new HIVE (no dots!) Queen and her very special family. I’m not spoiling the fun there, go and buy the book! I need this series to run awhile, if only to get to the stories teased via random panels on the final page as Joshua Williamson channels his inner Geoff Johns.

Williamson really does seem to have taken on Johns’ old role as DC’s ‘showrunner’, lining up the big universe beats while playing with whatever he fancies, to fun effect. But with fewer mutilations. Mind, if Williamson wants to have a few arms ripped off here and there, this is the book in which to do it, with the hi-octane art of Howard Porter at his disposal.

Porter’s pages simply ooze enthusiasm, with larger-than-life characters and good-natured ruckuses. Those splash intros to Dinah and Slade are proper eye-poppers – I especially like the new treatment of Dinah’s sonic scream – while the scenes in the villains’ lair aren’t something you see every day.

Said baddies also give letterer Steve Wands a chance to get creative with the word balloons. I don’t know if Steve also did the sound effects, but they’re uniformly excellent. Certainly, he did the title lettering, and it’s a winner. Hi-Fi looks to be having enormous fun, too, with a cornucopia of colours appealingly applied.

Hi-Fi re-teams with Porter for the cover, which is typically Slade, all macho posturing. It’s good, but was there really no value in at least flagging up Dinah’s presence?

Maybe next time. I’ll certainly be there, this being the best DC launch in ages.

5 thoughts on “Deathstroke Inc #1 review

  1. I suppose the whole thing with Slade seeming to have a Batmobile in that panel and in front of all those Batsuits is a fallout of Joker War? Which, you know, good to see consequences actually appearing elsewhere in the DCU…
    Look forward to reading this…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re likely right on the Bat-equipment having been put up for sale… I’m afraid I wasn’t following the books so don’t know how Lucius Fox can legally keep Bruce Wayne’s money.

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      1. I think it stems out of his taking over his company and forcing Bruce out because of a ‘billionaire avoiding taxes with overseas accounts’ scandal on top of Catwoman stealing most of the fortune. Plus, Lucius and most of his family have gone hard core anti Batman/vigilantes.

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  2. I like the story very much, but I really hated the art.

    As for the Batman being broke thing, that was one of the most convoluted stories I have ever read. They should have just had the IRS come after him instead of that mess with Catwoman and that dumb new Harley ripoff.

    I think what we need is a book titled The Canaries, with Dinah leading a secret team of “outsiders” with Dinah, Katana, and maybe the reformed Frost (Killer Frost) as the stars and a couple of young heroines being trained by Dinah (the canaries)

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    1. I just dropped the Batman books when they started making the Foxes adversaries of Bruce, and Gotham suddenly became populated by rubbish villains. I have tried the odd issue of Detective since, having heard that Bruce Wayne actually gets some time, and they weren’t bad.

      A Dinah-led team could be fun, but Katana and Frost are so well established it would be weird to treat them as protégés of Dinah. So we need a new name, and no Katana. I hate Katana. Well, mostly. I thank you for remembering that Killer Frost had reformed, she was great in Steve Orlando’s Justice League.

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