This issue starts with Black Canary fighting off members of the Secret Society, who last month were revealed as the secret council behind T.R.U.S.T. That acronymic organisation had hired Black Canary aka Dinah Lance, and Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, to capture supervillains. Dinah wasn’t sure if they were good guys or bad guys, but either way she was playing them, having gone deep undercover to learn the truth about T.R.U.T.H. As it turns out, they were playing her, their endgame being…
… well, it’s complicated, but if you haven’t been following this DC series – and as I never hear anyone else talk about it, that’s a fair assumption – go back and find issues 1-5. This run has been huge fun, setting up a great dynamic between frenemies Dinah and Slade, throwing in the latest Toyman, a new version of classic-ish Justice League villain Libra and truly barmy missions.
A big question that’s run throughout is, given Slade is always defeated by the superheroes, should he commit to being one? Finally, he’s made his mind up.
Slade has a proposition for Dinah.
Of course, the answer is No. Dinah escapes, and the Society members aren’t happy with Slade.
Anyway, Dinah is soon back on the scene with her Justice League colleagues, of both the Dark and Vanilla variety.
The story goes on to show us Deathstroke settling into his new status as king of the hill, before a surprise – yet logical – pair of DC characters show up on the final page.
While there’s no announcement on the cover, I was sure this sixth chapter would turn out to be the end of Deathstroke Inc the series, but no, it’s continuing, which is great as Deathstroke Inc the organisation doesn’t come into existence until this issue. Joshua Williamson, current ‘architect’ of the DC Universe, produces another fast-moving script full of favourite folk, both well known and obscure (remember the Body Doubles?). No one acts out of character, the labyrinthine plotline continues to be doled out in easy to digest steps and there’s a nice balance of drama and wit. And the few pages of Justice League involvement show that Williamson really should have a run on that series.
Howard Porter, who drew the first few issues, isn’t drawing the interiors this time, but he does give us the marvellous cover, coloured by the always excellent Hi-Fi, which evokes the pulp mags of yore. And artist Paulo Pantalena brings the vibe Porter established to the issue, while impressing with his storytelling. I’m especially pleased with the subtle facial expressions and the realism of Dinah’s leather outfit, I can almost hear it squeaking.
And from the glimpses we get, I want to see more of Pantalena’s Zatanna, whose traditional stage outfit gets a BoHo tweak, from hat on down.
The colours of Romulo Fajardo Jr are a further boon – the night-time tones are excellent, from the dark of the skies to the light from the Society’s castle. Plus, the slightly compressed font used by Steve Wands has a lovely straightforward air that suits grizzled veterans Dinah and Slade.
Having been thoroughly sick of Deathstroke’s overexposure, it’s slightly weird that I’m enjoying a book starring him so much. But this series really is very good.