It looks like Slade is continuing his all out war on his perceived diminished capacity as an all purpose, always getting the job done, merc with an attitude by DCU’s seedy underbelly, always looking to hire the best at top dollar. This issue opens up with a little carry over from issue #1, namely, the briefcase he was hired to collect which contained “nuclear secrets.” Ever the mastermind, Slade feigns anger for “being played” when he meets the messenger who has his money from the original contract. Apparently, it’s not about the money for Slade (at least not THIS briefcase of money – more like briefcases 2-100) as he instigates a festival of slaughter for everyone that stands in his way of capping the messenger just so he could get on the 6 o’clock news and promote his “brand.”
Kyle Higgins seems to be asking for too much faith from his readers if he continues this plot arc without revealing (at least in pieces) some incident or situation from which Slade falls out of favor as the top hired gun in the world. It’s like a story about a cute little girl who flies off on a homicidal rage every time she sees or hears something, but the audience doesn’t know what she sees or hears. Deathstroke has always been a serious character whose wit only comes to the surface when it immediately precedes or follows some vicious murder by his hands. There really must be some grand design to his ever increasing hostilities on virtually everyone. The answer doesn’t seem to be the paranoia associated with a normal man his age nor of any other condition because there’s no evidence to support either claim within the pages of the first two books. Come to think of it, it would be interesting to see a hopped up super villain who enters the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and the fallout of such a situation, but that kind of a story device seems more vital to the initial makeup of an original character as opposed to a twist that temporarily throws a character off kilter. The more Slade eggs on about this conspiracy against him, the more I get the impression that he’s suffering from a Falling Down syndrome that’s all in his head, requiring the simple realization of the truth in order to snap out of it.
This issue may be thin on plot points, but it fills in the rest of the pages with glorious panels of action filled kill shots with blood being spattered about as if it were from Pollack’s brush. Bennett, Thibert and Wright really worked well here to deliver a very visceral series of action panels that feature Slade’s acumen with various edged weapons. I liked the fact that several of the action sequences had no dialogue or text of any sort within the panels. This allows the reader to appreciate the art more, but questions the lack of text as an inexplicable loss of content in only the second issue of a brand new series.
I really hope to find out what’s REALLY grinding Deathstroke’s gears because there doesn’t seem to be any reason outside his own head for it at all. I still like the action and Slade’s personal dialogue on this book so I will stick with it one more month to get things at least heading in the right direction.