The covers: A trio to catch and add to your collection if you can hunt them down. The Main cover is drawn by Tony S. Daniel and colored by Tomeu Morey. It’s a great shot with the title character in a downpour, making his way over a tree that’s barring his path as he goes through a city in Russia. Deathstroke looks massive and intense, and the addition of the tree makes him look primal. Excellent coloring partially obscures his face, making him mysterious, and every bit of the setting is stunning. Great red sky, darkly colored tree, with the dirty, murky brown ground. I like this. The Variant cover is by Andrea Sorrentino with a photorealistic cover of Deathstroke’s mask, split into two colors, red and yellow, with the word DEATH at the bottom. It’s okay, but looks sloppy. The Monster Variant cover is by one of my all time favorite artists, Kevin O’Neill. This cover shows the title character, with goat legs, sitting on a throne in Hell, that’s sprouting rifle barrels. His left hand has become an immense blade, while his right is holding Medusa’s head, whose hair is composed of serpent heads of DC characters (Joker, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Batman, Cyborg, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Plastic Man, and Metamorpho–he’s cut Catwoman’s head off). This is just amazing. Deathstroke looks absolutely evil and the addition of the other characters makes this look even more twisted. Every drawing from O’Neill is a gift. Overall grades: Main A, Variant C, and Monster variant A+
The story: This is a good introductory issue to this character for new readers and also a great issue for those familiar with Slade. Writer Tony S. Daniel begins “Gods of War” with a quick, concise, and perfect two paged introduction to the character. The issue’s premise is introduced at the bottom of 2: Slade has to kill an individual in Russia named Possum. On Page 3 he’s in Russia making contact, in more way than one, with his contact Angelica. She knows everything about the city, and she’s got the scars–major ones–to prove it. Pages 4 and 5 is a double-paged spread showing Slade making his way through several individuals in the city to get to Possum. I do like that he’s shown as not just a killing machine: he spares the life of one individual who’s not on his list to get to Possum, and lets the man go. This is a good inclusion to show new readers he’s not someone who kills just to kill; he kills only if it relates to the job. Things take a major turn when Possum’s been captured. 10 and 11 have an intense action scene that escalates substantially on 12 and 13. The story took another turn on 18, involving a weird sequence on 19, ending with a great cliffhanger on 20. That final page is going to change the character significantly and I can’t wait to see what comes of it. This was a very entertaining read and I’m interested in what Daniel has next for Wilson. Overall grade: A
The art: Not only does he tell a good story, Tony S. Daniel is also illustrating this issue, with Sandu Florea inking him. The visuals on this book are gorgeous. The opening three pages are cinematic, with horizontal panels giving glimpses into Slade’s life, at home and at work. If there were no dialogue on these pages, readers would still be able to understand what’s going on in the story. Slade looks terrific. He is the perfect badass. The first image of Angelica on Page 3 is a stunner–she is gorgeous, yet horribly scarred by some past event. The double-paged splash of 4 and 5 is a fantastic action opener, with Slade leaping against the backdrop of the city, while the many men he’s killed are inserts. This layout perfectly illustrates how to show the progression of many kills. Possum is one ugly, massive monster of a man. He looks like trouble, and when he goes into action it’s impressive. Once past Possum, things go worse for Slade, as he has to battle an army of men with interesting masks. The final page is this issue’s highpoint, which left me feeling like Slade, “What the hell did you do…?” Overall grade: A+
The colors: An sumptuous job is done by Tomeu Morey on this issue’s colors. The art by Daniel and Florea is intricate and Morey rises to the challenge of coloring it amazingly. Before arriving in Russia, the coloring is bright at Deathstroke’s headquarters, with his weapons locker being particularly bright. I love that Deathstroke’s narration is in orange, a terrific way to show who’s speaking to readers. Once in Russia the coloring goes red, nice touch, and it makes for a sinister city. The interiors aren’t red, but are colored gray to match Possum’s dead skin. This, too, is really nice and made Possum the focus of each of those pages. There are a lot of explosions that are magnificently colored and the sounds are wonderfully bright. I’m loving Morey on this book. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Narration, dialogue, sounds, title and credits, scene settings, laughs, coughs, and groans populate this book thanks to Rob Leigh. They look great with the sounds being great stand outs. With a book that has this much action, the sounds must be strong, and they are. Overall grade: A
The final line: I’ve been familiar with Slade since The New Teen Titans and he’s just as awesome in this new series. Lots of action with incredible art will satisfy all action junkies. Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.