Deathstroke #8 (DC)


Rating: 2.5/5 – Stiff Art As Wonder Woman Battles Deathstroke.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

When DC puts Wonder Woman on the cover of Deathstroke, they do it (usually) to pump up sales.  It worked.  I don’t read Wonder Woman OR Deathstroke, but I picked this up purely to give the book a try on the basis that it would likely bring in new readers just like me and I wanted to see how good a job was being done on making the story understandable to those new readers.

By and large, Tony Daniel & James Bonny do a pretty good job on bringing a new reader up to speed.  Deathstroke has been hired to kill the Titan Lapetus by the god Hephaestus.  This brought him to Paradise Island and into an inevitable conflict with Wonder Woman.  Simple setup for an issue that is a long fight scene interspersed with havok being wrought by Lapetus (who was not killed, but only freed from his imprisonment by Deathstroke’s attempt (in a some previous comic) to kill him by destroying a statue of him using a god-killer sword given to him by Hephaestus).  This is mostly cleared up in the page 1 narration.  I think this would be a good issue for people who like action.

Deathstroke Close-ups

Personally, I found the art to be very stiff, with an over-emphasis on really puzzling close-up imagery that did nothing to clarify the story for me (see above).  I’ll leave it to people with actual art training to offer some kind of definitive opinion here, but seeing a fist and a sound effect against a blank red background did nothing for me.  There were a few of these kind of panels, as well as strange closeups of rocks, weapons, and other unidentifiable body parts sprinkled throughout the issue.  An interesting art choice that I could dismiss as “filler”, but maybe there is some higher artistic purpose behind this that was completely lost on me.

Deathstroke stiff action

We also got a lot of action ‘poses’ during the battle that really didn’t ring true to me as a shape/pose the human body would take when performing the action that was being performed.  In the above sample, I have a combo of a close-up on Deathstroke’s leg with zero background detail except for some rocks, and a minimally detailed foreshortened image of Wonder Woman.  Is she charging him?  Did she throw him?  Did she throw the rocks?   I’m going to guess ‘charging’, but should I have to guess?  And what about the right-hand panel.  I think she jumped at him and missed because he ducked, hitting the tree.  But Wonder Woman’s body language is bizarre to my eye.  I usually just take in a fight scene in a comic and it lo0ks fine for the most part.  There were so many incongruities to the art in this issue that it really stood out to me in a pretty distracting way.

Deathstroke #8 was effective in that it brought me up to speed as a new reader in the middle of a storyline and I applaud the fact that I did not feel ‘walked into the middle of a movie’ syndrome, even though I had clearly joined a story in progress.  On the other hand, the art was very distracting to me and pulled me out of the story on several occasions.  I can chalk some of this up to personal preference, but I think some of it was due to actual technical issues with the art.  The bottom line was that I won’t be back for the continuation of the story in the $4.99 Deathstroke Annual #1, but if I see that issue in a $1 bin one day, I’ll be curious enough to pick it up.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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