Saturday, 1 April 2017

Deathstroke, Volume 1: The Professional Review (Christopher Priest, Carlo Pagulayan)


Did you know Rebirth is a massive hit for DC? They’re selling a buttload of these comics! But is anyone reading them? Because if they are, how are DC still managing to sell so many comics when they’re this bad?? I’m honestly at a loss to explain it.

Despite his horrendous Black Panther comics at Marvel, I was willing to give Christopher Priest another shot but after Deathstroke Rebirth, that’s it. I’m never reading another Christopher Priest comic again!

After some meandering drivel in Africa, Deathstroke is reunited with his long-lost daughter Rose who’s being targeted by someone and he decides to save her by killing her assassin. Also Batman makes a cameo.

Are you familiar with Deathstroke? Because if you’re not, you’re gonna be really lost as Priest doesn’t give you any help on the character’s background. We’re just meant to know who Wintergreen is, what happened to Slade’s first family, and how his daughter Rose came to be. Not just who her mother was and how that came about, but WHY did she become Ravager, following in her dad’s footsteps – does she even like her estranged father? She had a relationship with Nightwing - was she training to be a good guy and then got sidetracked? I know Rebirth is about returning to classic continuity but a little bit on his history would’ve gone a long way, particularly for the new readers jumping on for the first time.

Priest is a shockingly incapable writer on every level. I mean, he doesn’t attempt establish who Deathstroke is. HOW did Slade Wilson go from being a loving father and husband to a cold-hearted tosspot assassin? WHY did he become an assassin and where did “Deathstroke” come from? If you didn’t know he had a healing factor, you’d wonder how in the fuck he could survive a bullet to the back of the head (his healing factor is mentioned dozens of pages after that panel)!

Besides the lack of information on the characters and the barely coherent, uninteresting and instantly forgettable story, Priest ineptly jumps back and forth in time. It’s so jarring and needlessly complicated - a caption to tell us we’re in the past would’ve been useful considering Slade looks the same in the past as he does in the present!

It’d have been good too if Deathstroke was even remotely likeable. Some writers with much more talent than Priest can make readers like completely degenerate scumbags but I hated Deathstroke from the beginning to the end. He’s a stoic, miserable cunt who I wished nothing but pain and suffering on every page. Rooting for him? HA! The only positive about this guy is that Marvel ripped him off to create the vastly better character Deadpool (Slade Wilson/Wade Wilson, both are assassins, both have swords and guns, both have healing factors, both have full face masks).

Priest is also completely detached from contemporary culture and modern kids which wouldn’t matter if he didn’t have to write a kid character. He writes the most horrible Damian Wayne I’ve read yet who makes ‘70s sitcom references to “Maude” in his dialogue. Kids these days have NEVER heard the theme song to Maude (unless they remember that one scene from Family Guy) and wouldn’t quote “And then there’s Maude”! Priest is 55 years old and would’ve been a kid when he saw those shows growing up in the ‘70s so HE would make those references but he’s so crappy and lazy a writer that he can’t even attempt to make plausible references to 21st century shows.

This was horrible! I guess Carlo Pagulayan’s art was competent but I loathed Priest’s bad writing and hopeless storytelling so much I couldn’t enjoy it in the least. Maybe established Deathstroke fans might get more out of this but I’ve gotta warn you that Christopher Priest’s writing is utterly abhorrent and might ruin it for you too. Deathstroke, Volume 1: The Professional SUCKED.

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