Review: Deathstroke Annual #1

It’s hard to summarize the plot of this issue since a lot happens in the space of 39 pages but essentially it’s all about the slow unraveling of Slade Wilson’s attempt to redeem himself after a lifetime of murder for hire.

The level of talent on display here is impressive. Writer Priest juggles moments of violence, introspection and interaction with a mastery of the form born of decades of creating some truly great comics. He really uses the length of the book to great effect, cramming as much plot and character development as possible into the space allotted. There’s almost enough story for an entire arc here.

The art suits the words perfectly. Together penciller Denys Cowan and inker Bill Sienkiewicz create a visual style that is grit made manifest on the page. It’s not for everyone but both of these guys are legends and their mere presence on a title deserves your attention.

Unfortunately this isn’t the best place to join the story in progress. This is an ending, not a beginning, thoroughly enmeshed in what has gone before. The story refuses to follow a straightforward progression from beginning to end, leaping back and forth through its own chronology. This could easily confused a reader with no experience in comics, who knows Deathstroke only from TV and video games. That said the next regular issue promises to be a good starting place and this is definitely a run to read if this issue is any indication of its overall quality.

Not a great comic for the casual readers but essential for anyone who has been following the series from the beginning (and this is a series anyone who likes superhero comics should be following).

Story: Christopher Priest Art: Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz Cover: Ryan Sook
Story:8.5 Art:9 Overall:8.75 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review