There are only a handful of DC Comics villains who rate above Deathstroke in popularity and they are almost entirely composed of clowns who fight Batman. Since his debut in The New Teen Titans, Deathstroke has featured in many of DC’s most popular storylines and series, in addition to having a cool factor so great it spawned Deadpool. Time has not diminished Slade Wilson’s violent, anti-hero charms and his newest series, Deathstroke Inc., suggests they’ll last for many years to come.
Deathstroke Inc. #1 introduces readers to a new status quo following Christopher Priest’s critically-acclaimed, 50-issue run and quickly moves to distinguish itself. Having acknowledged his sprawling family and the harm he inflicted upon them all, Deathstroke is seeking an opportunity to prove himself a hero with the mysterious new organization T.R.U.S.T. to put down a variety of strange threats. Now he finds himself partnered with Black Canary seeking conflicts less likely to kill his surviving children. The result is a violent ride filled with gonzo energy and absurd encounters that delivers on all of Deathstroke’s “cool factor,” while still suggesting some layers of death beneath the many colorful explosions.
Artist Howard Porter instantly establishes the tone of this new series in a montage of Deathstroke’s life-so-far and the introduction of a very strange experimental village. His exaggerated forms capture the nature of Deathstroke’s life. Oddities and violence collide in character’s whose forms belie their nature and moments stuffed with enough pathos to warp the shapes contained inside. The introductory setting is immediately off-putting as the people (and insects) in the village are contorted just enough to send the signal something is wrong. Readers don’t have to guess at what that might be for very long.