Deathstroke Vol. 2: God Killer
Collection: Deathstroke # 7-10, Deathstroke Annual #1 and DC Sneak Peek: Deathstroke #1 © 2015
Publisher: DC Comics © 2016
Written by: Tony S. Daniel, James Bonny
Pencils: Tony S. Daniel, Tyler Kirkham, Eduardo Pansica, Peter Nguyen
Inks by: Sandu Florea, Tyler Kirkham, Peter Nguyen
Color by: Tomeu Morey, Arif Prianto, Fahriza Kamaputra
Letters by: Rob Leigh, Carlos M. Mangual, Dave Sharpe
Series and Collection Cover Art by: Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea & Tomeu Morey
Deathstroke created by: Marv Wolfman & George Perez
Wonder Woman created by: William Moulton Marston
Superman created by: Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster by special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel Family
Deathstroke has been contracted out, by a god no less and it is Hephaestus. Slade is hired to kill a long, ancient and evil god with the help of a sword forged by Hephaestus himself called the God Killer. The target is known as Lapetus, and in order to carry out Deathstroke’s contract he must reach Lapetus’ location – Themyscira.
This was a clever idea of the Gods hiring out Slade, granted it always seems the a-typical agents of crime, corporations and just villains normally hire out Slade or mercenaries/bounty hunters in general. It is less of personal story for Slade and has a smaller supporting cast from the previous volume which makes for a more enjoyable read you can pick and up go with anytime. If anything, his supporting cast is Wonder Woman and her Amazons but with that said you are fine with the story giving them some page time and show. Slade is more concerned with carrying out his task and getting the answers he needs to why he was given this contract. It reads more like a summer, action, blockbuster which Tony S. Daniel is terrific at writing. Usually, when other people write action it comes off as two panels with a punch here and a blast there with what feels more like a two second scuffle rather than an actual battle. The partnership between Slade and Diana comes off as very real and not cliché’. Diana does not welcome Slade with compassion; she sees this issue as mainly Slade’s fault and does not trust him as far as she could throw him, though she probably could throw him pretty far. She is willing to help him in ending this conflict but is hardly amused by him or gives him any warm feelings. This is not the peaceful, loving Diana which is a great change and makes sense given the context. Daniel and Bonny do a good job grounding her, giving her reason for her attitude and without making her bloodthirsty.
Sadly, Tony S. Daniel does not do all the art here. Nonetheless, he still shows up with his sleek yet rough pencils in a stylized manner. His Wonder Woman is beautiful but given the anger Slade causes her he sketches a truly terrifying looking Diana to the point it scares you and you hope to never see an angry Wonder Woman again. Daniel offers such detail and expression in all the various panels of Wonder Woman. Nguyen had a sketchier, smaller feel with a Deathstroke who appears too small and too young. It as if Deathstroke is 18 years old. Panisca does only a single issue and turns in average work, but in the end feels like just filler between Daniel and Kirkham. Kirkham offers a take which is his own style, and not just a nod or replacement to Daniel. Under Kirkham we get plenty of double-page spreads showing off our heroes and the villain in this highly detailed, busy with an immersive environment. These spreads come off like a mythic mural that sum up everything and could later be used as an actual mural in later stories retelling the God Killer. Kirkham turns up a much more human and dare I say not as skinny Wonder Woman. His Deathstroke though is beyond muscle bound. He looks great and intimidating but a bit overkill as well. It is in Kirkham’s pencils with these hellish environments that Prianto’s colors truly make this work feel like a classic piece of art, as if these panels and sketches from Kirkham should be up in a museum. It is not the typical popping color of let’s say a Jim Lee work.
It is fascinating that the God Killer sword from the Wonder Woman film would have its origins in a Deathstroke comment. The action is huge, with even more spectacle thanks to Wonder Woman and the addition of Greek pantheons, throw in Superman as well. That’s right, Deathstroke fights Wonder Woman AND Superman! One of DC’s most highly talented villains takes on two of the biggest heroes! Yes, it’s a shame Daniel could not do all the pencils but he has to write it and turn in covers as well. In the end, Kirkham takes the ball goes his own way and I would argue concludes the arc on an even higher note. The climax may not have worked without Kirkham. If you love Deathstroke – get it! It does not come off as a lame, quick cash grab of a cross over with Wonder Woman and even Superman appearing.
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