Higgins takes Deathstroke back to his roots...
This ain't your mama's Deathstroke! Writer Kyle Higgins takes the reins of the new Deathstroke ongoing series and wastes no time getting the character back to his gritty, violent, bad to the bone ways. Deathstroke had lost his edginess over the last few years and it's clear that Higgins wants to give it back to him. The opening few pages feature Slade carrying out a contract in Moscow. Bullets fly, swords swing, and heads roll (literally) and this clearly sets the tone for the type of book this is going to be. There is plenty of blood and plenty of action but there's also some pretty good dialogue particularly in a scene where Slade and Christoph discuss a new contract. The new contract requires Slade to team up with a young, gabby, and obnoxious support team called The Alpha Dawgs. At first Higgins really lost me with the the "Dawgs" but by the end of the issue I really liked where they were at. Speaking of the ending, Higgins nails it with a touch of mystery as well as a brutal reminder of who Deathstroke is - an apathetic, business-as-usual killer.
I generally like Joe Bennett's artwork and for most this issue he does a great job. The first half of the book is especially strong with some really good character driven panels. Slade has a marked, distinguished look to him and his new Deathstroke suit, while heavier on the armor, looks really cool. The only part where the art falls a little short is with a brief action sequences later in the book. As Deathstroke is fighting onboard a plane, both he and the other characters looked stiff and blocky. The colors also seem to flatline during that same sequence. But the art picks up at the end and overall the book visually delivers.
This is a good start for Deathstroke and for what I hope is a strong and successful run. Higgins is taking Slade back to his roots but with a grittier more modern presentation. Bennett's art is a good compliment but isn't completely consistent. Still things are on track for a fresh look at Deathstroke that I hope really pays off in the end.