AVOID AT ALL COSTS!
I have had the pleasure of reading the first two Higgins issues on Deathstroke before picking this up so I could compare the two takes on Deathstroke. I have never been a major Deathstroke fan but I never had a problem with the character either. I mostly was ignorant to his appearances in Pre-New 52. I have been told that Higgins was ruining Deathstroke. After reading Liefeld's first issue on the new Deathstroke series, I just do not see how that is possible.
Everyone is aware of how terrible of an artist that Liefeld is so I do not feel the need to go into it too much here but I will say that it is not Liefeld's worst work ever. However, I absolutely do not credit Liefeld with any kind of growth at all from his work over the years. In fact, Liefeld seems to firmly and intentionally be against any kind of growth or effort as an artist or a writer. I honestly do not understand how he keeps getting work, Liefeld is just lazy.
Unbelievable and laughable proportions aside, Liefeld just does not seem to be able to deal with continuity as an artist from one panel to the next. I wonder if when the inkers got the penciled pages handed to them, they let out an audible sigh of disappointment before going to work trying to figure this stuff out.
Then Maxim's glasses seem to phase in and out of reality...
In fact, the only consistency seems to be with Zealot's facial expressions.
Then there was the writing. I swear I was reading a comic from the 90s and that is a very bad thing. Deathstroke seemed way too impressed with himself and made death threats to everything that moved in the issue, for no other reason than it makes him "badass" to do so. I do not remember reading so much big talk bravado nonsense in a recent comic. If we cut away the emtpy filler badass talk, we would not even have half the issue. Someone told me that this version of Deathstroke had depth and I seriously am wondering where the hell that is supposed to be. Is it at the beginning where he is narrating about how tortured and seemingly suicidal he is? At how killing endless troves of people and making incalculable millions have not filled the gap in his soul? Yet somehow this new contract is supposed to fill that gap? The plot seems rather contrary to his inner monologue. And I love that by smelling an opponent and using his mega-hyper battle brain, he can determine that his opponent is a "level 7 telekinetic alien" and can tell what moves you make before you make them. What?! Are we talking about Deathstroke or Midnighter here?
Then there is Lobo. I never cared for Lobo because he was absolutely a ridiculous joke character that was created to be over the top. But here it seemed like Deathstroke and Lobo traded places in how they are depicted. Lobo is the gruff and serious one and Deathstroke is the campy, dick measuring, self promoting badass.
I tried to glaze over a lot of my grievances because it is Liefeld and what else can be expected of him? But really there is nothing to praise in this issue. The art is bad, the plot is childish, the dialogue is antiquated and the scene transitions just do not tell an interesting story. It just is a bad issue from a comic reader standpoint. I would be extremely surprised if a reader willingly puts money down on this issue AFTER reading it first.
I give this issue a flimsy 0.9/5. Not the worst issue ever but it is not something I would ever care to read again.