To make it clear, I am not a fan of the Liefeld take over for Deathstroke. I was just starting to like Deathstroke's new outfit, but looking at Liefeld's version, he makes it look ten times worse! and for some reason I have a hard time seeing him illustrating an entire book (at least without giving my eyes a headache... if that's possible). The only positive thing I can say about Liefeld taking over, is that a story with Lobo vs. Deathstroke is original (if not a little crazy), it could be fun... I guess. But as a fan, great action scenes are not the reason I fell in love with Deathstroke, and I'm not sure how well Liefeld will handle developing Slade's character. However after reading the IGN interview with Rob Liefeld on his ideas for Deatshtroke I have to say that I'm cautiously optimistic about his writing abilities:
IGN: In light of yesterday’s news – the cancellation of Hawk & Dove, which you had been writing and drawing – you’ll be moving onto Deathstroke as writer/artist. Was this a project in particular that you wanted to pull double duty on? What attracts you to drawing this character?
Liefeld: Two years ago, when Jim Lee and Geoff Johns were given their new positions, I called Jim and said “DUDE! Congratulations… how about Deathstroke for me??” He laughed and here we are. I could not be more excited. I feel like I’ve won the comic book lottery!!! I LOVE DEATHSTROKE! I was 12 in 1980 when Deathstroke appeared in Teen Titans #2. I wish I could time travel back to 1980 and tell my young self what is happening, he’d freak. I could not be more ecstatic.
IGN: As far as what’s in store for Slade under your guidance, what can you tell us about the direction you’ll be taking the book?
Liefeld: We are going to push Slade. He is at a crossroads. His life up to the point we find him has been driven by tragic events that have taken his family away from him. He has made an eternity’s worth of enemies, people who he has crossed in his role as the most dangerous mercenary/bounty hunter/assassin. These enemies pool their collective resources to bring about the end of Slade Wilson.
But before we can get to that, Slade is contacted by a covert government agency that has a mess on their hands. A breakout at a remote prison facility has occurred and unleashed a group of nasty alien criminals into the populace. Slade is offered triple his going rate but the real challenge is can Deathstroke, the most dangerous hunter on earth, bring down the most dangerous prey in the galaxy?
And it gets personal real fast; it’s the challenge Slade needs to re-awaken his humanity. When we join him he’s about to cash out, he’s numb. There’s no challenge for him, then this. Lobo vs. Deathstroke will be a whopper!
And then there are a group of young hybrids known as the Omegas that Deathstroke is charged with in his hunt for Lobo. It’s big.
IGN: I know you’ve discussed your excitement at drawing Batman for the first time officially during Hawk & Dove. Are there any characters in the DCU that you haven’t been able to tackle that might be making appearances in Deathstroke? More Batman perhaps?
Liefeld: Well between Deathstroke and Lobo and the Omegas, I’m crossing many, many characters off the bucket list. This is my love letter to Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Keith Giffen and Roger Slifer. As to Batman, turns out I really prefer Robin over the Dark Knight.
I think that Liefeld could possibly do the writing for Deathstroke, but definitely not the illustration.
Overall, I'm totally confused by this change. I admit that I haven't been crazy about how the new Deathstroke series began. The set up for the series has been a bit slow and the pacing for the overall story has been weak at points, but this month's issue was amazing. Kyle Higgins really caught all the greatest aspects of Deathstroke, and I am completely in love with Art Thibert's work so far.
Deathstroke #5 excites me, Liefeld does not.