How interested am I, in general, in Slade Wilson, Deathstroke the sometime Terminator? Not very.
But bring long absent comic book writer Christopher Priest back, and now we’re talkin’.
What’s the big deal then? Priest, as he named himself, basically made the Black Panther what he is today. Much of the Panther’s biggest bits of mythology that stick today and will probably be included in the upcoming movie came from him. He was fairly prolific for a while and then dropped out of writing…but now he’s back with of all characters Deathstroke.
What kind of character is Deathstroke? He’s been something of a big question for a while. Originally a major villain and foe of the Teen Titans, he’s been an anti-hero or a misunderstood mercenary in the past, and sometimes an outright bad guy. Priest’s take on Deathstroke is as a consummate planner and even his closest ally calls him a supervillain. He’s not, we’re told, a psychopath. He does have feelings. He just doesn’t show them, or know how to do so effectively. The proof may be that Slade is looking to rescue his daughter Rose, the Ravager. Some unknown person has put a contract out on her. Who and why is unknown, but Slade is feeling something akin to guilt over the fates of his two sons, Rose’s half-brothers, though he can’t or won’t say for certain. Slade’s plan, such as it is, is to try and get Batman to look into the situation by kidnapping Robin.
That may be the most fun moment in the book. This is the Damien Wayne Robin, and his overall attitude seems almost a match for Slade’s cold calculation. This isn’t a polite Robin like most people outside of Gotham might be used to dealing with.
Though it is still showing signs of a classic Priest style of writing, with all-black panels and subtitles while bouncing around time, I think Priest is still building something here and it isn’t quite there yet. Slade and Black Panther may end up being similar characters as master planners, and I’m intrigued, but it wasn’t the awesome work I was hoping for. Eight out of ten explanations for a boyfriend.