It’s a shame that Kyle Higgins’ run on “Deathstroke” is almost up, because I feel like with each issue he found his footing a bit more. And while this issue doesn’t have some of the wonderfully over-the-top insanity of the earlier issues, its measured pace and story is solid.
The majority of the first half of the issue is a flashback, filling in the last of the details about Grant Wilson’s time as the Ravager, and how he died. Higgins gives us a troubled relationship, one that avoids cliche because Deathstroke’s personality could result in nothing short of the slow motion car crash that is the two of them working together. It also places Deathstroke’s reaction to the Ravager mask in an entirely different light; learning that not everything was coming up roses makes Deathstroke’s need for revenge that much more interesting.
In the present day, Deathstroke’s battle is one of those no-mercy-given sort of scenarios. It shows Deathstroke at his most deadly, and stripped of humor it’s a reminder that this is the most dangerous assassin in the DC Universe. Watching him smash his way towards his goal, Higgins shows rather than tells, and the end result works very well.
Joe Bennett provides layouts for Eduardo Pansica and Vicente Cifuentes, and the three artists work well together. They maintain that slightly angular, hard-edged look to the art that has been established, and Jason Wright helpfully drenches everything in shades of red to give the same look and feel to a place that has been in flames. It provides a sense of doom to the entire situation, matching the script well. And with such a large one-on-one fight scene, the choreography for this issue needs to work well to keep the reader’s interest, and I feel like they hit that just right.
“Deathstroke” is a book that I think took a little time to find its way, and it’s too bad that it’s on the verge of getting retooled. For now, though, I’ll enjoy what’s left of Higgins’ time on the book. It’s found its voice, and right now it looks promising that Higgins will give us a strong conclusion. That’s definitely better than nothing.