Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Howard Porter, HI-FI, and Steve Wands
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: September 28th, 2021
As opening issues go, DEATHSTROKE INC. #1 doesn’t “really” do enough to push our amp to 11. However, this long-awaited title does provide a sufficiently entertaining release to Slade Wilson fans salivating for a new title. The premise behind DEATHSTROKE INC. isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, Williamson and Porter’s implementation was still rather successful. Nevertheless, this creative team is showing after this opening installment of DEATHSTROKE INC. #1 by Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter that they’re willing to take some intriguing risks to see where this story happens to takes them.
Realistically, Williamson kicks this issue off completely surrounded by one mission that very well could have been a one-shot. Yet, Williamson further provides fans with a sprinkling of what’s on the horizon for this series at a reasonably fast pace that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Fans are immediately thrown into the impact of this story left to paddle upstream with just enough knowledge under their belt to figure out the narrative. Can I just say, this was a rather refreshing take to the beginning of a series that could have begun with a U-Haul-sized pile of narration, description, and monologuing? Luckily for us, this creative team finds a way to make things interesting while also shedding some light on what’s to come in the process.
Not only was the story organized well but the makeup of this team was wildly unique and interesting. From Toy Man 2.0 to Black Canary, readers will get a rather eclectic group surrounding DEATHSTROKE that shockingly work well together with their own special pizzazz that you just wouldn’t expect to work… but surprisingly does. Specifically Black Canary and Slade have a good bit of raillery that adds some clever humor and spice to the narrative that was a bit unexpected and seemed to hit the mark well for this reviewer.
Nevertheless, with all the positives, there seems to be a few negatives as well. It seems like readers are missing a ton of information with the lack of/ missing inner monologues of the characters. Now, there is probably a purpose and design to promote confidential agendas from this clientele. Yet, I found those missing pieces hindered the story currently leaving this reader wanting to know a bit more background and how this puzzle will eventually fit together.
Porter is, as usual, fabulous! He always finds a way to take the story by the reigns and drive it forward with crisp detail, expression, and attitude that fits the characters so well. The action sequences were spot on cascading across each page perfectly in such a clean, rich style that will parallel your eyes to the focal points of every scene. Look no further than the introductory pages of the characters within the issue of DEATHSTROKE INC. #1 for proof of what I’m talking about. Furthermore, the backdrop of the narrative was given a unique, almost bizarre feeling that could practically make your skin crawl. But overall, Porter set the tone of this opening installment masterfully, which should be no surprise to those who’ve followed their FLASH run. So, to anyone that loved that run, this issue may be a good reunion of sorts to reminisce.
As DEATHSTROKE INC. #1 kicks off, I find myself not surprised by what’s unveiled yet intrigued by the direction of the narrative. Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE was the last real taste of Slade Wilson I’ve had in quite some time. So, I found myself drawn to the issue. Was I pleased? Well, if you came looking for action and fast-paced adventure, this issue of DEATHSTROKE INC. was certainly that. However, if you were looking for more setup, plot, reasoning, and direction, you’ll definitely still be looking for those answers. Now, if you’re searching for a bit more background, take a look at BATMAN: URBAN LEGENDS #6 first, however, it’s not really needed to understand the issue. Overall, the high octane action and amazing art by Porter mask the story beat and background that seems to be lacking in this opening installment. Nevertheless, there is certainly enough here to hang on for a couple more issues to see how the series unfolds. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!