Deathstroke #11 “Assault on the Wall”
Written by Tony Daniel and James Bonny
Art by Tyler Kirkham
Colors by Arif Prianto
Our favorite mercenary is going after the Suicide Squad, and because of that, we’re covering Deathstroke this month!
Now, I read this book each month, and I’ve mostly enjoyed it. There are times that I thought it got a little weird or “out-there,” but I mostly view Deathstroke the same light that I view Batman – I enjoy him the most when he’s leading stories that are more grounded in realism as far as the plot is concerned. So coming off of a story where he battled against a god with Wonder Woman and Superman, I was excited to see this title shift into this direction.
If you haven’t been following Deathstroke or New Suicide Squad, then I’ll catch you up before jumping into this issue. When New Suicide Squad launched, Deathstroke was added to the team, but he wasn’t a prisoner at Belle Reve, and didn’t have a neck bomb to keep him under control. Instead, he was hired to assist the team. Slade Wilson is a business man as much as he’s an assassin, and loyalty isn’t really his leading character trait. He ends up betraying the team, torturing Deadshot, and causes a slew of unwanted problems for the team… Before you get intrigued and rush out to buy the first arc of New Suicide Squad, I’ll go ahead and tell you it’s awful, so save your money. (And if that doesn’t stop you, then I have two words for you as a final attempt: Joker’s Daughter).
After that arc, Deathstroke left the team, and received his own book. This book. Shortly into its run, Harley Quinn decided to pay Deathstroke a little visit and serve up some revenge for what he did to the Squad in Russia. After setting up Slade to take on Batman, Harley then realized that wasn’t the best idea as Batman was also after her, leading her to ultimately help Slade if he promised to take out Waller… And that’s where we are now. Harley wants Slade to pay-up on his debt, and she’s not exactly shy about how she sends her messages.
Unlike previous interpretations of Slade Wilson, this version isn’t a complete psycho. He actually cares for his kids and wants them to have a good life, but he also knows is something he will never be able to provide them. If you’re looking to grab Slade’s attention though, his kids are a perfect target (seriously, who would be stupid enough to do that?). Thankfully, not everything is as it seems, but it’s unclear as to how much of the “mistake” is or isn’t purposeful… and this carries no weight with him. After leaving a call-sign, Deathstroke decides to embark on a full-on assault on Harley, Waller, and the entire Belle Reve prison.
Roughly five pages in, this book turns into an absolute war as the action ramps up, and it doesn’t let up for the rest of the book. If you’re not familiar with Daniel’s writing, then you should know that his work is typically very violent and dark. I wouldn’t consider him the best writer on DC’s payroll, but he’s sure as hell not the worst. In fact, I typically don’t have many complaints concerning his writing. The one complaint I do have at times is that I feel he does go a little too far with the extreme violence… but that’s what works for him here. I mean, this is freaking Deathstroke for crying out loud! If it’s not a violent book, then you’re not writing the character correctly. Create a mix of Daniel’s writing, Deathstroke, AND the Suicide Squad, and you’re crazy if you expect anything less than a blood bath.
Thankfully, the creative team doesn’t shy away from highlighting characters from the Squad as Harley, Waller, and Deadshot are all featured rather dominantly. By the end of the issue, I was left thinking that this is what Sean Ryan’s New Suicide Squad should be: gritty, vulgar, edgy, and daring. By the last page, we’re set-up with a “who dunnit?” plot full of action and suspense, that’s high-energy from start to finish. Deathstroke might be there for revenge, but he’s not the only one looking to settle the score. Most of the Squad is out to get him, and they’re going to take whatever chance they get.
Warning! There are spoilers below.
The Good: When you’re dealing with an assassin that is breaking into a government facility to attack an underground organization that sends prisoners on covert missions that are illegal, your end product better be intense. And that’s exactly what this team delivers. It’s not at the cost of characterization though. Each character that is featured has a moment to shine, and every one of them feel true to themselves.
The mystery behind this plot is also done well. Initially, you’re convinced the entire Squad is behind the assault on Rose’s house, but by the end, you’re not so sure. I smell a set-up, but I haven’t figured out which direction it’s coming from. I definitely look forward to finding out though.
This book is by far better than anything Sean Ryan has done with New Suicide Squad, and left me wishing Daniel would just take over that book for a while.
The Bad: The start of this issue felt a little awkward as the creative team attempted to transition between the previous “God Killer” arc into this one. The script isn’t as polished as it could be, but it doesn’t distract me. They’re all minor observations that are rather nit-picky. There’s also a bit concerning an EMP that is also a little far-fetched, but again, it’s nothing major.
Sage isn’t anywhere in this issue so Deathstroke can stab him!… or at least punch him really hard.
The Art: Going into this issue, the biggest lingering curiosity I had pertained to the art… With Daniel artistically tied up with Batman & Robin Eternal, I wasn’t sure how much my reading experience would be altered by a new artist. I mean, when it comes down to it, Tony Daniel true gift is his art! It’s phenomenal. So imagine my surprise when I read the issue in its entirety, and then think, “I thought Daniel wasn’t doing art on this issue…” Yeah, that’s a huge compliment to Tyler Kirkham! This guy needs to be put on a book asap before DC loses him! Plus, what writer wouldn’t want to partner with an artist of this quality? And who wouldn’t want to stare at these pictures?
Prianto also deserves some credit too though! As I noticed with Lee Loughridge previously, colors can make a HUGE impact on someone’s work! The slight differences that does set Daniel and Kirkham apart are recovered nicely thanks to Prianto’s colors. And because I was specifically examining them, the details that go into his work deserve tons of praise!
To see some samples of the internal art, check out the spoiler tag below.
- You’re a fan of Deathstroke.
- New Suicide Squad hasn’t met your expectations.
- You prefer darker, grittier stories.
Overall: Deathstroke delivers on multiple levels, and ultimately owns Sean Ryan’s New Suicide Squad, showcasing how bad that book actually is in comparison to what it could be! I’m excited to continue exploring this arc, and can’t wait to see the outcome!