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Exposition unfortunately abounds in this average issue with some terrible artwork and a bunch of characters that either rarely have lines or just snarl hateful comebacks.
Deathstroke fights along side the Omegas, trying to locate an escaped alien genocidal maniac, Lobo, who has already destroyed his home planet and now wants a taste of what Earth would be like when blown to bits.
The story feels like a jump from the previous Deathstroke arc. This is an end-of-the-world scenario. Previously, Deathstroke’s missions were a lot more contained. It also makes no sense as to why Deathstroke would be contacted to bring Lobo down and not the Justice League, regular do-gooders with superpowers rather than a freelancing mercenary who would happily put a bullet into his teammates heads. Ironically, Deathstroke’s the one with the cool head in this plot hole filled issue while the rest of his team who are hard to distinguish from each other because of their lack of lines and characterization, kill left and right against their better judgment. All of these decisions make it seem like Liefeld just wants to raise the stakes of a Deathstroke story just for the sake of raising them and doesn’t bother to make much sense.
While his team has barely any identity, Slade (a.k.a. Deathstroke) has turned into quite the anti-hero after being much more of a villain in previous issues. His characterization has clearly been toppling ever since Liefeld took over last issue. His narration is never introspective, but continues to commentate on his current fight, making the same mistake as the last issue: telling while it should just be showing. Also, this issue adds the oddly placed gimmick of replacing some of Deathstroke’s narration with journal entries when the writer could have easily kept the flow of narration from Deathstroke and not switch unnecessarily to some journal.
So, Deathstroke has become an anti-hero with a diary. What about our villain, Lobo? Readers get about as much panel time with him as last issue, but he is given more dialogue and still makes little more impression than he is a lot like how Deathstroke was. Seriously, if he wasn’t trying to kill him, I could see Deathstroke and Lobo hanging out. Maybe at Sam’s diner.
The dialogue is stilted with a lot of combat-talk, but the exposition of the settings is completely unnecessary, especially in the opening. We learn a lot about Sam’s diner, which is seen in the beginning for a quick stint with Lobo and will obviously not be returned to. It is a nice nudge to Lobo fans since Lobo has drunk at a similarly named bar outside the galaxy, but knowing the food offered at Sam’s? Never necessary. He can keep his potpie, just give me a story. Because of all this exposition, the pacing has slowed down a lot in this issue.
The only real fight in this issue between Deathstroke, the Omegas and some guys who are also after Lobo – yes, this fight is a complete misunderstanding and should not have even happened, but then we wouldn’t have any action panels other than Lobo’s freak out in the opening – and I can’t even enjoy it because of Rob Liefeld’s sketchy artwork. Characters faces are over lined, expressions are over the top (thankfully, Deathstroke can’t have expressions thanks to his costume), and almost every panel’s background is nothing more than a single bland color and speed lines.
This issue of Deathstroke did not make me rant and rave like last issue. This is not as bad an issue, just a grossly mediocre one that is not worth the money when there are so many other New 52 titles out there that are much better worth your $2.99 that offer far better artwork and much less plot holes.