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This issue of Deathstroke, overall, leaves much to be desired but has enough action combined with depth to keep readers coming back for more despite the flaws. There is little progress with character development and the artwork is full of disproportioned bodies and environments that are almost hard to look at.
We step back in time to see a much younger Slade (much younger being 60) and his son Grant training with Peabody. After an ‘acceptable’ session, we return to the present to see Slade’s degrading condition and his fight with the new Legacy… who proves to be more of a challenge than any of the previous wearers of the Legacy suit.
Deathstroke #5 begins with a flashback scene between Slade, his son and Peabody adds to the mystery of his son Grant’s death and adds to Peabody’s characterization. The scene also adds a little to Christoph’s character, a moot task because of the twist from the last issue. It would have been better to see a more drawn-out training sequence as an excuse for some action, which was very limited in this issue.
I am glad the Deathstroke series has started to get depth, but it has done it at the unnecessary cost of omitting almost all action scenes. This issue had one action scene featuring Grant and Peabody against targets and a huge fight between Deathstroke and Legacy which was resolved very quickly. Neither fight was strategic with the first having no threat and the second leading to an unoriginal cliffhanger.
What’s original (at least for the first three issues of Deathstroke) is the use of depth that continues to be used in the story. The characters are given more of a back-story and have some good dialogue, excluding a boring and over-the-borderline confusing narration from Slade that comes out of nowhere and not only leaves just as quickly but never comes back (thankfully).
Joe Bennett’s art brings this issue down the most. Rarely do characters look anatomically correct with rippling muscles and over-lined faces. I understand using a ton of lines on Slade’s face considering his advanced age, but Peabody always looks poorly drawn. His huge two-page spread is ruined because, while the environment looks good, the character in it looks like a pile of colored-mush. There is not much “new” to say about this issue. It has similar pitfalls and strengths like the last issue. But it still feels like, with everything going on, little is being accomplished. This issue felt boring with less strategic action scenes and more atrocious art.
The problem is how long it took this series to develop depth. Not only did almost all previous issues lack it, but this issue does not waste time giving us depth. But it does not come in large quantities. The pacing could be quickened slightly, but the direction this issue has taken is definitely a step in the right direction, if not as solid a step as the previous issue of Deathstroke’s had taken. Avoid this issue if you want a lot of action and more than minimal (but well attempted) depth.