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Mild Mannered Reviews - Teen Titans Comics

Teen Titans #23.2

Teen Titans #23.2/Deathstroke #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 18, 2013

Cover date: November 2013

"Lord of War"

Writer: Corey May and Dooma Wendschuh
Penciller: Moritat, Angel Unzueta and Robson Rocha
Inker: Moritat and Art Thibert
Colors: Pete Pantazis

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

In an unidentified urban city in America eight special military type's stand on guard inside a building. The leader of the group known as Deathblow surveys the area, when a giant explosion knocks them back. Deathstroke enters the building through the giant hole he blew in the wall.

Deathstroke and Deathblow engage in combat. One by one, Deathstroke takes down Deathblow and his team, and heads to a vantage point where he gets his target, a foreign military official (North Korean) in the sights of his sniper rifle, and thinks back to how he got to this point in his life.

We flashback to Bosnia, to a time before Superheroes and Deathstroke's own enhancements. We see both Deathstroke and Deathblow in an active war-zone, as they set charges and bring down a building. Just as Deathstroke sets the charges, he discovers that the building was filled with children, seeking refuge from the battle outside. Unable to save the children at all, the bomb goes off, and Deathstroke is left to deal with the horror he had just committed. Later we see him quit the military special forces that he belonged to.

Some time after these events, we witness the birth of Deathstroke's son Grant (and many years after that, but only five years from the present) we see both father and son in the same business as mercenaries for hire. After one particular mission in North Korea, one that they both successfully complete, both Deathstroke and his son take refuge at an old acquaintance house of Deathstroke's. As they sit and have dinner with the family, the house is attacked by what looks to be North Korean soldiers. During the attack, Grant is killed in front of Deathstroke's eyes. As Deathstroke leaps toward his son, a bullet catches him in the upper right side of his face, blowing out his eye in the process. Deathstroke makes short work of all the soldiers that attacked him and his son, gunning them down one by one, and also hacking off limbs with his sword! Later we see him standing at the grave of his son Grant.

Which brings us back to present day, with the North Korean official in Deathstroke's sights. Deathstroke thinks back and knows that only one man would have known where he and his son Grant would have been that night, it is very unclear, but we are lead to believe that it is this North Korean military official that betrayed them. Deathstroke shoots the official, and next we cut to him receiving payment for the job he just did. At that point, Deathblow and his team show up again, to capture him. Again he makes short work of them. We end at Deathstroke's home, where he is greeted by his daughter Rose, and his wife.

1Story - 1: I don't know why this book is under the Villain's Month banner, as it really seems that Deathstroke is not a villain. Secondly, Deathstroke has nothing to do with the Teen Titans, so why they put this book under the Teen Titan's banner, I don't know!

This book read like a 90's Wildstorm comic, and not a good one either. I was rather disappointed, because I'm a huge Deathstroke fan. I think that he is one of the few DC villains that is genuinely cool, and doesn't need a lot of reworking to make him so. He is one of the very few characters that was already well rounded when he was created. Deathstroke/Slade Wilson, is not an evil character, but rather a father that lost his first born son, and takes up the contract that his son failed to complete and died in the process of. His popularity in the past has been right up there with other such characters like Snake Eyes, The Punisher and I would argue even Wolverine. He's an anti-hero, and the closest thing you would get to a less than patriotic Captain America, that likes to get his hands dirty.

This issue didn't really give us anything new, in terms of updating the character, other than putting Wildstorm characters such as Deathblow and Team 7 in his past.

Much like the Pre-New 52, Deathstroke has a lot of love for his son Grant, but here Grant instead of becoming a mercenary and taking a contract on the Titans, he is killed in action of sorts, while on a mission with his father. With this change, they take away why Deathstroke hates the idea of teenage superheroes, and also takes away his connection to the Teen Titans. In fact, I say again, why is this book even under the Teen Titans banner? Deathstroke has never come into contact with the Titans at all in the New 52.

Deathstroke's motivation is nothing more than money now, so that if he were to die, his daughter Rose will be well taken care of. Admirable, and logical, but what ticked me off is that much like Wally West, Garth and Donna Troy, Joey Wilson/Jericho has now been written out of continuity! He is not mentioned or shown at all this issue. So for long time fans of the Teen Titans and Jericho, this is another disappointing aspect of this new continuity.

This issue was too fast paced and was all flash and no substance in my opinion. If there was a film equivalent of this book, it would be Sharknado or Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus. Waste of time and money in my opinion, not worth the paper it's printed on.

2Art - 2: This issue features multiple artists, and I've stated in the past, I'm really not a fan of having multiple art teams on a book. It's like having different actors play the same characters in the same episode or movie. Unless the artists have similar styles or are telling a flashback story (like this one), I don't like it at all. Because I have seen Robson Rocha's work in the past, I quite enjoyed his segments of the book. He really gives the book a 90's Image feel, which I thought rather appropriately fit the issue. I really disliked the here and now segments done by Moritat and Angel Unzueta only really did one panel.

The only thing that I really loved about the art was the awesome coloring by Pete Pantazis.

4Cover Art - 4: The cover is done by the usual art team of Eddie Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Alex Sinclair. The background image is the same as the one used on the Trigon issue, except that here Superboy is visible. When I first looked at it, I instantly thought, is that meant to be Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe? As much as I like Barrows and Fierarra's art, the way they drew Deathstroke just looked weird. So just a 4 out of 5 for this cover.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2013

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