I’m a sucker for comic books that show how a super team is built. These types of stories are perfect for montaging, which, if used correctly, can make for a fast paced read that’s filled with character work. Enter “Defiance,” a new team headed by Deathstroke. And wait, is that Wally West?!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“DEFIANCE” part one! A new day has dawned for Deathstroke. Having emerged from the Speed Force a changed man, Slade Wilson takes aim at living a better life—a life in service of justice. But when the world refuses to accept the new Deathstroke, Slade recruits a group of young heroes to join him including including former Teen Titans, Kid Flash and Power Girl, his children, Rose and Jericho, and the bombastic Terra! But has Slade truly shed his villainous past? And what other shadowy forces are working against him? Find out as Deathstroke’s bold new direction begins here!
Why does this book matter?
Not only is this about formulating a new team of heroes, but it’s also the start of a new arc where Slade Wilson is aiming to live a better life. This is a more chipper and positive Deathstroke, which should mean new Deathstroke stories.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
An awesome opening full page spread.
This issue cuts between each major member of the new team quite well, utilizing the black background and text of the name of the character and where they are to set up their introduction. This issue opens in Chinatown and explodes into an action sequence and from then on the narrative cuts between quieter scenes and action. There’s also a good recap of the “Lazarus Contract” storyline which helps fill readers in when it comes to Wally’s inclusion into this team. Writer Christopher Priest is quite good at balancing action, exposition, and character work here and it’s quite a breeze of a read.
There are also a lot of interesting dynamics in play with this team that should make this story arc very interesting. Slade is calmer and more at peace, but his ex-wife is not going to make this easy for him. Then there’s the complicated nature of Slade and Wally’s relationship which basically started on lies. Since this team will need to work together, it’ll be interesting to see how Priest makes them gel.
Diogenes Neves joins Priest on this issue and he gives it a strong and traditional superhero vibe. A thinner line and good detail in faces keeps you adept at what characters are thinking. The opening action sequence is quite nice with a full page spread of Willow being kissed by some jagoff in a dirty alley. The page has great depth, with neon signs in Chinese seen way in the back and trash in the foreground. This directly cuts to the action sequence which is masterfully choreographed and entertaining as hell.
It can’t be perfect can it?
A minor gripe, especially for superhero comics, but the opening action sequence with Willow has her pull out two guns from…somewhere. She’s in a skin tight, skimpy leather costume harboring a tiny knife in one panel and then two large guns in the next. What the heck!? Eh, still looks cool though.
It’s nice to see Tanya Spears on this team, but she may have gotten the least amount of purpose in this first issue. She serves to give Wally a person to talk things out sure, but she gets little character work or purpose here beyond that.
Is It Good?
This is a great first issue for a team that should pop with fun character dynamics. There’s also an explosive action sequence that might just make the whole issue worth your time!
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