Something is seriously wrong with Deathstroke. Between building armies, taking over Secret Societies, and proclaiming himself King of the Supervillains, the Terminator’s out-of-character’s behavior has not gone unnoticed. Determined to uncover the motivation behind her father’s actions, Ravager sets out with Respawn to confront Slade. Will Rose’s mysterious new ally tip the scales and help Deathstroke see the error of his ways? Or is her mission doomed before it even gets started?
SPOILERS AHEAD for Deathstroke Inc. #7!
“Why are you really doing this?”
Bursting at the seams with insane reveals and wonderful character exploration, Deathstroke Inc. #7 is a must-read prelude to DC’s “Shadow War.” A large portion of this issue’s success is due to Williamson’s masterful handling of both Respawn and Deathstroke. The writer’s choice to use the question, “Why are you really doing this?” as a recurring theme is absolutely perfect. It allows the creator to delve deeper into the assassin’s psyche. It’s a move that works well as this question echoes the sentiments of his supporting cast and the readers. Additionally, Williamson’s reveal regarding Respawn fits perfectly into an answer that expands upon Priest’s work with Deathstroke.
From Deathstroke Inc. #7’s opening flashback to the moment Rose screams in desperation, the creator bookends the narrative with the recurring theme of “Why are you really doing this?”. By structuring the story this way, Joshua Williamson draws a parallel between these two moments, suggesting that the reasoning is still the same.
During the conversation with his daughter, Slade reveals, “I was on a mission… and I saw something… darkness… There is something coming. And I’m going to prepare for it.” Deathstroke’s words suggest that the same sense of duty that drove him to take the serum also propels him to prepare for war against this oncoming darkness. It’s a motivation that remains true to the character’s military roots.
Despite Deathstroke’s call of duty, it is only when Rose pushes for more answers that Slade’s honest answers erupt to the surface. When asked why he left, Slade responds, “I left because of Grant! My son died!” Throughout Christopher Priest’s run on Deathstroke, the writer explored the importance of family within the assassin’s life. I love that Williamson’s work here calls back to Priest’s run and the notion that “whether they admit it or not… fathers need their sons.” With this dialogue, Joshua Williamson reinforces the idea that the loss of Grant propelled him down a path leading him to this exact moment.
Additionally, the reveal that Respawn is Deathstroke’s “son” confirms this notion. Throughout this sequence, Slade literally sees Respawn as Grant and promises, “No one will ever hurt you again.” Deathstroke is given a second chance to rectify his past failings and “save” his son. Although Grant’s death happened earlier in his career, this is a motivation that resonates with me as a parent. I could not possibly imagine coping with the death of my children. As a result, it is not a stretch that the trauma from this wound would still be fresh years later.
“I was on a mission… and I saw something… Darkness.”
I would be remiss if I did not mention Stephen Segovia’s excellent artwork and Hi-Fi’s colors. So much of Deathstroke Inc. #7’s narrative pays tribute to Priest’s run on the character. I love how Segovia recreates the panel from issue #50, in which Slade abandons his family at the dinner table. This does an excellent job tying these two narratives together. Additionally, Segovia does a great job conveying the character’s complex range of emotions and each action sequence. Finally, Hi-Fi’s darker colors give the narrative a grim feeling, while muted tones evoke the soft spot Slade has for his children.
Deathstroke Inc. #7 is a must-read prelude to DC’s “Shadow War.” Bursting at the seams with insane reveals and wonderful character exploration, this issue’s success is due to Williamson’s masterful handling of both Respawn and Deathstroke. The writer’s choice to use the question, “Why are you really doing this?” as a recurring theme is absolutely perfect. It provides the creator with an ideal opportunity to explore the title character further. Additionally, Segovia’s artwork bolsters this issue with expressive facial expressions and homages to the character’s previous run. Moreover, Hi-Fi’s darker colors give the narrative a grim feeling, while his muted tones evoke the soft spot Slade has for his children.
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