Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Deathstroke Annual #1

Dammit, Diana! Deathstroke isn't pointing that way!

Remember when Kyle Higgins was writing Deathstroke fairly competently with at least some kind of story arc and a decent amount of motivation? It may not have been the best comic book DC was publishing at the beginning of The New 52 but it certainly wasn't bad enough to be handed off to Rob Liefeld and skullfucked for seven months. I know comic books don't have skulls but we, as human beings with skulls, can imagine how awful that must be and that amount of awful is what Liefeld ass-sprayed all over Deathstroke. Then Justin Jordan failed at making Deathstroke interesting. Deathstroke had an appearance in the Green Team which was possibly his best appearance since Higgins (possibly inclusive of Higgins as well but I don't want to shit all over Higgins decent enough attempt to write a villain as the main character of a monthly series). Deathstroke shined in that appearance most likely because that's where he should be relegated. I'm not sure he should have his own monthly title. At least not until somebody can figure out a plausible framework for how he continues to exist as a hitman in a world full of superpowered beings. If Wonder Woman read Deathstroke's Justice League file, why is she now working with him to save the world? Shouldn't he be locked up immediately? Or let's assume she needs his help (hardy har har)! At the end of this Annual, he needs to be in Belle Reve (and not as a member of the Suicide Squad! Blech!).

Even though Deathstroke #8 came out last week, this issue begins with a lot of Narration Boxing to make sure any readers who don't follow the monthly series know what's going on. Although do people still pick up annuals to test the waters on a monthly issue? My guess would be they don't since DC's annuals constantly just act as another issue in the series. It's confusing and stupid. At least label this comic book "Annual #1 aka Deathstroke 8.5".

This issue is called "Fifty Shades of Slade" because barf.

Iapetus (you know what? I refuse to be a party to ignorance by continuing to call the Titan "Lapetus"!) has reformed and he's ready to destroy everything! The world! The Universe! The Omniverse! All of the Panverses! Everything! So Wonder Woman has decided to team up with Deathstroke to stop him. Once again I feel the need to question Wonder Woman's thought process here. Why team up with a murdering psychopath when you can call the Justice League! If it's a psychopath you need on your team, Batman is always available!

Last issue, Wonder Woman insisted that it was too late to stop Iapetus from forming so she busied herself with kicking Deathstroke's ass. That was the slightest reason given as to why Wonder Woman was acting so out of character. But Iapetus destroys that notion immediately.

Whoops! I guess Diana could have stopped him before he reformed! But Deathstroke had to be lectured so I guess Diana's hands were tied.

Iapetus doesn't want to get his ass kicked immediately because this annual cost $4.99, so he uses his super magic better-than-god powers to send Diana and Slade to a fiery pit of fire and monsters and pits. He also takes away Wonder Woman's flight. The reader learns this when, immediately realizing they're in some kind of hell, Slade says to Diana, "Why don't you do that flying trick of yours?" You mean the flying trick where she flies? That trick? It's a good thing he asks her though or else readers would be thinking, as they read this, "Why doesn't Diana do that flying trick of hers?"

And just in case the reader missed that part about flying, it's brought up again on the next page immediately after it was brought up on the previous page.

Did Diana think Slade was going to say, "Some 'god' you turned out to bitch"?

I'm truly glad Tony S. Daniel got a chance to write Wonder Woman and correct the belief that she's a compassionate person with endless amounts of patience. This is the real Wonder Woman! She's a woman who threatens physical violence if anybody says anything that she disagrees with! Especially if what was said disrespects her.

Slade and Diana have the kind of comic book repartee that is often used to fill dozens and dozens of pages but isn't clever or interesting at all. It's just verbal sparring for the alpha position in their little duo. And as they bicker, dozens of monsters close in on them and wait for the bickering to end before they attack.

During the obligatory page full of gore, Deathstroke thinks, "Damn. She's as beautiful as she is deadly." Oh! What a sweetie! I bet Wonder Woman would be glad he noticed. He really should have said it out loud because I'm sure she'd love to hear how pretty she is! Can I get a variant edition of this comic book where we get to see Diana's thoughts? I bet she's thinking, "Damn! I wonder if his cock is as big as his sword?" Probably!

Oh wait! Deathstroke also thinks this bit that I must repeat for those of you who didn't waste $4.99 on this comic book: "This place may not look like reality but it sure as hell feels real." What a turn of phrase! It's like silky dark chocolate melting over my cerebral cortex. Literally. Because I think that would be really painful and unpleasant.

The demons all run away because an even bigger demon arrives on the scene. It's a good thing it arrived because otherwise Slade and Diana were going to die. I'm glad another monster saved their lives because the main character and the God of War were incapable of saving themselves. It really adds depth to their characters knowing they're fallible and incompetent to boot!

What does that mean?! Is Diana making a joke? Perhaps they've having two different conversations because the monster's roar is drowning out their voices?

I could kind of understand it if Slade had said, "What the hell is it?" Then Diana's statement sort of works as a kind of joke? Maybe? Anyway, it's got an asshole for a face so it's probably a really unpleasant creature. I hope we get a double splash page of shit-vomit!

Beyond the arse-faced beast, they spy a convenient portal back to Paradise Island. I guess Iapetus's magic is the kind that only works if you allow the victims a chance of overcoming it. But since Diana can't easily fly up to it, she and Slade jump off of a cliff to certain death instead.

Oh wait. Whatever.

At first I thought Deathstroke mentioned Butch and Sundance because they were jumping off of a cliff. But Butch and Sundance were jumping into a river. So then I realized Deathstroke must be alluding to the end of the movie where they **SPOILER WARNING** run out into a hail of gunfire and certain death. But Butch and Sundance didn't get lucky and learn how to fly so they could have escaped.

Also, how old do you think a person has to be to recognize a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid reference? Slade is old as dirt so I get him referencing it even if he looks young now. But shouldn't Wonder Woman be all, "Who and what now?"

After learning to fly (and holding hands for some inexplicable reason), Slade and Diana are sucked into different portals for Chapters Two and Three of the Annual.

Slade winds up in Istanbul where Hessia is waiting for him. Sitting across from them are Rose and Joseph as children. Slade still calls Joey "Jericho" because he's a horrible dad who doesn't actually remember what he named his son. Some terrorists or something have also arrived which means something or other. I guess Slade's love for his children will be tested while he murders dozens of people. You know another way to test the love of a parent? Ask them if they know their children's names!

Diana winds up in a demolished London where sickly Superman points to other figments of Diana's imagination and says, "Look at how they suffer because of you!" Diana's all, "Oh no! Because of me?! Oh my!" And Superman is all, "I'mma gonna quote Oppenheimer here who was quoting, like, the Bhagavad Gita or something." And Wonder Woman is all, "I'll kill you for saying things!" And when she stabs Superman, he disappears in a fart and she realizes it was all a dream! Then she falls back through a portal or something. I guess she learned her lesson! I think it was to not stab Superman when he says things.

Meanwhile Slade is confronted by his children. Well, by Rose anyway. I'm sure Joseph really, really wants to tell him his real name but Slade never bothered to learn sign language so Slade is all, "Stop making shadow puppets and talk to me!"

Oh yeah! I forgot Jericho was only mute during that last Liefeld story with Stillborn. Or was it a Team 7 story?

Diana is confronted by Hippolyta but she's too smart to be fooled by this cliche plot point where dead relatives accuse their family members of being horrible failures. Slade isn't smart enough though and allows his figments of his imagination children to kick the shit out of him. But Diana pulls them away and tells Slade that the only way they can get through this is if they fight together! How sweet! I suppose this moment will help her forgive him of the 938 people he's murdered.

And then Tony S. Daniel writes a page that if I had been given a choice to either read this page or let Tony S. Daniel piss in my mouth, I would have taken the piss. But it's too late for that choice now! I already read it. Now you can read it too! Sharing this with everybody feels like that first time I sent somebody to look at, way back when the internet was still young and innocent.

Firstly, you made it personal by taking out a contract to murder Iapetus. Secondly, he didn't want the fight! You brought the fight to him because you took a contract to murder him. Thirdly, I'm pretty sure Iapetus has already met mortality since he's the freaking god of it!

You know, after rereading that page, I'm actually glad nobody allowed me to choose a mouth full of piss because the page wasn't so hard to stomach. It wasn't good! But it wasn't swallow somebody else's pee bad!

Diana and Slade kill the arse-faced beast and manage to make it through the portal to Paradise Island just before it closes. Oh, was it closing? I should have guessed that since it's more dramatic that way! Whew! That was exciting!

Back on Paradise Island, Deathstroke gets to say his catchphrase!

Ha ha! This was my favorite moment of the comic book! It wasn't a difficult choice to make since it was between this or nothing.

Deathstroke Annual #1 Rating: This comic book is slightly better than getting poo flung in your eye. I should apologize for calling this Annual "Issue #8.5". It definitely stood on its own and as a regular reader of Deathstroke (you sickos), you wouldn't have to pick this up. You also probably shouldn't pick this up. Don't even touch it. If your comic book store allows you to bring in lighter fluid and matches though, you might consider burning the place down just so nobody else reads it. I'm trying to tell you it's not good!

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