Storylines through comics are truly an amazing thing.
While reading this Deathstroke comic, I was completely struck by how many tie-ins to past events could be fit into one storyline, while still seeming perfectly believable. There was a perfect flow to the overall story, one which began years ago in a totally different trade.
This comic draws heavily on a prior story I had read in the first The New Teen Titans trade, in which Slade Wilson’s son Grant is given a serum similar to that given to his own father, adopts an alterego of his own, and is ultimately killed by its effects.
Much of this story draws upon Wilson’s guilt over not being able to save his son. While this event happened in a comic published years before this one, it was still treated as an integral part of the story, and a key factor in determining Wilson’s mindset.
What’s more is that not only are these stories referenced, but they are actually built upon, with previously held mysteries being revealed, such as who was responsible for Grant’s transformation in the first place:
I found it fascinating that Slade Wilson should face the man responsible for his son’s death so many years after it happened. I love when stories make reference to a past event, but this takes it to a whole new level. These stories are literally taking years to resolve themselves, and even if the reader thinks it’s over, there’s no way to be sure. New details could be brought to light a decade later that completely change the story.
Maybe this is a bit of a “duh” statement. It’s not exactly surprising that these stories are intertwined, given that both comics were written by Marv Wolfman. After all, one writer would have a pretty easy time keeping multiple comics in continuity with one another. Still, this tie-in drew upon events from many years prior, building upon a storyline that had seemingly been finished long ago. There really aren’t many other instances of this occurring in any other form of media, and certainly not where it would be as enjoyable. At best it would be labelled a bad sequel, ripping off the original story. There’s no sense of that in this comic; instead, it feels part of a single, complete plotline.
Deathstroke is admittedly not a character I know very much about. In fact, I’ve been known on occasion to confuse him with Deadshot (I know, I know.) Based on his stories in this comic though, I can at least say I’m interested in the character. He’s not the best character I’ve read about on “the shelf”, but he’s intriguing. A little morally ambiguous, but that always makes for a good comic. He follows his own code, which I respect, and he’s driven, although sometimes it seems like that drive is going to get him killed. I’m not sure how much of a main fixture he’s going to be on “the shelf” from this point on, or if he’ll be more of a side character relegated to guest appearances in other people’s stories. He’s great as a guest star, but he can hold his own as the star too.
The main highlight of this trade though?
Sassy Alfred, of course!
He pops up in the unlikeliest of places, and it’s awesome (have I mentioned that?) He’s like the hidden Mickey of DC comics.
There you go, DC, there’s your next trade compilation: Every sassy Alfred moment, from ALL comics.
I would buy that book in a heartbeat.