Deathstroke: Volume 1: Gods of War

Written and Penciled By: Tony S. Daniel

Inks By: Sandu Florea

Distributed By: DC Comics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                When I was offered the opportunity to review Deathstroke: Volume 1: Gods of War, I was ecstatic.  Then I realized that, other than seeing his character in a few comic book series I had read in the past, I didn't know all that much about Deathstroke other than an idea that he might be on the opposite side of the law from Batman and friends.  Luckily for me, this Deathstroke graphic novel takes place in the world of The New 52.  No complicated storyline to figure out thanks to that little reboot.

                Deathstroke: Volume 1: Gods of War is a compilation of issues 1-6 of the Deathstroke series.  The action begins with Deathstroke's betrayal at the hands of his trusted confidant and handler Tiggs (otherwise known as Bronze Tiger).  Set up and ambushed, Deathstroke holes up in an old hideout hoping an old friend can help him heal.

                 When he awakens, the Slade Wilson known to the world as a top assassin is gone.  In his place is a younger man, both eyes intact, with a thirst for revenge, but no way of knowing who is behind the plot.

                It all becomes clear after a visit from a mysterious costumed woman named Red Fury.  Aiding Slade in retrieving his suppressed memories, Red Fury reveals his father Odysseus' rise to power and attempt at harnessing even more through Slade's son Jericho in an attempt at achieving world domination.  Slade must travel to Gotham City to rescue his son from a horrible fate at the hands of his own grandfather. 

                Faced with fighting many friends, now turned enemies by Odysseus, and Gotham's own Dark Knight, the path is daunting for Slade Wilson.  But the man known as Deathstroke has never been on to back down from a challenge.

                I had always thought of Deathstroke as an assassin for hire and, therefore, a villain, but this version of Deathstroke is quite different from what I expected.  Slade Wilson is a very complex character who appears to love his children and is willing to do anything to protect them.  On the other hand, he is ambushed while on an assassination gig, so I guess Deathstroke is no saint.  I know Wilson has healing powers thanks to some genetic alteration performed while he lay injured and dying after a military assignment, but the reverse aging has me just as baffled as Slade.  I wonder if this will be explained in later issues of the series.

                I found the artwork of Gods of War stunning and loved the color palette used in this series - quite striking, especially in the more bloody scenes of the series.  Inclusion of the variant covers was a nice add-in to the graphic novel, allowing fans of the series to collect all of the variant covers in one graphic novel.

                Though I'm not a huge Deathstroke fan, I found the storyline to be intriguing.  Just how did Odysseus turn someone as strong as Lady Shiva?  What else does he have planned?  Why does he need Jericho's power?  And how in the world is Deathstroke going to stop someone with the same regenerative powers as his own?  I suppose all will be answered in further issues of the series.  Right now, all I can say is that Deathstroke: Volume 1: Gods of War was one heckuva fun read!

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