Se7en

The issue is a major home run, maybe our best so far, which is immodest only if you don’t consider I’m just one of a bunch of people responsible for it.

With #7, I think we’ve finally gotten the recipe right, especially the visual cues of Deathstroke is now a sleek night creature as opposed to the broader all-purpose hulking super-soldier, as well as the dynamic of Slade’s character.

Special shout out to colorist Jeromy Cox who is simply amazing here. I think I actually audibly gasped when I turned the page past the Watchmen/TDKR yak-yak on page one (which was intended to slog the pace and set up the punch-in-the-face 2-page splash). The book just looks way better than a comic book should.

The issue successfully launches post-Rebirth Jericho, which new readers should like while longtime DC fans will either love or hate. We’ll see. The only major flaw in this issue is mine; I forgot to identify Joseph as Jericho (the name “Jericho” never appears), which is a terrible rookie error.

I believe the Superman 2-fer (#7-8) closes out the first collection/trade nicely and caps our evolution of this character and his supporting cast. I hope it is well received. I can easily see all of the effort editor Alex Antone and the Deathstroke team have invested in it.

Somebody *please* send this issue to Affleck.

Thanks and Happy Turkey.

36 Comments

  1. Drew says:

    Hello Mr. Priest, I just want to say another great issue! I’m so thrilled at what you’ve done with the Wilsons since Rebirth began. They’ve been some of my favorite characters for a long time and they’re finally starting to feel like themselves again after they were put through the wringer in the New52. I have a question in regards to the future. Since you’ve been really going back and pulling from Slade’s original history, such as using Patricia Trayce, is there any chance we might see Cheshire (Jade Ngyuen) down the road? I don’t know if she’s been used yet in Rebirth, but she does have a history with Slade, and it would be cool to see her again in some capacity.

    • Priest Priest says:

      Hi Drew and thanks for the kind words. We have no immediate plans for Cheshire as we’re filling out the remainder of Year One, but Year Two planning will begin shortly, so I’ll mention her to the powers that be. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. VersasoVantare says:

    I bought it, I liked it!
    I have to admit, I’ve always quite liked Slade as a big guy, I enjoyed the effect you get when he suddenly looms up behind someone. I do appreciate the emphasis on a stealthier Deathstroke though, and thought the sequence near the end where he’s sneaking around the aircraft carrier was pretty cool.

    I don’t think the Ikon suit looks quite as good without the cape, but I can’t help but feel the cape wouldn’t have suited Joey as much, a more streamlined design does seem to fit him better. I hadn’t expected to see him being a superhero in light of his actions in the previous issue, even though I knew he was one in the 80s/90s. He looks like he’s going to be pretty interesting.

    And of course, I am pretty keen to see how the confrontation with Superman’s going to go. I’m looking forward to next issue.

    • Priest Priest says:

      Thanks, Veraso. We never thought to give Jericho a cape (even though he sort of had one in the 80’s). Are capes still “in”? Seems like the trend these days is away from capes and underpants on the outside in favor of all of these crazy and inexplicable lines and seams running through the costumes for no apparent reason πŸ™‚

      Jericho very much wants to be a hero, to give something back to society and protect people. But he also lives within the gravity well of Deathstroke’s dysfunction and is not immune to it (as we saw last issue). This is his journey: to disavow his father’s evil while dealing with those very same impulses within himself. Stay tuned.

      Oh, an unlike our Bat Trap story, there *will* be fists thrown next issue (many of them at the office).

  3. Mario Di Giacomo says:

    Hmm…

    I’m not really crazy about the “eyebeam” thing. While I understand the reason for it, it doesn’t quite work for me. What made you decide to depict his powers that way?

    Are we to assume “the Unit” is the modern equivalent of a particular apian organization that bedeviled the Titans back in the day?

    As for the revelation near the end of the issue, I’m trying to figure out if said person works for AK, JW or is self-employed. It’s a bit unclear.

    • Priest Priest says:

      Yeah, well, I figure “the eye beam thing” will be a kind of love it or hate it issue with established fans, while new readers obviously won’t arrive with a bias either way. The 80’s thing of Jericho’s eyes– his victim’s eyes– Jericho’s eyes–his victim’s eyes, besides being time consuming, is a really dull visual. I wanted something snappier, more dynamic, and *immediately* obvious as to what is happening. So, Green Cyclops it is!

      You’re not supposed to know who she’s working for. It’s supposed to be unclear πŸ™‚ Stay tuned

  4. Sam says:

    Hello Mr. Priest! Another intriguing issue!

    The reappearance of the Wilson Family matriarch is another part of your series I have been waiting for. Adeline is another favorite, I’ve always struck her as being a character similar to Amanda Waller and sad her potential was wasted in her becoming the crazy HIVE mistress who, like her sons, killed to highlight how much it sucks to be Slade Wilson and sucks even more so to be related to him. She always was a character filled with anger, mainly with Slade, and here she not only has just as much reason as before but much more now with adultery to be pissed about as well. She’s spiteful as all hell but there’s a sense you can’t blame her given what has happened and you’d hope she doesn’t go that far. I can see her not being fond of Rose for the reminder she is to her of her husband failing their family multiple times as well as Rose being very much “her father’s daughter” and taking up Grant’s codename. That’s pouring a lot of salt on a wound thatΒ  Addie refuses to let heal already. And God Bless Barry for putting up with Addie and Slade’s shit.

    And Joey! Seeing him being genuinely altruistic again is wonderful and makes you worry about him more in the future. If that is his new suit it isn’t bad as I’ve wondered about him adopting a mask that symbolically covers his mouth like the rest of his family with their disabilities. Before Joey didn’t seem to care about secret identities especially when the whole world knew who his father was already. Only thing I’d fix are the colors to channel more of Joey’s original color scheme for both nostalgia and for him to look more like Jericho instead of Ikon II. Speaking of which, with (or if) Ikon is dead you’d think people will find it weird someone new is already wearing his suit…

    I’m also unsure how Joey’s powers work now. I understand the eyebeam thing you explained above but is he still “body jumping” like in the old days or just his mind “jumps?”

    • Dave Van Domelen says:

      Importantly, does his body still go limp when he’s running someone else’s body? I suppose the Ikon suit could be set on autopilot in that case, which would definitely help him work as a solo act.

      • Priest Priest says:

        Didn’t J used to vanish or become intangible when he was in a host body? In any case, I am deliberately not getting into that just yet. It’s all part of my nefarious plan to roll these characters out in a deliberate fashion rather than doing a data dump or Who’s Who entry and overwhelming new readers. Jericho explains it all himself in issue #9 and Dr. Villain gives a dissertation on all of the Deathstroke (and kids) powers in issue #10.

    • Priest Priest says:

      I just love Adeline. There was some debate about bringing her back– I really hate bringing characters back from the dead. I think it kind of insults readers who have invested in those characters. But she was such a pip to write in those flashbacks, Alex (editor) said, “Maybe we should bring her back,” and I was happy to do so. What I like most about Barry, her 2nd husband, is he had no idea Slade is Deathstroke and keeps getting in his face, not realizing this guy is the world’s deadliest assassin.

      I also love how Carlo, in particular, draws Slade Wilson to look more or less like A Regular Guy when in civilian garb. I imagine Slade, who is much taller than he appears to be in the comics (we’re working on it) would wear loose-fitting clothes to appear more Joe Normal when walking around.

      Jericho is wearing his colors–white and gold. We may change the Deathstroke Black on the bodysuit to blue eventually. Joe *desires* to be the altruistic character, but, mere days later, he’s walking around in a dead man’s costume–which is a creepy Deathstroke-like thing to do.

      I see Jericho as a hero in the sense that he struggles to overcome the gravitational pull of Planet Slade. I think that struggle makes him really interesting and unique.

      His powers have not changed. I just thought the back-and-forth eye stares were an uninteresting and time-consuming way of expressing this transference. Now it’s just one look and Zap! He’s “possessed” you.

      The other change we’re making is he does not become immaterial or ghostly or whatever. My mind is a little too addled to figure out a way to reconcile his and Rose’s and Slade’s abilities, and, due respect to my mentor Marv, the origin of these powers seems wildly coincidental.

      I’ve sculpted a little theory which Dr. Villain will float in issue #10 as to how all of these powers came to be, what the common denominator is, and how Rose and Jericho’s abilities are distinct expressions of the core of Deathstroke’s own abilities. Stay tuned.

      • Sam says:

        I will say this again: I am very glad you brought Addis back especially in a series meant to encompass so much of what made Slade’s character tic. The New 52 killing Addie, but also not have her shoot Slade’s eye out was a grave injustice.

        Forgive me, I also tend to think know of purple and blue as Jericho’s colors as well but the Ikon suites colors still fit into his original color scheme and of course appropriately contrasts with his family. Also kudos to the art having young Joey clad in purple and blue as homage.

        I am also looking forward to where else you take Joey’s character in upcoming issues as well as how he and his sister got this strange and very different powers from their father being experimented on (reminds me of the plot of Gen13, no surprise they tried shoving Slade with Team 7 for awhile). I expected there be a darker edge given how you talked about the series and given it’s handled with thought and care it will be interesting. It’s different from Wolfman’s but I can see core parts of the character shine through much like with Slade himself. And I do agree, one of the things that made Joey interesting was the stark contrast from his father. I do really want to see how Joey tries to be heroic when/if he’s committed deeds his dad did has, like murder and adultery (that’s another thing, I feel foolish but I was lost on whether Joey cheated on Etienne or he and Isherwood were way in the past and it was mostly about sexual idenitity. I’ve seen readers draw conflicting opinions on this and I thought it was mainly about identity at first). Or how he’ll be accepted by other characters in the DC outside his complicated, dysfunctional family. The reaction from Jericho fans I’ve seen have been mixed. Most of which happy about him being mute again and being bisexual now but understandably dreading another turn to villainy. Can’t blame them though as its been tough for his character.

        Another great job and looking forward to the Finale!

        • Priest Priest says:

          Sam, where are you seeing these Jericho comments? I’d be happy to chime in. Isheroowd (Ikon) was over long before Etienne, sorry I wasn’t clearer about that. Joseph’s big sin was his impulsive lashing out at Isherwood, the fuller consequences of which are yet to be revealed. Stay tuned…

          • Sam says:

            Tumblr for the most part but some confusion on scans_daily when it came to adultery, same with Joey’s moral alignment. It looks like an honest misunderstanding, but most places see them as former lovers. Not to mention fans just jumping the gun. I’ve seen some readers just say Joey was gay and focus on him having a boyfriend.

            I thought it was already most likely a past thing given Ikon seemed surprise Joey was even in a relationship with a woman to begin with and when a few people were talking about that I felt I had to reread it. I’m still looking forward to the next week’s issue as always. Thank you again for taking time to talk!

          • Priest Priest says:

            Send me links when you can. Yeah, sounds like the fans are getting a little ahead of themselves. I can’t speak to any of it without spoiling what I hope wil be an interesting character arc for Joseph. But I can say Ike was definitely in the recent past (safely presume Joseph was at least 21; I figure he’s 22 now).

          • Sam says:

            My apologies to how late this is. The holidays are hectic to say the least. Here are some examples of concerned readers who are also worried about Joey’s moral alignment. There were more but since the issue first came out they’ve been hard to find with this site’s search engine.

            http://skyes.tumblr.com/post/152986856893/lets-make-joey-bi-yay-hes-also-super

            http://skyes.tumblr.com/post/153002547708/little-bit-confused-whos-joey-wilson-if-hes-bi

            Also thank you for clarifying Joey’s age as that is another thing I was curious about but figured he was in the DC “vague very early 20 something” age bracket like young heroes such as Dick Grayson are in.

          • Priest Priest says:

            Thank YOU, Sam!

  5. DeathSkeleton says:

    Hey Priest another Great Issue, although I’m wondering why people have been kinda hating on your Deathstroke books lately, I’m absolutely loving him tho, they have the Drama, Murder (Loved how Deathstroke slit that guards throat not over dramatic, just blatantly killing) and your books have the Characters I’ve always loved. I am Curious tho with Pat trayce, what brought you to make her have a stroke? Although if it’ll be explained I understand. Also I absolutely love the Plasma torch, Deathstroke’s staff has always been his signature to me, not many characters have that but does it still blast? Like to Destroy Helicopters in the ole days.
    And lastly, I see Deathstroke scratched up Supermans costume pretty good, how Does he land a hit on Superman tho shouldn’t he be way faster in combat or is Deathstroke just that enhanced?

    • Priest Priest says:

      Hi DS: DC is launching/has launched a new Vigilante so Pat is not likely to resurrect her career. She was originally going to be teased as “The Old Woman In The Dark” for a few issues, but plans were changed. Yes, DS’s Titanium Staff does what it do, we’ll be seeing more of it as we go along and Rose has a telescoping version that can be compacted to about the size of Daredevil’s Billy club (we would have seen that in issue #5 but that description was likely lost in translation between myself and our Brazillian friend Joe B).

      As for how DS managed to beat the crap out of Superman, well, that’s what next issues are for πŸ™‚

      People are hating on this book? Really? Well, I expected this new approach would upset somebody πŸ™‚

      • DeathSkeleton says:

        Oh well, it’s still nice to see her after so long. And tjsnk you for answering the w
        Questions, can’t wait for issue 8, and then issue 9 for Scrymgeour to be explained.

        And in my opinion, it seems its not that people don’t like the approach (Any old fan loves it

        • DeathSkeleton says:

          Sorry my phone glirched, anyway (Any old fan loves it) I think people are just trying to find a way not to love it ? still the majority of everyone I know love it so keep it up please lol, Deathstroke hasn’t really been used right since the New 52 until now. Atleast in my opinion.

          • DeathSkeleton says:

            Geez I can’t type well today for some reason… Sorry.
            The “?” Was suppose to be a smiley face and “Glirched” is Glitched in the last reply and “tjsnk” earlier is suppose to be thank.

          • Priest Priest says:

            It’s okay. I’ve made a career of finding ways for people to not love my writing πŸ™‚ I’m not a huge fan of JJ Abrams Trek, so I know how some DS fans likely feel about what we are doing, kind of Classic Deathstroke Remixed.

  6. Dave Van Domelen says:

    Isherwood and Jericho aren’t the same size, so there must have been a tailor who helped with that. I propose Joshua Gambi, of the well-known Gambi family.

    Joshua fit the battlesuit of Jericho.

  7. Trev says:

    Haha. I’d wondered about Barry’s confrontation with Slade. I just figured he thought he was a tough guy and Slade just puts up with him as he’s just small fry.

  8. DeathSkeleton says:

    Hey I was Wondering, after reading through Deathstroke’s last Series in #18, He seems to React to something which Happened in a Nanosecond
    http://i.imgur.com/ZY9EY3y.png
    Would you say Deathstroke can still do this?

    • Priest Priest says:

      No. That would make him The Flash.

      I’m really not a fan of the over-cranked villain (or hero). It really hinders dramatic storytelling potential when you eliminate every possibility of danger for the character. I think DS is fast as in Bruce Lee Plus, way faster than me and I believe faster than Batman. But a nanosecond is pushing it way past where I prefer to be. DS is enhanced human, not superhuman, which is what makes it interesting when he whacks out the entire JLA.

      • DeathSkeleton says:

        Would you say he’s faster than Captain America?

        • Priest Priest says:

          I tend to equivocate the two. I imagine their strengths and abilities to be similar. Artist Carlo Pagulayan actually draws pre-Deathstroke Slade to look very much like Steve Rogers.

      • Dave Van Domelen says:

        Chalk it up to hyperbole. An actual event like that would take several milliseconds at least before it became dangerous. Giving him reaction speed ten times that of a human would be impressive without turning him into a Speed Force User. Of course, a lot of “quick reaction” for someone like DS is simply starting to react before most people would realize there’s something to react TO, recognizing danger signs when they’re still subtle. Or just expecting something to happen and reacting before it actually starts.

      • Gabriel Carmelo Lopez says:

        Months old by now, but hey, I like this conversation. Super speed is always the best superpower, and I’ve always thought Slade had it to a certain extent.

        I’ve always seen Deathstroke as someone who, on average, can dodge around bullets pretty easily. He’s done it numerous times throughout various iterations, and it seems like the standard for enhanced human speed in general.

        There’s a scene from Green Arrow Vol. 5 #51 (2016) where Slade rolls through turret fire and throws his sword through the gunner without getting tagged. Like Ozymandias and Marvel’s Taskmaster (who was co-created by Deathstroke’s co-creator), he could probably even catch a bullet, but never does because there’s more efficient ways to do such things. That said, a Deathstroke bullet-catch would be about the coolest thing ever, and I really want to see it happen.

        Characters like Wolverine, Captain America and Deathstroke are all pretty much just as fast as each other. I maybe consider Slade a little faster due to how involved his speed was in Wolfman’s comics and why it was so impressive when Roy Harper tagged him in The Titans Vol. 1 #22 (2000). He’s faster than any human reaction, but if you see him go untouched by an Amazon in a fight–which he has done before–it’s because he knows who he’s fighting inside and out, can predict their movements to an extent, and can even just use psychology to throw them off their game. As you, Priest, have written, “Deathstroke kills from the inside-out.”

        I do hope you respond to this because Deathstroke’s superhuman reflexes have always been his second coolest power, next to his enhanced mind. How far off the mark am I? Bullet-catching or nah? I’d like both yours and Domelen’s input.

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