Deathstroke Inc #5 Review The Nerdy Basement

Deathstroke Inc #5 (Review)

Previously in Deathstroke Inc #4:

After an intense fight between the two main characters of the title, Deathstroke and Black Canary put their differences aside to truly get to the bottom of T.R.U.S.T and put an end to their schemes once and for all. After having confronted the head of T.R.U.S.T. and the new Libra, Juliette Ballantine, Deathstroke, and Black Canary battled through her forces of Dr. Destiny and Prometheus only to be ultimately defeated and sent to the Ghost Zone by a device wielded by Prometheus. Just before their teleportation, Canary had let out a scream which had seemingly killed Deathstroke and thus the issue came to an end. 


Left afloat in the Ghost Zone outside of something called the ‘Crooked House’, Black Canary tests Deathstroke’s enhanced healing factor to its fullest by using physical force to wake him up. After the failed attempt, she lets out another Canary Cry in the air which successfully wakes him up. Deathstroke begins to explain that the Ghost Zone is toxic and that he has been here before with Prometheus to hide out after a job.

They both approach the ‘Crooked House’ as Deathstroke further explains that this house was haunted and was built by Prometheus to change depending on who entered. After they both enter, they share a quick character beat showing the Yin and Yang of Deathstroke and Black Canary’s personalities highlighting how different both characters truly are.

They then see two doors with their logo’s on and split up to enter their respective doors. On the other side, we see two panels showcasing what each character is witnessing with both suddenly in a change of uniform. We then see a great 8-panel grid arrangement split down the middle with Deathstroke’s experience on the left and Black Canary’s on the right as they both get a hands-on look at what their lives would look like if they were reversed. 

Deathstroke sees a life of him and his family all happy within Titans Tower, with him as a member of the Justice League who helps train the Titans team. Black Canary is seen in the mountains and is greeted by Green Arrow who only has one eye (a not-so-subtle nod to Deathstroke and his earlier family life) as she and the Arrow-family appear to be planning an attack on the Justice League.

Both characters acknowledge that this is too absurd to be true as we get a deeper look at the character of Deathstroke talking about his broken family life and how he doesn’t deserve this happiness (a thought which has been present for a while within his own mind) as Black Canary and Deathstroke’s cruel hallucination’s meet and they’re both attacked by zombie-like figures of their own loved ones.

After a brief fight, they’re both back at T.R.U.S.T. Castle as Black Canary is seen comforting and sympathizing with Slade, and even though it’s just a brief moment it does show a little bit of growth between their partnership. They finally confront Libra to learn the truth about the ongoings behind T.R.U.S.T. and their particular interest in the supervillain community and Libra shows them that she has united a new and bigger version of the Secret Society of Super-Villains consisting of C to D-list villains as they reveal, in true villain nature, that the money offered by T.R.U.S.T. was too good to turn down.

Deathstroke questions the effectiveness of the members and says he left the Society as they were a bunch of “losers” and so the Society explains to him the meaning behind it all. The leader of the Society, The Calculator, explains that the Legion of Doom causing chaos and nearly destroying Earth, within writer Scott Snyder’s recent Justice League run that leads to ‘Dark Nights: Death Metal’, has been the last straw and the Secret Society of Super-Villains want to team up with all the heroes to stop people like the Legion of Doom allying with “space Gods” and threatening the world. 

Libra then continues by displaying her worry for recent events that have occurred within the DCU and warns them about a “darkness” in the world that is growing. Deathstroke immediately calls out the nonsense in their plan and kills The Calculator and Libra to then claim the title of “King of the Super-Villains”. Another solid issue that certainly progresses the story in a major way, writer Joshua Williamson continues with his DC dominance with a very straightforward script and good character work between Black Canary and Deathstroke. 

A criticism I do have though revolves around The Calculator’s plan, his plan is extremely naïve and one-dimensional as it appears that he believes every villain would join them in order to simply get rich. This is completely implausible and may have been added as a cheap way to make way for Deathstroke to take over, but The Calculator, who has a genius-level intellect, by the way, would surely figure out that many villains within DC are villains for reasons other than money. 

Cyborg Superman, for example, is motivated by the blame he sets on Superman for the death of his wife; Cheetah is motivated by the betrayal and abandonment she felt from Wonder Woman. What was he counting on if these villains said no? It just seems like an unintelligent plan from someone literally called ‘The Calculator’ as he even states “trust me, I’ve done the calculations”.

Another point I’d like to raise about the ending seems to be that Deathstroke spent the whole issue appealing the authority of T.R.U.S.T. and was presented with no evidence for a solid reason to ally himself with the Secret Society of Super-Villains yet he just does it anyway. If the reason isn’t for money, then why else is he doing this? Is it to make himself feel better by fighting an evil force? Hopefully, this is explained in the next issue.

Moving onto art we have Paolo Pantalena standing in for Howard Porter who does a solid job of filling in, His pencils and inks are slightly tighter than Howard Porter’s rougher style which allows him to showcase emotive facial expressions much better as it highlights the anger and rage that Deathstroke has towards T.R.U.S.T. and the new Secret Society of Super-Villains.

As always, colorist Hi-Fi brings his A-game by bringing an array of bright and dynamic colors throughout the hallucination panels and then switching it up to more mellow and dark grey’s and blue’s when we visit the super-villain hideout of T.R.U.S.T. Castle. His work continues to impress me no matter what comic he is coloring.

I’m excited to see where Deathstroke’s story is going to take him, and I’d now like to see the motivations behind his actions towards the end of this issue. I also hope to see Black Canary’s thoughts and this new super-villain plan and explore her morality regarding the decisions of the Society from a hero’s point of view.

Deathstroke Inc #5 is now available on digital and at your local comic book store!

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