Deathstroke Inc #7 (DC Comics Review)


After claiming the title of “King of the Supervillains” Deathstroke has taken control of the Secret Society of Supervillains, relocated, and built up his own crusade known as “Deathstroke Inc”. After Black Canary breaks off her partnership with Deathstroke, she warns the Justice League about his next move but they’re unable to find him after he leaves no trace of him or his team behind.

As Deathstroke is establishing his “Deathstroke Inc” mission, he is tracked down by his daughter Ravager, and the mysterious Respawn – who have both transitioned over from Joshua Williamson’s Robin series – to the island of Zandia (home to the Church of Blood) where they both plan on stopping his schemes and thus we begin this issue…

The issue begins with Respawn & Ravager scaling the Deathstroke Inc building to gain access and confront Deathstroke to tell him something important regarding Respawn. As they infiltrate the tower, they see how much chaos Deathstroke has the potential to create as he has not only got access to pretty much all of Batman’s tech (after T.R.U.S.T. confiscated it all after James Tynion’s Joker War in Batman #95-#100) but he also has Prometheus – infamous Justice League villain – training his whole Secret Society to fight.

Respawn has doubts about confronting Deathstroke and notes they should have stayed on Lazarus Island along with Damian and the others (see Robin series for the latest on that) but Ravager expresses that Deathstroke needs to know about Respawn. Of course, Deathstroke is savvy to the intrusion for the two as he sneaks up and grabs Respawn mistaking him for Damian Wayne, and after a short scuffle, Deathstroke manages to remove Respawn’s mask realizing it’s not Damian. 

He’s incredibly shocked with Respawn looking like himself and even sporting the same white hair as him, but Ravager then reveals the truth behind who Respawn is and why it is so important. Respawn is a clone mixed with the DNA of both Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) and Talia Al Ghul (daughter of Ra’s & Damian Wayne’s mother) and was created by Ra’s Al Ghul. It is explained that after Damian Wayne was conceived, Ra’s created multiple flawed clones of Damian that all eventually failed, however, Respawn was different because Ra’s had injected him with a sample of Slade’s super-solider formula blood and merged it with Talia’s DNA.

Respawn grew up with immense hatred for Damian as whilst Damian was raised like a prince, he was a guinea pig. Respawn was subjected to great pain and torture throughout his upbringing by Ra’s as Respawn reveals the only thing driving him was his hatred for Damian Wayne. After Damian left Ra’s and Talia to be with his father (Bruce Wayne/Batman) Ra’s carried on the torture with Respawn after his intended plans with Damian did not come to fruition. Eventually, Ra’s stopped visiting the captured Respawn which meant the young clone was able to escape and learn of his “father” Deathstroke.

After learning and studying by watching Damian train, Respawn developed into a formidable fighter in his own right which caused him to be found by the League of Lazarus and join the Lazarus Tournament to inflict his revenge on Damian Wayne, going by Robin. After eventually losing to Damian in the tournament and releasing that Damian was also a victim to the Al Ghul manipulation, Respawn changed the trajectory of his anger and hatred and directed it towards Ra’s Al Ghul swearing that he will kill him for what he had done. 

After hearing the story, Deathstroke felt immense sympathy as he realizes he can raise a son again and get a second chance at family life, and the two embrace each other with a touching moment. Ravager then questions Deathstroke’s end goal as Slade explains that he is doing this to prepare for the “Darkness” that he senses is coming (as seen in Deathstroke Inc #2).

Ravager then gets emotional remarking on being abandoned by her father and ruining her family life, but Slade defends his decision explaining it was because of the death of his son Grant, which he blames on the Teen Titans, all those years ago. But Slade remarks at another chance of family life, stating he wants his family back now that Respawn is here, but Ravager disagrees as she doesn’t want to see anyone else dragged into the Wilson family mess. The two are about to have a tense showdown but out of nowhere, Respawn tosses Ravager out of the window and takes his place at his “father’s” side to prepare for the incoming war.

Just like in Williamson’s Batman #121, another epilogue is included. This time it involves Lex Luthor in the aftermath of the Abyss and Batman Inc saga during Batman #118-#121 as he gets an urgent call from the Legion of Doom. Sinestro, Gorilla Grodd, Black Manta & Cheetah all tune in to warn Luthor about Deathstroke Inc, but Luthor remarks that he wants to wait and see what trouble the world’s deadliest assassin gets into first, before stepping in and stopping his plan. The epilogue ends with a tease to this plot point continuing in the upcoming Dark Crisis event.

This issue continues a compelling storyline full of mystery and intense drama that we have seen straight from the get-go. Williamson’s script is clear and concise as he crafts a more origin-based story centered around Respawn instead of the titular character himself. The writing is on point and the way he sews the seeds for a father/son bond between Deathstroke and Respawn is very natural for both characters. Williamson is pretty much at the helm of all the big things coming out of DC at the moment and it is clear to see why, I can’t wait to see what he has in store.

The epilogue was a welcomed addition to the issue too, with the Legion of Doom plotting their own schemes, as usual, this also pretty much confirms their involvement in the upcoming Dark Crisis event, which is exciting to see. The inclusion of Joker’s card with the words “on vacation” on his contact line was a simple yet nice nod to current continuity with Joker off on his own global adventure in his solo series by James Tynion.

Art duties shift completely for this issue with Stephen Segovia taking over from Paolo Pantanela & Howard Porter before that. Segovia’s pencils reign in tighter than his predecessor’s opting for a cleaner look on characters than what we have previously seen from this series. That’s certainly not to discredit the other two artists on this series who I believe have done a fantastic job, but for my personal taste seeing Segovia on art lifted my excitement that little bit more than usual. The clear panel layouts blend perfectly with the dynamic action that Segovia presents and with the common theme of anger and revenger throughout the issue, his facial expressions certainly don’t let you down either 

Hi-Fi on colors, like always, is a delight to see. The shifting tones for the flashback are portrayed perfectly with the cold, shadowy blue emphasizing Respawn’s loneliness when in the capture, contrasted with the fiery red of anger when seeing Damian through Respawn’s eyes on Lazarus Island. Hi-Fi captures the tone of the book superbly and is continuing to do a solid job on the series.

Though Deathstroke may have done a complete 180 on his attempts to be a “hero” it doesn’t take away that fact that I’m extremely excited to see where Williamson takes these characters in the wake of Dark Crisis and the formation of Deathstroke Inc. For fans of Deathstroke, and newbies wanting to learn more about the complexities of Slade Wilson, this book is a fantastic read that also has large ramifications on the wider DC universe as well.

Deathstroke Inc #7 is now available on digital and at your local comic book store!

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