DC This Week Roundup – The Bitter End

Comic Books DC This Week
Deathstroke Inc. #13 cover, via DC Comics.

Deathstroke Inc. #13 – Ed Brisson, Writer; Dexter Soy, Artist; Veronica Gandini, Colorist

Ray – 8/10

Ray: This new run has taken us back to the beginning, showing us how Slade Wilson went from being a generic soldier and mercenary to being the Terminator. We know how he got his healing factor—but it’s becoming more and more clear that something went off in his mind as well. This issue picks up after Slade was apparently killed last issue, and he wakes up in the morgue and terrifies the hell out of a coroner. From there, he goes on the run to collect his gear and continue his contract, terrorizing everyone from random motorists to police officers. He’s quickly losing contact with his wife, barely caring when she tells him she’s pregnant. The main thing that holds my interest here is his businesslike but deeply enmeshed relationship with Wintergreen, who is quickly becoming his only real connection left, as the two of them rocket towards an explosive confrontation with their target and potentially rival assassins.

Batman: Beyond the White Knight cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Beyond the White Knight – Sean Murphy, Writer/Artist; Dave Stewart, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Ray: This has always been a particularly strange series, combining a grounded and gritty future story of a Gotham where Bruce’s war on crime has fallen apart with a bizarre take on the Joker. Now Bruce is the criminal and Joker is dead but is hitching a ride in his head with a personality somewhere between the Clown Prince of Crime and a reformed Jack Napier. The Batman Beyond elements in this story are sort of stronger, with a confrontation between Terry and Derek Powers this issue offering some real drama, although things do play out in a very similar manner to the original but darker. Then towards the end of the issue it takes a genuinely bizarre turn, with Joker revealing a strange new ability that takes the story in the direction of a Freaky Friday-esque comedy, before it ends with an odd romantic tribute to Joker and Harley. I don’t even really know what this series is supposed to be.

JL vs. LOSH cover, via DC Comics.

Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Scott Godlewski, Artist; Ryan Cody, Colorist

Ray – 7.5/10

Ray: Brian Michael Bendis’ run on DC seems to be coming to an end with this issue, closing out his run on two separate team books. This story has been way too big to contain in a single six-issue miniseries, so it feels like the story skips around a lot. When it opens, we’re in a new timeline ruled by Vandal Savage, where Batman is the only one who remembers the past. But no surprise, this is all a feint and that requires a lot of exposition to fully unpack. It’s full of all the usual Bendis-isms and there really is no central character here besides maybe Gold Lantern—and even he’s more of a plot fulcrum than anything. But the ambition here is impressive to watch, and the art is great. Overall, Bendis’ Justice League had some strong moments, and his Legion was ambitious, but they never quite clicked. This final chapter feels like a compelling side story but doesn’t bring the whole era together. And it ends on some major notes that will likely never be followed up on.

Task Force Z cover, via DC Comics.

Task Force Z – Matthew Rosenberg, Writer; Eddy Barrows, Penciller; Eber Ferreira, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist

Ray – 8/10

Ray: This chaotic zombie thriller had so many twists and turns that it was hard to keep track at times, but it comes together in a surprisingly solid final issue as Mr. Bloom unleashes his secret weapon and Jason Todd battles to survive. The reveal that Gotham was actually the “Bane” in the original team was a great twist, and brought Gotham Girl back into the story off her backup by Sina Grace. Most of the zombie forces get their moments to shine, but it’s really Jason and Harvey Dent who play the starring role here. Jason gets the chance to come to terms with whether he’s a hero or villain, and Two-Face proves every bit the manipulator he can be at his best. This whole concept is rather bizarre and we still know virtually nothing about Mr. Bloom, but he makes for a compellingly creepy villain. But in some ways, the ending makes this seem like little more than a twelve-part prequel to a series starting next week.

Blood Syndicate: Season One cover, via DC Comics.

Blood Syndicate: Season One – Geoffrey Thorne, Writer; Sean Damien Hill/Juan Castro, Artists; Wil Quintana, Colorist

Ray – 7.5/10

Ray: The penultimate issue of this Milestone series brings in a pair of major new players—Icon and Rocket, who have been alerted to the crisis on Paris Island. That finally gives the main villain, Holocaust, someone of a higher caliber to face off against. It also means that the main characters of the series don’t really get all that much focus this issue, which is a problem right before the finish line. Holocaust is a villain who definitely brings a lot of presence, and the issue tries to give him some nuance with a flashback to his horrific childhood. But he sort of comes off as OP in the fight scene, and after watching how he deals with Icon it’s hard to see how the ragtag gang of vigilantes will survive facing off against him next issue. Overall, this title just doesn’t have the strong central characters of the first three Milestone series to make it feel like a key part of the universe.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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