Deathstroke #16 Review: Blood From A Stone


Deathstroke goes up against The Red Hood in a surprisingly good comic that I didn’t see coming.

Deathstroke #16
Written by James Bonny
Art by Paolo Pantalena
Colored by Arif Prianto
Published by DC Comics

Last time in Deathstroke: As Slade Wilson, better known as Deathstroke the Terminator, continues to search from his missing daughter Rose, the betrayals continue to pile up. Spent from his battle within Lexcorp, he now has to confront Jason Todd, better known as the Red Hood.

If I am being perfectly honest with you readers, I only picked up Deathstroke #16 due to Paolo Pantalena’s name being in the credits. Ever since I first saw his work in the pages of Aspen’s Jirni, he has become an artist that I will buy his stuff no matter where it may appear. So it came to be that I picked up Deathstroke #16, a series I am not a regular reader of.

I am a long-time fan of Slade Wilson however, ever since his appearances in The New Teen Titans back in the 1980s . I have always though that he was one of the best looking characters DC had, with one of the best costumes in all of comics. Maybe it’s the half black/half-orange mask or just the design of his uniform overall, but Deathstroke was always just so damn cool to me.

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So visually, Deathstroke #16 was everything I hoped it would be. Pantalena’s art was dynamic and full of the kind of action and detail I have come to expect from him. He draws Deathstroke in such a unique way that he really makes the character his own, even though he is just doing a fill-in issue. And as a bonus, we get his rendition of the Red Hood as well, another character I love.

Story-wise, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t overly familiar with James Bonny or his work, so I opened the issue and hoped for the best.

What I got was a comic that, while a bit formulaic and not what anyone would ever call deep, was perfectly enjoyable and a lot of fun.

The sequences with Deathstroke and Red Hood are particularity well done, with Bonny capturing the essence of that makes Jason Todd click. Their battle keeps the dialogue to a minimum so we can really sit back and enjoy the spectacle that Pantalena is putting on the page. And while I saw the ending coming a mile away, it didn’t damper my enjoyment of the comic I just read.

I often say that not every comic needs to be Watchmen or The Dark Knight. Deathstroke is a great example of a book that knows exactly what it is and does that very well. For fans of the character and the series, you really can’t ask for any more than that.

Plus, the cost of the comic was worth every penny to hear Red Hood call Slade “Douchestroke”. I nearly fell off my chair after I read that.

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The Bottom Line: Deathstroke #16 is a great comic that doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. If you are looking for a complex narrative that will change how you view comic books, this isn’t it. But what you will get is an enjoyable, fast-paced, visually stunning comic that will leave you wanting more.

The best compliment I can think of is that even though Paolo Pantalena won’t be doing the art, there is an excellent chance I still may pick up the next issue of Deathstroke.