Every once in a while, in this era of six issue story arcs, we get treated to something special. A done-in-one comic story that should become an instant classic. Alan Moore’s Superman Annual #11, “For the Man Who Has Everything…” was just such a comic book. Deathstroke #11 is a serious contender. Combine a gripping story ripped straight from the headlines about gun crime in Chicago, add two epic comic artists and you get more entertainment for your $2.99 then you really deserve.
Deathstroke #11, titled “Chicago”, follows reporter Jack Ryder as he investigates an urban legend. A rumour that a group of mothers with children killed by gun violence have hired Deathstroke to avenge their children’s deaths. Eventually Jack meets with the group and the local Reverend they go over the shocking gun crime statistics and debate the causes of this violence. Crime scene after crime scheme Jack Ryder tries to track down and confront Deathstroke. But those of you that know your DC history know that Jack Ryder is no ordinary reporter. Jack is the host for The Creeper.
The Creeper has been around since 1968 and was originally just a costumed hero/vigilante. But in 2006 his origin was altered slightly and it looks like the Rebirth version of The Creeper is in keeping with that 2006 revamp. Jack Ryder was injected with an experimental stem cell and nanotechnology therapy cocktail called smart-skin. Smart-skin is supposed to enhance the body’s ability to regenerate and give new skin to burn victims. When Jack is fatally shot the serum regenerates him into a yellow skinned, green haired and red maned creature with a separate persona bent on vengeance.
Christopher Priest, or Priest as he seems to prefer lately, weaves a gripping commentary on gun violence in African-American urban culture. He uses Jack to point out the irony of an eye for an eye style punishment telling the mothers who’s children died of gun violence that they are just creating a new group of grieving mothers, mothers of children killed by Deathstroke. The art is epic and phenomenal at the same time. Comic veteran Denys Cowan’s rough pencil style is perfectly matched to the rough inks of legendary Bill Sienkiewicz. Moody and dark colours from Jeromy Cox place the action firmly within the crime ridden streets of Chicago at night. Great dialog, great art, great characters and a great little twist ending, and all within 20 pages. This single issue is a brilliant example of all that comics can be.
Go … buy .. this … book … now!
Issue: Deathstroke #11 | Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Christopher Priest | Artists: Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz & Jeromy Cox