52 Pick-Up: Deathstroke #1, Mr. Terrific #1
by Kyle Higgins (W); Joe Bennett (A)
Spoiler Alert: Stop reading if you don’t want to know how this book ends.
Deathstroke is a character who first appeared in 1980 in Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s New Teen Titans. He’s a father-figure assassin who always seemed to hang out with super-powered teens.
In this incarnation, his agent sets up a mission to eliminate a scientist who is selling nuclear secrets to Iran, and we meet his new team of seriously annoying sidekicks. I was really wishing all these characters would die, and by the end of the issue I got my wish. It’s not satisfying in any way and I should have seen it coming. The point of the whole issue seems to be that Deathstroke doesn’t chill with children anymore. He ain’t no anti-hero no more; he’s really, really mean.
If there was something else going on in this I missed it.
by Eric Wallace (W); Gianluca Gugliotta (A)
Mr. Terrific certainly isn’t an old favourite character that I’ve been eager to reconnect with, and I don’t really care if he lives or dies – something this issue did little to dissuade me from. For a book about the world’s third smartest man, writer Eric Wallace has filled it with dumb pseudo-science and poorly thought out sequences. Even the first page clumsily shifts from Mr. Terrific (ugh, that name) searching for some science robot suit to him immediately being punched out of a window by the CEO of the company he’s investigating (who’s wearing the robot outfit), who, if I’m figuring out the positioning correctly, was standing to Terrific’s left off panel.
It’s not a great issue, most of which can be blamed on the Wallace, who certainly doesn’t have the skill to write smart as well as someone like Jonathan Hickman’s Mr. Fantastic in FF, for instance (I don’t know if that name is any better than Mr. Terrific). He’s also not as funny as he thinks he is. In this issue, we see Terrific’s origin story, which is interesting enough that it might inspire a “pessimistic genius” character. Instead it falls short, and Mr. Terrific is a character who solves science crimes, whatever that may entail.
The art is decent enough, and Gianluca Gugliotta has certainly performed adequately enough on an issue that is fraught with head-scratching scenes (including an incident where Terrific has apparently hooked up with Power Girl, or at least I’m assuming that’s why she’s in his science mansion in a basketball jersey, but the book later goes on to suggest that isn’t what was actually happening). I’d continue, but the issue is so convoluted with asinine plot points that it seems like an almost deliberate device used to try and convince the reader that an intelligent story is going on somewhere behind it all. It’s worth a read in order to try and figure out exactly what is supposed to be happening, or to catch Mr. Terrific’s debut if that’s your thing. But in a week that saw a new issue of Mark Waid’s Daredevil, why bother?