DC Zero Month, Week Two Reviews: Deathstroke, Demon Knights, and Frankenstein

This September, DC Comics is turning it all the way back to zero, taking a look at what went on in the DCU before the New 52. Like we did a year ago with the first month of DC’s new universe, we’re going to give you some looks at all the “Zero Month” titles coming out over the next few weeks.

So here we go:

DEATHSTROKE #0
Written and Drawn By Rob Liefeld

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Slade Wilson was a military man, a mercenary man, and then one of the deadliest killers the world has ever known. Along the way, there’s been some collateral damage.

BEST BIT: The last page introduces a fan favorite character that was a nice surprise.

WORST BIT: I know it’s easy to pick on Liefeld, but this is a mess. From incongruous pages, to hair color switching back and forth without explanation, to major characters being introduced and killed in under a page, to the basic feeling that maybe the narration (which dominates the book) and the images are telling two separate stories, it’s honestly – and I do not say this lightly – hard to pick out a worst bit.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? That last page has a big twist to it, and will probably power the next few months of Deathstroke stories.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #13? No, sorry. Deathstroke used to be one of the coolest villains in the DCU, and from the redesign of his costume on up, this reboot has been a mild disaster (other than a fun appearance in “The Shade”).

DEMON KNIGHTS #0
Written by Paul Cornell, Art By Bernard Chang

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Jason Blood is pissed at Merlin. Etrigan the Demon is pissed at Lucifer. They both have a few lessons to learn about life.

BEST BIT: Etrigan’s initial bid to lead the minions of Hell, where he continually chops demon’s heads off for probably days is pretty hilarious.

WORST BIT: Jason Blood gets a lot less development and time than Etrigan; he plays more like a spoiled child, than the epic hubris and tragedy of the rhyming demons.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? The revised back-story of Etrigan/Jason Blood probably counts; and Lucifer officially jumps from Vertigo to the DCU. Otherwise, this is a good one-shot with a strong character focus, rather than a barn burner.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #13? Possibly… I like all the ideas here, Cornell’s writing is great, and Chang’s art is also creative. I haven’t been totally drawn into this series since the first arc, but it might be time to give it another shot.

FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF SHADE #0
Written by Matt Kindt, Art By Alberto Ponticelli & Wayne Faucher

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? The origin of Frankenstein, and how his decades long conflict with his creator nearly destroyed them both.

BEST BIT: How Victor Frankenstein powers the machine that gives life comes to mind.

WORST BIT: None, really. The narration doesn’t totally gel at points, but overall this is pretty excellent.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? The whole back-story lays the seeds for many, many future storylines, most notably the return of Victor Frankenstein.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #13? Yes! We had dropped this series after the first few issues, but new writer Matt Kindt brings the same intense creativity and off kilter tone he uses for his Dark Horse series MIND MGMT here in the DCU, and it works brilliantly. I’m excited again for the ongoing adventures of the Monster Squad.

DEATHSTROKE #0, DEMON KNIGHTS #0, and FRANKENSTEIN #0 all hit comic book stores on September 12th from DC Comics!