This annual is packed full of action, even though it takes a page from the Harley Quinn/Power Girl miniseries and sets this whole story in the fleeting moments between two panels (except in this case, it is the last panel of issue #8 and the first panel of issue #9). The cover for this issue was a bit misleading, only because the team-up of Superman, Wonder Woman and Deathstroke wont come to be until the issue 9. Superman did have some time in the pages of this book, but not in the way I expected. It was nice to see Tyler Kirkham on board for this issue, because as I had said before- it can cause some problems with a single creator being so absolutely in charge of a book. Without naming names, I have experienced some pretty spectacular failures when it comes to a writer/artist having total control of a book (I think we all have seen some lackluster comic stories from a book with different people as writer, penciller, inker and colorist as well, though…).
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this issue, because I often am unsure of how an annual is going to work- sometimes they are standalone stories- and other times they act as this annual did, to build on an existing story with a bit of extra storytelling. As I said before, this story seems to entirely have taken place in the matter of moments (in real time) between the end of issue #8 and the opening of issue #9. There doesn’t seem to be too much time that passes while this story takes place- probably because of the “otherworldly” properties of the realm that Lapetus sends WW and Slade to, assuming that it will deal with them so he wont have to get his hands dirty.
Lapetus has raised an army to help him take over the world (starting with Paradise Island) but uses more subtle techniques to try and deal with Deathstroke and Wonder Woman. The realm they are sent to is a bit of a psychically reactive- creating places from Wade and WW’s subconscious. Wade ends up in a place from his past, Istanbul- and this version of events puts his children (who have quite the contentious relationship with their father) right in the mix of some pretty high-octane mercenary action.
We see Wonder Woman sent into a realm created from some of her deepest fears- now that she is the God of War, she is sent into the future where her lust of death and destruction has caused the downfall of the world as we know it. Not only just that, but on top of that- you see that **SPOILERS** Superman has fallen prey to Wonder Woman/God of War having blotted out the sun and turned the world into “A cinder of itself”.
The visuals of these scenes were fantastic- I love how Kirkham makes Wonder Woman look- she is tough and strong, she looks POWERFUL, but on top of that she is still feminine and beautiful. She is both intimidating AND sexy, as she is supposed to be (in my mind anyway…).
The end of this issue is a bit predictable- mostly because we know that Deathstroke and Wonder Woman are back onto the field of battle for the next phase of the battle against Lapetus. The other thing we know, which makes the cover a bit less misleading, is that the next issue is to feature Superman joining the fight. So even though this issue didn’t feature the REAL Superman, it still had A Superman, and I guess that is enough to allow him space on the cover.
The artwork in this issue was spectacular- the way that Tyler Kirkham draws fight scenes, and uses the Godkiller weapon as a way to break up a page (he used the blade as a border for panels at least 3 times in this issue- which I loved!) plus the more non-traditional panel shapes/arrangements helped to really let this story flow like a more cinematic punch-em-up. I am glad to see that Tony Daniel can still write an emotionally gripping story, and that it seems to have leveled out with Tyler Kirkham on board to make this series stable, with more staying power- because I would really like to see this book continue on for a while. I have always enjoyed the Deathstroke character, and I want him to get his own book and keep his own book for a lot longer than he got one last time.
This is a book that is definitely worth reading, and I am extremely hopeful for the end of the Godkiller story- things have progressed consistently so far, and I am honestly excited to see what happens with this book once Superman shows up (I mean, he IS Superman, so I don’t think Lapetus can really do much to stop him…).
Check this book out if you want to read a classic looking action comic, with lots of sci-fi action and really outrageously violent good guys as well as bad. Not to mention that this version of Wonder Woman really feels more like what I expect her to be- so maybe if Kirkham and Daniel end up leaving Deathstroke, they could take over the Wonder Woman book and make me interested in reading the WW title since Azarello left the book.