There once was a mercenary called Slade, who owned a dull yet shiny blue-blade. But then, one day, his blade, went astray, because it was stolen before he was betrayed. Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Adam Glass, Bernard Chang, and published by DC Comics in April, 2019.

TO QUOTE  Beilby Porteus:Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god’.

Throughout the years, Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke: The Terminator, has managed to piss off nigh on everyone he’s ever opposed, be it the Justice League, the original members of the Teen Titans, as well as their modern-day counterparts. In fact, Slade is such a shit-head, Damian Wayne now wants to do the unthinkable.  He wants to track him down, beat him up, and capture him, once and for all, along with the rest of his team.

Can they do this though? Can the Teen Titans possibly figure out a way of bringing down the Terminator without any of them getting killed?  Well, to find out, please check out issue 28 of the Teen Titans today. In the meantime though, here, have a look at this… 

Part One) CAPTAIN NAUGHTY:   Slade Joseph Wilson made his comic book debut within the pages of ‘The New Teen Titans’ #2, circa December, 1980, in order to become DC’s evil version of Captain America. Well, according to his creators, Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, Slade was supposed to be their way of commenting on the absurdities that revolve around Cap’s origins as well as how the US military treat some of their veterans.  Which makes sense, up to a point, because the life of a soldier is full of bipolar and contradictory behavior, where death equals peace, love equals hate, and life equals loss.  Besides, how many other professions are there where you take an individual and teach them how to kill in the name of hope? There aren’t many, that’s for sure, and goes to show the complicated dichotomy that surrounds a soldier needing to fight a war, even during times when there isn’t any conflict.

Obviously, a great example of this can be seen in the main man himself, Slade Wilson, because originally he was depicted as being a man who fell in love with his Drill Instructor and eventually started a family with her. But then, one fateful day, he enlisted in an experiment that gave him enhanced abilities and superhuman strength, which gradually warped his perspective, destroyed his family life, and transformed him into the assassin we all know and love today.

Although, to be fair, since the advent of the New 52, Slade has slowly evolved into something slightly different! Something darker, something unnatural, and something hyper-unrealistic, as we now see him as an advanced, military hitman, who doesn’t always seem like his initial grassroots persona. After all, within recent years, he’s gone toe to toe with Superman, the Justice League, and many other superheroes that populate the DCU. What’s more, his relationship with the Bat-Family has also been expanded upon and amplified with every new iteration: Starting off as an adversary for Nightwing and the original team, before taking on Batman, Tim Drake, and now, Damian Wayne! All of which begs the question: Can Slade still be sinister if his origins have been diluted and his powers have been supercharged? 

Personally, I’m not too sure myself. Not completely, anyway, because on the one hand, he holds himself in a fairly grim and gruff fashion and acts like a villain. While, on the other hand, his level of power isn't very realistic, and therefore, I can't take him too seriously as a realistic character.

What do you think, dear reader? What do you think about Slade’s current status quo, and does this change your opinion of him in any way, shape or form? Either way, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Part Two) TERMINAL TRAJECTORY:   No. Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten to talk about this issue of the Teen Titans: issue 28. If anything, I just wanted to lay down some groundwork first, before giving you my opinions on it. Opinions that kind of go up and down, left and right, and backwards and forwards, all because I thought that this adventure was a fairly precocious one. Well, even though the art was amazing and the story made sense, the overall flow of the narrative progressed in a very staged and muted fashion. In fact, it was so staged, that tonally the entire thing felt flat, pedestrian even, especially when it came down to establishing some level of drama.

For example, at the start of the book, we were presented with a series of scenes which allowed the team to tell us who Slade is, how the Titans currently feel about him, and why they should now try to take him on. But, in all fairness, I don’t think we really needed to read all of this. Not totally, anyway, keeping in mind that most of us who pick up this book already know that Slade is a badass mofo that’s consistently pissed off the Teen Titans since the 1980s (without forgetting his more recent conflicts with both Wallace and Damian).

If truth be told, I have a sneaking suspicion that this top-heavy exposition was put in place so DC can transform this crossover into a 'collected edition' later on down the line. And if not that, then maybe Adam Glass and Christopher Priest needed to pad out this adventure in order to justify it crossing over with Deathstroke’s book! Similar, in fact, to the way the ‘Lazarus Contract’ was set up (too much padding equals not enough story). 

Apart from that, though, all in all, I’d say this episode was a fairly decent read, and in all honesty, I shouldn't fault it for what it isn’t, but rather, applaud it for what it is: Which in this case, is the first part of a four-part storyline that will hopefully redefine the Teen Titan’s relationship with Mister Wilson! In addition to this, I also enjoyed those little tit-bits which gave the story some much-needed spice, so to speak, such as the ‘barbershop’ reference (Marv Wolfman / George Pérez / Len Wein), the surprise revelations (especially that one between Wally and Damian), the incremental fight between Slade and the team (Ka-Pow!), as well as what I mentioned previously, the art, the truly amazing art, which was bold in design and very dynamic on the page, all thanks to the one and only, Bernard Chang.

Seriously, folks, Bernard is the bomb -- BOOOM -- and he really knows how to inject personality, emotion, and style into his work, going so far that he can amplify a scene by shaping its visual tone and its aesthetic ambiance. I also have to applaud the way he lays out each page in order to highlight the emotional situations some of the characters are facing, which is particularly apparent during Slade’s fight with the Titans, Damian's interactions with his teammates, and those scenes set in the prison.

So, when all is said and done, on the whole, I thought that this issue was a good, solid start to ‘The Terminus Agenda’, and despite not being too keen on some of the padding, I did love the art and those special twists. Twists, I hasten to add, that I don’t want to elaborate on too much for the sake of spoilers.

For this month's musical matchup I’d like to align this adventure with the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic, ‘Fortunate Son’, because they both have fairly militaristic yet pop-inspired undertones. 

To some extent, this story is about someone formulating a plan and executing it in a fairly straightforward fashion. So, with that in mind, I would now like to compare it to a military maneuver carried out by an army of troops.

Attention. Comparison made. 

At the end of issue 28, Wallace West surprisingly finds out something that Robin doesn’t want him to know.  So, out of the following eight options, let’s see if you can guess what that something actually is? Could it involve Robin not wanting Wally to know about...

  1. His secret tattoo of Angela Lansbury.
  2. His secret addiction to unicorns. 
  3. His secret collection of porn.
  4. His secret underground prison.
  5. His secret crush on Djinn.
  6. His secret Djinn on Crush.
  7. His secret urge to dance.
  8. His secret subscription to Victoria's Secret. 

Nuff said. 

TEEN TITANS #28 TEEN TITANS #28 Reviewed by David Andrews on April 16, 2019 Rating: 5

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