cover.When DC Comics first announced its relaunch of all its titles, there were a lot of questions about what happens to the villains of the DC universe.
Deathstroke, the new DC comic that launches this week as part of the publisher's "New 52," will address that question head-on. And according to writer Kyle Higgins, the comic will make Deathstroke "a major badass" again.
"We're going to show why he's the greatest mercenary assassin in the DC Universe," Higgins told Newsarama when we first talked to him about the series. "We'll be playing with some superhero stuff, but primarily, at this point, it's about the mercenary underworld, and the impossible jobs and impossible targets that he's going after."
Higgins first got the attention of DC readers with his Nightrunner back-up story in last year's Batman and Detective Annuals. Then he solidified his up-and-coming status at DC by teaming with Scott Snyder on the critically acclaimed mini-series Batman: Gates of Gotham.
Now he launches Deathstroke with artist Joe Bennett while also taking over Nightwing for its relaunch later this month. (Preview of #1 here.)
As part of our ongoing "DCnU Take 2" feature, Newsarama talked to Higgins see if he can tell potential readers more — and courtesy of DC, we're also bringing you the exclusive debut of December's Deathstroke #4 cover.
cover.Newsarama: Kyle, is there anything you couldn't talk about or detail before, when we first talked about Deathstroke, that you can tell readers now?
Kyle Higgins: I'm not sure how much I touched on this before, but while we're dealing with huge, often over-the-top action and violence, there's a very specific reason why Deathstroke does what he does... and does it the he does it. At its core, this is a book about legacy and reputation more than anything. There's been a lot of talk about whether I'm going to make Slade "sympathetic," or "relatable," and while it's tough to find sympathy for a hardened killer, to me the relatability comes from our story being about a guy who wants to matter.And at the end of the day, to me, I firmly believe that you don't have to sympathize with a character... you just have to understand them. I've used this example before, but when you look at the Joker in The Dark Knight, he's running around killing all these people, blowing up half the city... but when you hear him talk about his outlook and philosophy on the world, you sit back and go "he's 100% right." Audiences will root for main characters, even when they're doing absolutely terrible things, as long as they understand the character is doing them... and what they mean to him. And often what they mean doesn't have to be noble at all. Deathstroke #2
cover.Nrama: Now that you've seen the reaction from fans to the news about your comic, what are the top three things you want to clarify about it? Higgins:
1. Rose isn't in the book
2. No Wintergreen, either
3. He still has a history with the militaryDeathstroke #1
cover.Nrama: Now that you're further into writing the comic, how would you describe the direction your title is taking? Higgins: It's still a big, huge action/adventure book about a guy trying to maintain his name and reputation... and in some cases, rebuild it. Nrama: What character in your comic do you expect to become beloved by fans? And why? Higgins: I think people are going to really like Peabody — he's kind of a Q type character. Nrama: Most important thing you want readers to remember about your comic? Higgins: That if you don't buy it, Slade and his giant sword take offense.
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