Mixing the fun of pirates with a map-hopping tour of the Flashpoint universe, Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager takes readers on a journey both epic and personal.
And it's what the writer calls "key" to the Flashpoint universe.
The extent of the Flashpoint universe was recently revealed by DC with a map that showed a wide variety of lands and factions, as wars rage across the globe. The three-issue Deathstroke mini-series takes readers across this vast alternate universe as the villainous pirate Slade Wilson searches for his daughter, Rose.
And because the story is written by Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Joe Bennett, things get a little crazy. Known for his mind-boggling moments in the Jonah Hex series he writes with Justin Gray, Palmiotti has been given the directive to really push the limits in Deathstroke, fully utilizing the boldness of Bennett's art.
"I got to do some really crazy stuff," Palmiotti said, "and it actually all fits in the bigger scheme of the Flashpoint storyline."
Along Deathstroke's pirating trip, many familiar villainous faces show up, as well as some new characters created by Flashpoint architect Geoff Johns and Palmiotti himself.
Newsarama talked with Palmiotti to find out more.
Newsarama: Jimmy, who is Deathstroke in the Flashpoint universe?
Jimmy Palmiotti: Deathstroke is still the mercenary and assassin and bad-ass character that Slade Wilson's always been, except now he's a pirate. And he has this ship called Ravager.
He's taking advantage of all the chaos going on in the world and making stuff his own. He does what pirates do -- they rob, they steal, they kill.
The three issues cover a lot of ground. There's a lot of stuff going on, but it's a personal story as well. He's a man on a mission, and that is to find his daughter Rose.
Nrama: DC has indicated that we'll see a lot of the Flashpoint world in this mini-series?
Palmiotti: Yeah, he's searching for his daughter, but he still has a crew to satisfy. So as they rob, steal and plunder, they'll make their way through much of the Flashpoint universe.
And his life is not being made easy. Rose is keeping a couple steps ahead of him, and the people he's after are making sure things do not go well for him.
There are a lot of different stories going down within the three issues. And then it's also very involved with what's happening in the Flashpoint book and the world Geoff is creating there.
Nrama: It seems like you have the perfect artist for a big story like this. Joe Bennett's art is very big and grand.
Palmiotti: Oh yeah. I worked with Joe on Hawkman way back when, and he's gotten so much better, even though I didn't think he could. It's fantastic, it's over-the-top. The stuff I've seen has made me laugh because it's so filled with energy. There's a certain joy in the madness going on in the book, and Joe and John Dell really nailed it. I'm really, really happy with the way the first issue looks.
Nrama: What made you want to get involved with the Flashpoint story?
Palmiotti: I just think this is such an interesting part of the overall Flashpoint story, because we get to use this amazing character in Deathstroke and find out what he'd be like as a pirate, plus we get to really delve into all the corners of this world that Geoff has created.I'm not sure why DC wanted me on this title in particular, but I guess when they thought about murdering, thieving mercenaries and killers, I must have come to mind. Geoff especially felt that I would be the right person to write this kind of character.
Of course, the first thing out of my mouth was, "What can't I do? When am I going too far?" And they said, "Just write it the way you see it, and then we'll take a look and go from there."
And the funny thing about writing this series is that not much is censored. It's as crazy as I wanted to get, and they loved it, so it's kind of a great gig all around. I got to do some really crazy stuff, and it actually all fits in the bigger scheme of the Flashpoint storyline.
The concept's great, the character's terrific -- I've been a fan of Deathstroke since way back, even in the '80s when Marv [Wolfman] and George [Perez] were doing the character -- so I couldn't say no to the offer.
Nrama: Deathstroke has usually been portrayed as a mercenary, doing jobs for other people who pay him. But it sounds like you're letting him loose in this crazy world. Does that make him different at all?
Palmiotti: Well, he's still the same character, but even more bad-ass, with no holds barred, really. But of course, there's a point where he realizes there are some things money can't buy, and that's his daughter.
But yeah, there are no limitations when he's a pirate, traveling the world, so we made a comic that, if it were a movie, would have a $300 million budget. But because it's a comic, we could do pretty much anything we wanted.
So we went a little crazy in this book. I tried to get as creative as I could with how he does his job as a pirate. Extreme violence, when it's creative, is very entertaining to me. I had a lot of creativity in this book with how to take a guy down.
Nrama: Will you touch upon other things going on in the Flashpoint universe?
Palmiotti: It's actually key. There are key scenes in the first two issues that are actually important to the story of Flashpoint. They relate to what's going on in Geoff's book, even so far as some things are actually different angles or different perspectives. So you see events happening in Flashpoint, and then you're going to see Deathstroke's perspective. It's sort of like two people watch the same thing and get two different things out of it. So that's why the book's so cool.
Nrama: Are there a lot of new characters?
Palmiotti: There are existing characters in it and there are some new characters that Geoff created, there are a few that I created, and some of them have some horrible ends.The supporting cast kind of gets put through hell in the book. Some make it out OK, some not so OK. But that's the price of hanging out with a guy like Deathstroke. If you're on his ship and on his crew, then you're as good as dead in other people's eyes.
And we also deal with other ships. I don't want to give it away, but there are other ships. One in particular has another hero in the DCU on it that's a lot of fun. So we get to see pirates battling each other. And we get some hand-to-hand combat.
The idea that I got to write a pirate book with Deathstroke in it was a big, fun riot. It's the kind of thing where you get the premise and your imagination goes crazy. And that's what readers are going to see on the page. Just this crazy, fun tour of the Flashpoint Universe with DC characters as pirates and lots of swashbuckling action.