By: Jimmy Palmiotti (writer), Tony Shasteen & Alex Massacci (artists), Rich and Tanya Horie (colorists)

The Story: I’ll be a sea monkey’s uncle before I let my daughter get daddy issues!

The Review: If you want people to care about something, you have to let them spend some time with it.  That goes double for fictional characters.  To really get a connection out of them, they need actual things to do, scenes where they can react and show their personality, instead of merely entering a room and laying out a bunch of information just to get the story moving.  When you reduce their roles that severely, it’s impossible to be affected by them, for good or ill.

So despite this issue ending on what’s clearly intended to be a heartwarming note, you don’t feel any warm or fuzzy feelings coursing through you at all.  All the pieces you need for a satisfying conclusion are there: father and daughter reunited, new friend and lover standing by, the bad guys (relatively bad, of course, in context of a whole cast full of scumbags) defeated and dispersed, a ship sailing into the sunset and a metaphorical brighter future.  But the word that best describes your reaction to all this is, “Whatever.”

You can’t possibly expect yourself to give a fig about Rose, even though she’s the focal point of the plot and the title bears her heroic namesake.  In an entire mini, she gets twelve panels of page-time and her number of lines barely surpasses that.  Besides a spirited headbutt against her captors, she does nothing else the whole issue.  She has no value except as a prize to motivate Deathstroke into action.  She’s a living treasure chest, pretty much.

Then you have Jenny Blitz, who has, rather unbelievably, almost as little personality as Rose despite getting about three times the exposure.  She simultaneously offers some distracting fanservice, a conflict to occupy Deathstroke and his crew until the conclusion can get underway, and a convenient, all-purpose tool for him to achieve his goals in quick, easy fashion—and you still know nothing about her by the end of the issue, an impressive accomplishment, in a way.

And as much as it is to watch Deathstroke lay down the law on his ship, assassin style, the whole mutiny feels like a pointless diversion from the real story—whatever it is.  It seems like Palmiotti had a strong outline of how he wanted this series to go, but never got around to fleshing it out and putting his ideas together in a coherent way.  In this case, he underplayed the fundamentals: crafting a consistent antagonist, developed characters, and convincing background history.

Shasteen’s work on the first half of the issue looks quite impressive.  His art has a lot of texture, and he always goes for the most dynamic angles to give the talky scenes some lift.  With slightly better inking, his work would easily hit the slick realism of the Marvel standard.  Massacci is a completely different story; frequently his lines are loose and sloppy to the point of garishness (see Icicle getting his head blown up), and the further out he pans from the action, the more unpleasant it looks.  It’s worth mentioning that even though Brigg’s ghost-sister dies early on, Massacci still draws her into the final battles with the Caretaker.

Conclusion: By neglecting his storytelling homework, Palmiotti winds up with a story that works, plot-wise, yet still fails to capture your attention or interest.

Grade: C-

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Deathstroke scoring with Blitz is fanservice of a very mixed variety.  On the one hand, he’s a ragged, old dude, so it’s awesome; on the other hand, he’s a ragged, old dude, so it’s pretty gross.

– Good Lord, Brigg’s power is weird.  Consider the implications of having your sister’s spirit inside you at all times.  I get chills just thinking about it.