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DCeased Deathstroke

DC Essentials
by yo go re

Here's to the tree lobsters!

DCeased was a good story, so it was soon receiving spin-offs. In DCeased: The Unkillables, Vandal Savage was assembling a group of villains to basically wait out the plague in isolation, so they could take over the world once it had run its course. A decent idea, sure, but come on: you know nothing ever goes to plan in a zombie apocalypse. If it did, there would be no conflict.

Slade Wilson was in Kentucky when the Anti-Life virus began to spread. A white supremecist group had burned down some churches, and someone had scraped together $9 million to hire Deathstroke for some revenge. He got to the losers' hideout, and was only mildly surprised when one of them jumped out of a third-story window and tried to run away on visibly broken legs. Then more began spilling out the front door, not even paying any attention to Deathstroke as they fled. Inside? "A house full of Nazi @#$% zombies. The worst of the undead combined with the worst of the living." He tried to call his employer to renegotiate, and that's when he was infected.

Like everyone else exposed to the virus, Slade's first reaction was to claw at his face, because they could feel there was something physically wrong inside their head. Of course, no one else has been wearing a full-face mask like Deathstroke does, so that had to get shredded before his flesh could. Paul Harding's sculpt leaves the orange side of the mask relatively intact, with the blue side ripped away to show his open mouth and empty eye socket.

The DC Essentials line featured Deathstroke in his "Rebirth" costume, rather than his classic Captain America-inspired look, so this toy does, too. It looked okay in the comic, but these toys use basic bodies with the details painted on, rather than sculpted, so Deathstroke feels cheap. The idea behind this costume is that it's Metal Gear Solid-style body armor, not simply spandex, but we don't get any kind of detail here. Even the tiny scales of armor on his shoulder are just done with paint, which is in no way good. If not for the zombie head, this would be a totally unremarkable toy.

At least the paint is good. Rather than bright blue, the bulk of Deathstroke's costume is more grey, with orange on the shoulder, belt, gloves, and toes, ane a white left sleeve. There's a lot of blood on him, and it all shows up nicely against the costume colors they chose. He's even got the wound in his chest where Ravager stabbed him. The honeycomb armor is just achieved with tampographs, which don't always line up correctly around the rounded shapes of the shoulder.

Deathstroke doesn't include any accessories, which is especially odd since he has an ampty holster on his right leg. There's a knife sheathed on his left ankle, but that's non-removable. He doesn't even get the scabbard the original toy (#02 in the series) included! He's still fully articulated, with a balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged chest, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge/swivel ankles. He's got the open, clawing hands, so he wouldn't be able to hold accessories anyway, and "coming with nothing" is the style of this line.

When Vandal Savage was builing his team, he chose everyone for a specific reason: defense, transportation, muscle, long distance combat, hand-to-hand combat, speed, invulnerability, or they were already dead. He recruited Deathstroke because Slade's healing factor could overcome the Anti-Life virus, returning him back to normal even after getting infected. So this zombified look was a short-lived one for him (though it still lasted longer than Harley's). That head is the only interesting thing about this figure, though, so it's good they went this route. Still, Deathstroke is the weakest release in the DCeased line.

-- 09/28/22

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