With DC Rebirth on the horizon, the DC Universe is getting a makeover . We’ve already seen Yanick Paquette’s designs for Black Canary and Huntress, but yesterday outgoing Midnighter artist ACO posted several rejected and final designs for the upcoming Deathstroke series by Christopher Priest, Igor Vitorino and Felipe Watanabe.

Traditionally, Deathstroke is a ridiculous looking character, and there’s no getting around that. Originally he wore blue spandex with orange underwear on the outside, accessorized with orange pirate gloves, orange buccaneer boots, and a strap of bullets across his chest



Deathstroke’s ridiculousness stands at odds with DC’s plans for him as the publisher's big badass assassin, so in recent years he’s moved away from the spandex towards armor, trading in a mask for helmet and adding scalemail to his chest. The blue/orange color-scheme remained, but the orange took the form of ever unnecessary straps and shoulder pads left over from the mid-90s.

Deathstroke’s new look moves away from the heavily armored style he’s embraced over the past decade, and towards something sleeker and more tactical. To my eye it reminds me of Snake from the most recent installment of the Metal Gear Solid games, especially when he’s unmasked and looks like a cyclopian hot-dad.


ACO/DC Comics


The orange has been considerably toned down from previous incarnations of the costume and is mostly used for Slade’s accessories, and what little of it there is on his left arm works well with the costume. He has the pouches and straps you’d expect to find on a character like Deathstroke, but for the most part you can see and make sense of what they’re for.

The most interesting part of ACO’s designs is his take on Slade Wilson’s daughter Rose AKA Ravager. In the past, Rose has often had a rather uninspired take on her father’s costume, buccaneer boots and all, with the only difference being the half-mask. Rose’s previous New 52 costume was a bit too much of a departure, with a red and black color scheme, high collar, and a mask that can only be described as half a bandana that clung to her face over one eye. It was very Gen 13.


ACO/DC Comics


Rose’s new costume is much more contemporary, and in the comments on Facebook, ACO noted that he wanted Rose to have a gym look, like something you could buy in a sport shop. The racerback crop top and yoga pants combination is very millennial, and the dope sneakers continue the hottest superhero comics trend of 2016, popularized by the likes of Ramon Villalobos.

Looking at the two rejected designs, you can see why DC chose the one they did. The first lacks color, and kinda fades into the background with only the orange to help it pop. The second, without the undershirt, is perhaps a bit too much for a teenage girl in a comic book, and on a practical level she is woefully unprotected from knives, bullets and anything else she may face along the way.

The new Deathstroke title promises to offer a more nuanced take on the character, and hopefully a break from the Liefieldian direction he's been travelling in since the inception of The New 52. With Christopher Priest returning to comics for the first time in years, it should be well worth checking out, and if the interiors are half as good as ACO’s designs, it may be the surprise hit of Rebirth.

You can see more of ACO's work, along with several different takes on the cover to Deathstroke #1, at his Facebook page.