When it comes to DC villains getting the limelight, Deathstroke hasn't done poorly by any means. He's in his fair share of comics - including his own series - was a major villain (if not the major villain) in the 2003-2006 run of Teen Titans, and eventually netted himself a nice boss fight spot in Batman: Arkham Origins... and a less nice boss fight in Batman: Arkham Knight.
As such, it was almost inevitable that he'd get his own animated cartoon at some point, in the best possible way. Because while we've seen Slade a whole lot, it's usually as a menacing figure in the background, or a threatening figure we need to take down - which means we often don't learn a whole lot about him, even when he plays a significant role in things.
This is where Deathstroke: Knights and Dragons is at its strongest; as a potted history of the man himself. If you were trying to get into comics - or get a refresher course in Deathstroke in particular - this is actually a great way to do so, as it condenses a fair amount of the mercenary's past into the space of its eighty-seven minute run. Now, this might sound like a lot of time for one man's history, but when compared to the amount of comics all of this is referring to, it's much, much shorter - and thus massively convenient for those hoping to pick this lore up efficiently.
Despite condensing this history, the story manages to do one very important thing right, by not painting Wilson as too much of a hero or a villain. It's easy to make Slade the worst villain in the history of all time, or the old trope of a mercenary with a heart of gold - but the truth is, his comic roots are far more complex than either of these depictions. In not playing up to either stereotype, Knights and Dragons has its main character at his most interesting - even if you're just interested in seeing if he gets himself out of the awful predicament he's gotten himself in.
And you likely will be interested in seeing it just for the art, as the style makes it very, very easy to watch. Since most comic art styles are line-heavy, it's always initially strange to see the characters rendered in a style that isn't, but this plays very well into the movement of the actual animation, making the whole thing feel more fluid than just comic drawing made to move.
Though when we say move, we do generally mean kill, as one thing that was surprisingly (and pleasantly) rife was violence. It's no Kill Bill, but seeing Slade slice and dice his enemies in spectacular fashion is never not fun to see, striking a nice balance between "just a gore fest" and "not accurate for the life of a professional mercenary".
In an era where lesser known comic figures are starting to come to light more, it's welcome to see Deathstroke share in the limelight in a way he hasn't previously - and in a way that should spark some nostalgia for anyone who watched the old Titans cartoon.
Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons is out NOW on digital download and arrives August 17th on Blu-Ray™ and DVD