Hey y'all. I'm Chris. Austin, Texas. 20. History, Government, and Economics major. I am chocolate and chocolate does melt. But I'm also fun and spontaneous. Holla!
I wouldn’t characterize the changes as a few barnacles. The changes Liefeld made were not cosmetic. Liefeld destroyed some of the most essential aspects of Deathstroke’s origins. The things that made it so unique and created the fundamental dynamics for the entire family were almost entirely destroyed for utterly no reason.
One of the most interesting things about Slade was the whole Adeline/Slade relationship. She was not just some wallflower. She was a soldier too and had a lot to teach him. Wolfman/Perez showed their attraction/love. They also had Adeline not know about Slade’s mercenary career, but only learn about it when Joey was kidnapped. That was a huge betrayal, but then Slade put his reputation above son’s life, which resulted in Joey’s throat being cut. That led to the story’s most shocking moment. Adeline wasn’t just Slade’s little wife, remember? She was a trained soldier and she was pissed. She turned around, tried to kill Slade and shot his eye out. What did Liefeld do? He glossed over that relationship, barely addressed Adeline’s discovery of “Deathstroke,” and then had Adeline/Joey be “killed” in an attack on the house. Of course, anyone with half a brain knows they weren’t really dead, though Liefeld was tweeting about the amazing “twist” at the end. As for Slade’s eye, it gets shot out by some random North Korean soldier who looks like he tosses some ketchup at Slade.
Liefeld also completely misses the importance of Grant. Wolfman/Perez had Grant be the son who idolized his father, while Joey was the anti-Slade. But Grant didn’t have any powers, because he was born before Slade was given his powers. So out of a misguided need to live up to Slade’s expectations, Grand made a deal with the devil to get powers that wound up killing him. That, of course led Slade, out of obligation, to take on Grant’s contract to kill the Titans. It made Slade the consummate professional killer. Liefeld just had Grant inherit Slade’s power, be brought into his father’s footsteps, and die. Been there, done that.
And then there’s Joey. What the hell is wrong with DC? I understand that the mute character is hard, but Joey was one of the most original characters in comics history. Against the violent/military family, he was an artist, a gentle, caring soul. In just a few panels in NTT 44, Wolfman and Perez managed to show enough of Joey as a child so that when his throat was cut and he lost the ability to speak and sing, it was shocking. And while they could have had that one experience make him a bitter, vengeful bad guy, they still had him be that same boy he was before the kidnapping. Liefeld’s generic, deformed villainous Jericho is such a bastardization of the character that you just wonder if he made the first half of the issue such a copy of the original origin issue just so he could make the final pages a total FU to Wolfman/Perez.