Deathstroke #28 – Priest, Writer; Diogenes Neves, Penciller; Trevor Scott, Inker; Jeromy Cox, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Corrina: Rose 🙁
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: In the aftermath of the collapse of Defiance in the Deathstroke annual, everything’s changed for the heroes and villains of this title. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is that this is consistently one of DC’s best books. The team has fallen apart, and almost everyone is at their lowest point. Tanya is presumed dead, and Wally has left the team in response. But they were the healthiest members of the team anyway, and everyone else is not in a good place. Joey, in particular, has gone right back to extreme depression, contemplating suicide and once again obsessing over the death of his fiancee Etienne. Slade, meanwhile, is back to his old tricks – hunting and killing for hire, seemingly without a thought given to all the carnage that unfolded under his watch. He’s so cold and unconcerned, in fact, that Wintergreen – usually his most loyal ally – has had enough and decided to call it a career.
Slade has another Wintergreen, though – the figment of his imagination taking the form of young Wintergreen that his fractured psyche has left for him, maybe a remnant of the Speed Force. And that doesn’t help him out much in a fight with Kenan Kong, who’s here to apprehend Slade on behalf of China. The contrast of the lighthearted Kenan vs. Slade is great and makes me want Priest on a Teen Titans title. But it’s Rose’s story arc that drives the issue, as we finally find out the truth behind the mysterious “Willow” – she’s Rose, whose serious head injury courtesy of Jericho left her with a fractured mind and a split personality. She thinks she’s possessed, but Dr. Isherwood – becoming an odd mentor to his arch-nemesis’ daughter – thinks otherwise. There is so much going on in this issue, and so many long-dangling threads yet to explode, that I’m hoping Priest has years more planned on this book.
Corrina: I keep going back to Priest’s comment about Slade being the “world’s worst father,” and how that continues to play out in this series. It’s not that Joe and Rose were destined to be evil because their parents were killers/soldiers. It’s that Rose and Joe have trouble because their relationship with their parents is utterly messed up and has made them dysfunctional people. (I thought the computer Wintergreen was part of the suit? No? Either way, it’s messed up and shows exactly how much humanity Slade has lost.)
The way Priest has written Deathstroke, I would not put it past him to have made Rose into a Hmong assassin deliberately. I mean, what better way to make sure she’s safe than to make sure she can kill anyone who opposes her? I might prefer that to the seemingly convenient head injury, which seems a tad contrived. Then again, Joe being responsible for hurting his sister is completely fitting within the Wilson family.
All this is going on and, meanwhile, poor Kenan is over his head with someone who really would kill him. He’s an interesting choice as a guest-star but a good one, because of the contrast to Slade’s black heart. I also wonder if Priest is trying to use as many new and diverse characters as possible in his book–a good thing–before the run is over. Hey, the more exposure fantastic characters like Kenan and Tanya and Rose get, the better.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this book for review purposes.