Deathstroke #29 – Priest, Writer; Diogenes Neves, Penciller; Trevor Scott, Inker; Jeromy Cox, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: No Happy Endings
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Another time-bending, plot-jumping issue in Deathstroke #29 takes Slade Wilson to the end of the series current mega-arc and sets up the next big one – the mini-event Batman vs. Deathstroke. But before we get there, it’s time for the fall of Slade Wilson, as all his debts come due and all the people around him are forced to face the consequences of the failed Defiance plan. When the issue opens, Slade is naked and being searched at gunpoint, having been arrested at an unknown location. The story then flashes back, as Rose seeks out her brother to tell him what she’s discovered – that she might have killed Etienne while under the influence of her split personality Willow. Slade, meanwhile, has cruelly told Terra that she never meant anything to him, and she is more than a little angry. Angry enough to shatter the street he’s on and try to kill him. Can you really blame her? But this is far from the worst thing he’ll have to deal with this issue.
Everyone’s actions come due this issue, as Rose finds out just how many people Willow has hurt, and exactly who’s coming after her for it. Her decisions as a result of this really drive home exactly how different she is from her cruel father. Meanwhile, the showpiece of this issue is undoubtedly Slade vs….well, everyone. Adeline is orchestrating the attack, Isherwood is providing the muscle, and Wintergreen just wants to retire – and knows he needs his boss out of the way to do this. Slade is a master of deception, but this time he’s been the one who’s been played, and the final third of the issue is a masterpiece with a guest appearance by Kenan and a great ending twist regarding the “cyber-Wintergreen” that was supposedly implanted in Slade’s head by Isherwood. The ending is a game-changer that finds Slade at his lowest and sets up what could easily be the series’ best arc yet.
Corrina: How can a comic about a truly terrible person be so compelling while, at the same time, never sugar-coating exactly how awful he is?
I guess the primary answer is that it’s written by Priest. The secondary answer is that the story has surrounded our main character, Slade, with others who are far more conflicted and have more capacity for good in them than our villain, but who’ve been damaged by Slade himself.
We’re rooting for Joe and Rose, even though we’ve seen how much their upbringing warped them. Rose knows what she has/might become, so she gives herself up at least twice in this issue to accept a punishment that seems to never come. Did she have a double personality that caused her to murder? Was it the head injury? Was it something in the blade that possessed her? It’s unclear as yet but it’s impossible not to wish for her to have a happy ending.
As for Joe, he’s a person in pain, still focused on Etienne’s murder. He doesn’t accept she deserved it, probably because there are so many people around him who deserved to die too and they’re still alive. I expect when the murderer is revealed, Joe will suffer the most. You can even feel Wintergreen and Terra’s pain in this issue, though each has so many sins on their conscience too.
And now? Slade may be more unbalanced than ever. Never good news.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.