Deathstroke #35 – Priest, Writer; Carlo Pagulayan, Penciller; Jason Paz, Inker; Jeromy Cox, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Deathstroke vs. Batman has been one of the most interesting stories for either character in years, and it raises the question – why isn’t Priest writing a Batman title yet?
The man clearly has a fantastic grasp on the entire Batfamily and its history, with his take on Alfred, in particular, being the best I’ve seen in years.
This final, brutal issue of the story, in Deathstroke #35, has Batman and Deathstroke begin to uncover the truth is a masterstroke and maybe the best issue of the arc. After a brief flashback to Bruce Wayne’s adventurous and obsessive childhood, we pick up with Batman and Slade sealed up in the catacombs under the Batcave, both seriously injured after their fight the last issue. Wintergreen and Alfred have essentially pulled the old “lock the enemies in a room until they figure things out” trick, only with a ticking clock – the FBI is razing Wayne Manor on Deathstroke’s forged warrant, and it is only a matter of time before they get into the cave and expose both of them. This forces Batman and Deathstroke to briefly put aside the conflict that’s gotten completely out of control and work together.
Set against the backdrop of their tag-team escape – Deathstroke has a severe concussion and lacks the dexterity to escape the cave, while Batman is bleeding out – there are a lot of cutaways to what everyone else is doing.
Jericho, who has been one of the most fascinating characters of this run, is getting better and better at using his power to manipulate and impersonate people and manages the last-second move that saves the day. This takes place during the era when Tim Drake was “dead”, and his role in setting the paternity plot in motion is interesting. It’s key to remember he did this shortly after Damian stabbed him and left him for dead, so that’s not exactly a healthy relationship.
The revelations of the roles Adeline and Talia played in setting the two leads against each other – and the way they work together to uncover it – is a highlight of the issue, but at its core this series has done some of the strongest work with Bruce and Damian’s bond that I’ve seen in a while. The last pages should put any concerns about Priest’s endgame to rest, and firmly establish Deathstroke once again as one of DC’s best books.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.