By Dustin Cabeal
All good things must come to an end; such is the case for Deathstroke and Power Girl, the strangest duo to hang out in the DCU in quite a long while. This issue of Deathstroke is a reminder for those reading that Slade is a piece of shit, he’s not to be loved or idolized. He is a villain, even if he occasionally does nice things. Just remember, Slade is a piece of shit, but it’s okay to love him.
If ever I needed another reason to dislike Beast Boy, here it is, he’s the one that finally reveals to Tanya that she’s been helping Deathstroke. What follows is a wonderful sequence in which she shoos Gar out so that she can confront Slade on her own. It is both touching, heartbreaking and revealing of just how goddamn dysfunctional Slade is as a character. What’s amazing is that his A.I. knows him so well that he lays out exactly what he’s doing for readers that may not understand why he’s being so damn evil. This is a man incapable of maintaining normal relationships. He could be one of the greatest heroes on the planet, but he’s so fundamentally broken by all the things he’s done in his life that it’s impossible for him to turn back and Slade fully acknowledges that with his actions. Nothing else needs to be said about this issue, there is a “holy hell” cliffhanger that sets up the next arc, but I wouldn’t spoil that either way.
I wish I could definitively say that Priest is doing the best writing of his career, but that would require me to have read a lot more of his work than I currently have. I will say that he’s writing circles around the rest of the DC bullpen. Perhaps they should ask him for recommendations on who else to bring into the fold and have a career revitalization. While I’m not so ignorant as to wish that all of DC’s books were like Deathstroke, I do wish they were being handled with as much love, attention to details and just fucking planning. Two issues a month from this team and it feels better planned than any other superhero comic book from DC or otherwise.
I know I’m going to sound like an old man when I say this, but I don’t care. Reading Deathstroke is like reading superhero comics for the first time again. It’s like somewhere between writing for the trade and writing for the endless event cycle, publishers, editors and more importantly, writers, all fucking forgot how to write comics that felt like comics. It’s kind of an indescribable feeling, but when I read this, it’s just like being home and falling in love with this medium all over again.
Joe Bennett is a beautiful bastard, and his artwork is to be loved and appreciated. The first page is just Slade on the phone, holding a cane, with the dog sitting nearby. There are no words, but it’s such an incredible page. The scenery out of the window, the detail in the tile, the wood floor, the throw rug. It’s just a beautiful scene and the calm before the storm that is the rest of the issue. Jeromy Cox’s coloring brings it all to life, with the gentle ray of sunlight piercing through the overcast clouds. Not to forget the subtle and clean inking from Norm Rapmund that again contributes to the comic book feeling. This art team can win you over with one page, with no dialogue, with zero action happening.
For my money, I don’t think there’s a better DC Comic being released. I say that with one more review to write for DC and it’s arguably their second best title at the moment. There are so many reasons to enjoy this series, and I will continue reviewing it, pointing out anything new that I see. My hope is that this becomes the number one comic on the market because so many people are buying and reading it if that happens, I won’t need to review it because we’ll all just know, this is magic run happening, and I hope it never ends. Just in case you forgot though, read the first line of this review again.
Artist: Joe Bennett
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Willie Schubert
Publisher: DC Comics