Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 28, 2015
Heads Will Roll
Tony S. Daniel's take on Deathstroke has been a slow burn story focusing on the who and what of a past that he can't remember. The reader has been walking alongside him as he tries to get his footing in a world he doesn't know and people he thought were long dead. Hell, Slade doesn't even recognize the guy looking back at him in the mirror. While I thought the first couple of issues were pretty generic fare, Daniel's art has been superb since the first panel and last issue ramped up the story big time. The promise of Deathstroke heading to Gotham only excited me even more for this issue, but now that I sat down with it, I feel a little let down. Why? Let me tell you, kiddies.
The issue opens in Russia with Slade learning a bit about Bronze Tiger. It doesn't come from Ben himself, but from Red Fury. It seems that Fury has turned Bronze Tiger into a double agent the likes of which I haven't seen since Reggie Jackson was programmed to kill Queen Elizabeth in the Naked Gun. While that whole part feels a bit cliched, Slade makes things interesting when he injects Red Fury with "his" own truth serum. Why did I use the quotes? Because Red Fury is not a man, baby!
Slade is face-to-face with the Scarlett Johansson look-a-like for less than a minute before his whole life is turned upside down. Victor Ruiz, Angelica and I-Ching all show up like a bad episode of This is Your Life and offer Slade an opportunity...to kill his Father.
Speaking of Odysseus, him and Lady Shiva get word from Bronze Tiger that Slade is dead. It's all part of the plan as well as the information leak that Jericho is in Gotham City. Right before leaving for the inevitable showdown, Slade is given another shocker...his daughter Rose is in Gotham as well. Talk about a family reunion, jeez.
While I enjoyed all this to a point, the reason I was looking forward to the this issue was Harley Quinn. Her and Slade have some Suicide Squad history and it's an understatement to say he left on good terms. The two do meet up and after Slade makes Harley a very interesting offer, she does more than refuse, she sets him up. The issue ends on a pretty cool cliffhanger that promises a fanboy's dream fight.
So, why did I feel let down? Well, I didn't like the way that Daniel portrayed Harley. I may be nitpicking, but what she does in this issue is horrible and if it is what it seems, I can't see how Amanda Waller doesn't detonate Harley's head immediately. In fact, the whole trip to Gotham seems like a forced way to get to the cliffhanger. Maybe we will get some Gotham goodness next issue, but so far it's just a missed opportunity.
I had no problem with Daniel's art. It's always great so it's no surprise that the trend continues this issue, though hi Harley isn't the best I've seen. There is lots of blood and severed limbs which this book is quickly becoming known for and the last page spread is awesome.
Bits and Pieces:
Deathstroke #4 gives the reader a ton of cool stuff when it comes to Slade's personal and professional life, but the promise of some Gotham fun fell a little flat...until the end. The art remains superb, but the story needs to pick up the pace.