Written by: Christopher Priest
Art by: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Jeromy Cox and Willie Shubert
Release Date: August 24, 2016
While I wasn't the biggest fan of the Rebirth issue of Deathstroke that Christopher Priest gave us, I was intrigued with where the story was headed. Priest threw a bunch of characters at us during the present, the past and possibly the future and with the Clock King involved, who knows what was really going on! Like I said, I was intrigued, but I couldn't shake the feeling that Deathstroke was a piece of shit and that I really didn't like him. I have recently read a couple of Christopher Priest interviews and it seems to me that he is actually going for that, so congrats to him. It's not what I like, but I do appreciate a clear vision. So, as the series continues this week, does Priest's vision involve a slightly more likeable Slade Wilson or am I just going to have to get used to this Deathstroke and move ahead with it? Let's find out...
The issue starts out and it is immediatley apparent that it is a direct continuation from the Rebirth beginning. I know that isn't mind blowing, but it is something that hasn't been 100% guaranteed, so i thought I should mention it. Through some media narration, we see that Congressman Hasgrove will be re elected, just like Deathstroke promised the African Warlord, Matthew Bland. That's when things take a turn for the worse for the Congressman and we realize that not everything has been exactly the way we thought it was.
We then get two flashbacks (the first being a quick Starsky and Hutch looking deal) that show the reader the origins of "Kenilworth" and Deathstroke himself. By the time we get Deathstroke crashing through the page and a bunch of polaroids, I can actually say that I was beginning to like Slade much more than last issue.
We next head off to Africa, where a much younger looking Clock King is taking his time (get it?) with Matthew Bland. This is where we get a better look at the double and triple crosses that are going on behind the scenes. Seriously, it seems as if everyone is screwing everyone else over and the only way to see who is the winner, is to wait and see who remains standing at the end.
On that note, we see Wintergreen and get some of his backstory which leads to a huge part of the issue...Deathstroke putting on Dr. Ikon's prototype Deathstroke suit. It looks pretty badass, but there is much more to it.
The pieces of the puzzle start coming together as Deathstroke and Wintergreen head off to Clock King to keep him from killing Bland. After CK sends Wintergreen reeling in the years (in a cool way to show us a bit of Slade's past with Adeline Kane Wilson and his kids), Deathstroke attacks the pajama wearing "super-villain" and figures out his not so super powered secret. It ends with Deathstroke fulfilling his contract with Bland's men and more of a look at the double crosses going on.
The issue ends with some pretty funny dialogue between Wintergreen and Deathstroke and then a cliffhanger page that shows that every single thing we have seen in both the Rebirth issue and this one was a slow con to get Deathstroke to change his clothes. It's still a little early for it to feel big, but when you sit back and think of all the moving pieces that had to fall into place to make it happen, it's pretty damn awesome!
I liked this issue more than Rebirth. I will admit that the whole jumping back and forth in time always throws me out a story a bit, but I am very intrigued to know more about everything we've seen. I can't wait to see who is behind Slade's troubles and also just how much trouble he gets into. We do get a tiny bit of family drama here and that is something else I want more of so I hope we get just that next issue. As of now, Priest is slowly making me like his Deathstroke a little bit more and I hope that continues with each issue.
I really liked Carlo Pagulayan's art in this issue. While there isn't one panel that jumped out at me, I liked everything we got. I do really like the Clock King design and give Pagulayan credit for making a guy in pajamas look so bad ass!
Bits and Pieces:
Christopher Priest continues from his Rebirth issue by showing us more of Deathstroke's world and it's a world of crosses, double crosses, triple...you get the idea. Nobody can be trusted, everyone has an angle and we are right there in the middle of it with our favorite anti-hero. It looks like things are going to get worse before they get better and if the cliffhanger can be believed, clothes not only can make the man, but they might just kill him as well.