Written by: Christopher Priest
Art by: Larry Hama, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Jeromy Cox and Willie Shubert
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 9, 2016
Deathstroke has been an odd book for me. I like it enough and actually enjoy it more with multiple readings, but it still doesn't leave any sort of lasting impression with me when I'm done. Maybe it's because I am not the biggest Deathstroke fan out there or the fact that my head is usually spinning when I hit the last page, but I can't say it is one of my favorites since Rebirth started. However, going by review scores alone, it is one of my top rated books! It's an enigma wrapped in a puzzle I guess. So, does this issue break the mold and get a high score while also making a lasting impression with this ADD suffering reviewer? Let's find out...
The issue opens with Deathstroke and Wintergreen flying over Sub-Saharan Africa and if that sounds familiar, this issue is one big walk down memory lane. I'm not saying it doesn't move forward (because it does in a big way), but there are so many call outs to what Christopher Priest has already given us that the editor has to be tired from writing so many "notes".
It all starts with an awesome scene with Deathstroke (using some STEEL rocket boots!) fighting lions to get to the Red Lion (remember him?), then blasting off into the sky to join Wintergreen on his crashing plane. Pretty fucking crazy! It seems crazier that Deathstroke has a tied up Richard with him on the plane as well!
In Los Angeles, we catch up with Rose who is discussing her love/I'm going to kill you relationship with Etienne. Who is Etienne? Why, Rose's half brother Joey's fiance, of course.
Christopher Priest seems to be making a living by confusing Deathstroke readers with sudden shoutouts and character arrivals, but everything with Jericho here is awesome and on point. We get a reminder of why he is mute and also a cool way he interacts with other characters in the here and now. We also get a hint that he is not too fond of Deathstroke being alive, but he needs to take a number on that front.
Back with Deathstroke, we get a little rundown of all the events of the comic so far as well as a peek into the reason why Richard (or Luis) hates Deathstroke. The history lesson continues with Rose telling Etienne what has gone on in her life and it ends with some great dialogue explaining that Jericho's fiance half-hates Rose.
The issue ends with Christopher Priest delving into Jericho's past relationships in such a natural way that it ups the shock value when we get to the cliffhanger. I'm not sure if anyone else is going to get the same feeling I did, but this final scene had a Watchmen feel to it. I don't mean anything to do with the Rebirth/Watchmen connection here, just the gritty, awesome, real feeling I got when I first read Watchmen.
I keep saying it with each issue, but this is my favorite Deathstroke issue so far. Seeing a bunch of loose (and not so loose) ends addressed gave me more confidence that Christopher Priest has the reader's back and adding Jericho into the mix was awesome. If you have been following our site and/or podcast, you know that I hate Jericho. I don't hate this Jericho. That means something, at least to me!
The best thing I can say about Carlos Pagulayan's art is it never took me out of the story. After the awesome first set piece, everything calms down and Carlo concentrates on his awesome character designs and it all works out since this is in fact, a great character driven issue.
Bits and Pieces:
Christopher Priest is beginning to reward those who have been reading his story twice a month while adding a character who is awesome and scary as hell all wrapped up into one. While the overall story is still a bit of a mystery, the pieces are coming together and I like what I see. Carlo Pagulayan's art is all about the characters and that's good because so is the story.