Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Deathstroke #19 Review

Better Off Dead

Written by: Christopher Priest
Art by: Larry Hama, Carlo Pagulayan, Roberto Viacava, Jason Paz, Sean Parsons, Jeromy Cox and Willie Shubert
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 24, 2017

The Lazarus Contract may have looked exciting on paper, but unfortunately, it wasn't comic book paper.  I hate to say it, but the story itself has been pretty boring and we've mostly been treading water since it began.  It's as if the three writer (Priest, Percy and Abnett) are more concerned with showing us all the characters involved instead of the story they are telling.  With only four issues, things better start!  So, does Christopher Priest shove things into gear and give us major forward momentum?  Let's find out...

The issue opens up with Deathstroke and Wally going for a run and it's just to let the reader know how Deathstroke is channeling the Speed Force.  It's a callback to the New 52 Manapul/Buccellato run and since I was a fan back then, it made me smile...even if it seems like a easy way out of a tough situation.  Actually, I said that is the only thing we get here, but we also get that dangling deal of who Slade made a deal with long ago.

We then go back to see what happened.  Basically, Slade made a deal with Dick Grayson to take care of Rose.  Actually, it was a contract...a Lararus Contract and as long as both kept their word and kept it to themselves, everyone would be fine.

Back with Slade and Wally, Deathstroke is obviously wondering why he forgot about this Flash (and Grant), but after some major shade being thrown Wally's way, the Speedster takes off leaving Slade holding his sword in his hand.

It's then off to see the Titans/Teen Titans and there is a lot of characters standing around as Damian gets pissed off at (young) Wally West for just giving his powers to Deathstroke.  The worst part comes when Wally goes to find the other Wally and just loses his Speed Force powers entirely.

When we do see the older Wally, he somehow has run into Jericho and that's when we hit recap central...if you are reading Deathstroke's book and haven't just joined in for this crossover.  It's exact scenes that we've seen throughout the series and while I understand needing to get newcomers caught up, I wonder if they would have any idea what is going on here.  We do get an extended scene when Grant eventually ran away from home for good, but even that came off a bit confusing and I've read every issue.

After seeing Deathstroke make quick work of a couple contracts that he had lying around, it's back with the Titans (Teen and otherwise).  Damian and Dick agree to work together and figure out they have to head off to their old HQ...just as Wally and Jericho call with the same plan.  I like seeing the Robins get along, but I loved seeing Jericho try to explain what Deathstroke is all about to Wally.  It's a really good peek at what makes Jericho tick.

The book ends with Slade wondering where Isherwood has gotten to (another reference those just here for the crossover may be confused by) while starting his own paradox.  The cliffhanger suggests he succeeded, but at what cost?

This issue was a lot of recap of Priest's Deathstroke run, a bit of explanation of the nuts and bolts going on here and not much else.  I really wanted to see more hints that this story was something bigger, but it all feels very simple and very small.  Still, the dialogue was good all around and Deathstroke fans can be happy we are resolving some long running threads.  I am not so sure how those just here for the Lazarus Contract will feel, but my guess is confused and a bit disappointed.

I rarely have a problem with the art in the Deathstroke book and the gang's all here and this looks really good.  If you have liked the look of the Deathstroke book during Rebirth, you will like this issue.

Bits and Pieces:

This felt more like the rest of the Deathstroke run than a Titans/Teen Titans crossover and while that's not a bad thing for longtime readers, those jumping on here might be a bit confused.  I was hoping for some answers and a bit more forward movement in the Lazarus Contract side of things, but it all leads to a cool cliffhanger that will be resolved in the Teen Titans Special coming up.  I am still onboard, but more as a fan of Deathstroke than anything else.