Review Brew: Deathstroke #16
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Larry Hama, Carlo Pagulayan, Roberto J. Viacava and Jason Paz
Cover: Bill Sienkiewicz
Deathstroke continues to be one of the most impressive comics coming out of DC at the moment. While a book that’s basically a supervillain version of Sopranos could grow bleak, Priest has managed to find the tonal switches that made his Black Panther run such a joy to read. So far, the inclusion of Power Girl into the narrative has made for a great contrast against the normally sarcastic and dour tone of the book; when it has to play against a church-going and all-loving superhero.
The continuing arc of Deathstroke has leaned towards Edgar Allen Poe’s The Telltale Heart as a source of inspiration, and that beating heart comes into focus here with the consequences of the cast’s lies finally rising to the surface. Be that Slade Wilson’s imminent blindness and his deception as a superhero, Jericho’s hapless attempts to restore to health a man he loved and might have killed, and Rose discovering just how deeply ingrained her father’s control over her life actually runs. It also reinforces just how dumb of an idea it is to enter Slade’s orbit, even if you’re a superhero in Power Girl’s case. While her story hasn’t ended in heartache and regret like everyone else’s yet, it certainly is fun watching Priest build up the tension like this.
Larry Hama and Carlo Pagulayan continue to bring a great deal of energy into the comic, as well as Roberto Viacava in this issue. The comic would lose a lot of the fun, as well as the action, without an anchoring sense of artistic continuity, and that’s what the creative team continues to bring here. While the story is a fairly simple one: Deathstroke pretending to be a blind superhero, complete with seeing-eye dog vs. a competing assassin army while protecting Power Girl, the time and narrative jumping keep it from being static. And as silly as the premise of Deathstroke essentially pretending to be Daredevil could sound, it injects a deal of fun into a comic that’s like an FX drama. If you’re looking to jump on with this comic, now’s as good a time as you’re going to get.
4 Seeing Eye Dogs out of 5
As much as I love Deathstroke, when the young Power Girl was introduced I did think “Huh?!?”. But, dammit, Priest has made her work in the murky, duplicitous world of Slade Wilson.