Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Joe Bennett, Norm Rapmund, and Jeremy Cox
Cover: Bill Sienkiewicz
Publisher: DC Comics
At this point, it’s best to stop being shocked that Deathstroke would go that far and just enjoy the flames. Anyone who’s paid a modicum of attention to this run can sum up the basics: Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke is a horrible father and an even worse human being in general, and now his sins have come back to roost in the worst ways possible. To wit: up to this point Slade tricked his daughter into believing she had living relatives, seduced his son’s triple-agent fiancee, and traumatized a teenage girl in order to push her away from him. All of that accumulating horror finally comes crashing down on the day of Joey “Jericho” Wilson’s wedding and like any other Priest book that hits the point where it pops the cork, it does not disappoint.
The dominant theme through this book is that anyone even breathing air with Slade Wilson is doomed to suffer heartache and regret, most of that trauma inflicted unwittingly by Slade himself, or by proxy of his parenting, and that attitude finally comes back to bite him when his oldest living child Jericho finally snaps from last issue’s cliffhanger and tries to kill him. It’s a testament to Priest’s plotting ability that he can keep so many ongoing plots coherent, as well as moving at a rapid clip. One of these plots alone could form the spine for a run, let alone multiple engines of drama running in collision with each other.
It’s also gladdening to have Joe Bennett back for this issue, along with Norm Rapmund on inks. Between this and his recent return to Kasper Cole on Black Panther: World of Wakanda, Joe Bennett has been having a great time again as an action artist, as well as a character actor. As with any comic book, it’d all fall apart without a capable artist, let alone with a team as talented as this. The quiet moments allow for the tension to build between Jericho’s bloody duel with his father. Jeremy Cox also continues to provide excellent colors, which are perfect for a perfectly sunny day being contrasted with the horrific events therein. If there were ever a case for a Priest-helmed prestige TV adaptation of Deathstroke, this comic has certainly made it. This comic continues to be a master class with regard to how to set a pressure cooker story, and then to watch it boil over, this’ll go down as one of the prime comic runs of its time. While it’ll be sad to see this book drop down to monthly (words I never thought I’d say with regard to bi-weekly comics), at least it’ll go out with a bang here.
5 Weddings out of 5