Deathstroke continues to be a surprising read. While the comic has ostensibly had Slade Wilson move onto the life of a hero, there’s always something else going on. This issue features the first outing of Team Defiance against the Radiant Men, while Slade ditches them to have a conversation with an old friend: one Doctor Light. As always Priest delivers a lot on characterization. While Deathstroke has always been an ensemble, making it a team book means a lot more voices to write for. In this, Priest succeeds. The book is still properly Deathstroke, but there’s a lot more people involved in his life than there were before. While it’s still surreal watching Deathstroke operate as a hero and with a bunch of Teen Titans no less, it’s milked as a source of tension in the comic, the new status quo is as weird for the characters as it is for us.
Diogenes Neves continues making the now-monthly book his own. There’s a great deal of personality inherent both in the lines, as well as the distinguishing in the physicality and ages of the various characters. Jason Paz’s inks have also helped to maintain the visual link in this second year of Deathstroke from the first, as well as Jeremy Cox’s colors. Given that the book has transitioned into a team book, it heartening that there’s an effort to ensure there isn’t an overlap in the looks of the characters (uniforms aside anyway).
While it’s still a bit of a drag upon the book having it move from a twice-monthly schedule to a regular monthly book, the book still has plenty of bang for your buck. A fast-paced read, multiple rotating plots and action. There’s not much better you could ask for in a comic. But layered with an intricate plot, the idea of whether people can truly transition from a life of evil to one that’s good-ish? Those are questions that truly make it as exciting as it can be.
4 Defiances out of 5