One of the earliest questions going into the “Defiance” era of Deathstroke was why would Wally West (well the other one anyway) aka Kid Flash would join Slade Wilson in his insane endeavor to become a superhero. On the outset it doesn’t make much sense. After all he was briefly a Teen Titan and Slade used and betrayed him in a pretty huge way in the Lazarus Contract, none of which particularly lends itself to a team setting where people have to work together in order to accomplish their mutual goals. The answer as always with this book is: it’s complicated and there are probably some daddy issues involved.
The issue does a pretty thorough examination of the motivations of the people taking part in Deathstroke’s endeavor. As with any unit put together by him, it’s showing cracks and everyone involved has deep-seated issues with at least one other person in the group. Wally and Tanya’s good intentions being what they are, being able to learn from the best and ensure he doesn’t kill anyone is a net win for them. However, it also doesn’t mitigate the obvious discomfort in being forced to take part in the ongoing Greek tragedy that’s Slade Wilson’s personal life, let alone the fact that they’ve both been betrayed by him in the past. Christopher Priest as always does a great job of addressing that fragility of human relationships, as well as show what makes Slade’s attempt different from other superhero teams, by turning what would normally be a betrayal moment by having Slade using Wally’s attempt to record him into a teaching lesson and attempt to repair his relationship with him.
Diogenes Neves and Jason Paz continue to do a great job with what’s largely a relationship-oriented issue rather than the narrative pyrotechnics of past issues. Which is a great time either way: after all a good dialogue scene is as reliant on skills in character acting as the best action scene is on choreography. Not to mention that every issue has Jeromy Cox’s colors on tap, which has continued to be a boon to the visual sensibility of this comic. All of that being said: Deathstroke is continuing to accumulate Jenga pieces in it’s ongoing game of betrayal and complication, now is as good a time as any to jump on. You’re never likely to know what the next issue’s twist is going to be.
4 Secret Societies out of 5