The last few issues of Deathstroke have been filled with heartbreak and violence as Defiance collapsed and the walls have finally started closing in on Slade. You’d think it couldn’t get worse, but nope it absolutely can. Slade Wilson cuts an increasingly twisted path through the universe after giving up on being a hero, while people are left to cower in his wake, but this time that changes.
Since the Defiance arc began, a war has been brewing in Chinatown thanks to Willow or rather Rose Wilson who may very well have lost her mind, or had something done to her. Slade despite his failure to adhere to the morals he espoused, has come to help, but of course everyone he’s ever hurt and angered has come to stop him. Unfortunately for Slade, even he can be surprised, and he’s not invincible. As Christopher Priest has spelled out since the very beginning: Slade Wilson is a man who kills people for money, someone a step removed from his own emotions, but one who actually attempted to change. The issue ends with Slade left betrayed, his focus and sanity exposed as a lie, and locked up. All told, it may very well be what he deserves. That there’s actually some tragedy to it is a testament to the work Priest has put into in the world of Deathstroke, the inevitability doesn’t stop it from being any less sad. Everyone involved are real people with their own desires and motivations and not just roadblocks for Slade to mow down emotionally, that inhumanity and unwillingness to actually stick to the heroic path he walked away from is what proves to finally be his undoing under Priest’s pen.
Diogenes Neves has been illustrating the Defiance arc since its beginning and has made leaps and bounds since that first issue. The final issue of this phase of the book is chaotic what with a multi-pronged fight in Chinatown, and it looks gorgeous too. The inks by Trevor Scott and Jeromy Cox’s colors have kept each issue consistent, and moreover looking gorgeous. While this era of Deathstroke is over, another one is kicking off. But if you want an indicator of where the title has been and where it will be going, you’re in for a good start here.
4 Neural Feeds out of 5