Deathstroke #42 review

Below the Teen Titans’ base lies a prison. A secret prison where Damian Wayne, the latest Robin, is secreting criminals. He’s had enough of the revolving door of the prison system – from now on, when his team captures a bad guy, they’re going in a deep, dark hole. His latest ‘guest’? Deathstroke the Terminator.

There’s an excitement among some of the inmates. Black Mask, especially.

One man who knows where Deathstroke is, is Slade’s son, Joe, the sometimes superhero known as Jericho. He’s in two minds about his assassin dad being captured so seeks him out via a psychic link they share.

The Teen Titans, meanwhile, are stalking their next mark. Undercover. Deathstroke interrupts – but not physically.

He rattles Robin and Kid Flash with the insights of a hyper-intelligent strategist, pointing out the errors sparked by youthful hubris. And even after the mission is over, the taunting continues.

Part two of the Deathstroke/Teen Titans crossover isn’t what I was expecting. Slade escaping and confronting the kids, I could see. Acting as a sinister Jiminy Cricket? In bunny slippers? Not so much.

And I loved it. You can always bank on Priest to come at a story from an unexpected angle and here he has Deathstroke find a way to rattle the ridiculously confident Robin that makes perfect sense. Little by little, we’ve seen a relationship develop between Slade and Damian that’s entirely believable; more than Slade/Joe and Bruce/Damian, I could See Deathstroke and Robin as father and son.

Let’s not forget the other Titans, though – Priest captures the personalities and dynamics so skilfully built by their own series writer, Adam Glass, as he puts them in a new position… undercover heroes. It’s not a role to which they immediately take, messing up a mission involving the modern version of one of Superman’s more obscure enemies.

Carlo Pagulayan isn’t a big name, but he ought be. His storytelling is as strong as his figurework; just look at that splash page, sleeping Slade’s muscular body, suspended in the air, has real weight to it. When it comes to the action, the narrative benefits from the smart compositions of Pagulayan, inked by Jason Paz and Norm Rapmund and coloured by Jeromy Cox. And Willie Schubert’s trademark angular letters add pace to proceedings.

Pagulayan and Paz provide the cover illustration, which is coloured by FCO Plascencia and delightfully Silver Age in concept.

Whether or not you’re following this crossover, you could enjoy this issue for what it is – a smart, funny, great-looking comic.

6 thoughts on “Deathstroke #42 review

  1. Sounds like a cool storyline… maybe I’ll pick it up the next time it’s on sale at Comixology.

    And man, Priest has been on Deathstroke this entire time! At this point, it’s one of…what, three?…DC Rebirth books to keep their original writer? There’s Priest on Deathstroke, King on Batman, and Williamson on Flash. I can’t think of any others. It looks like Rob Williams wrote Suicide Squad throughout, but it ended a couple of months ago.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Blimey, I’d not even noticed Suicide Squad had been cancelled, it had gotten so monotonous. The Black Files has been good, mind, love the magical Suicide Squad Black. .

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  2. I hadn’t been reading it — although a while back when there was an Amazon gltch, I bought a bunch of digital Harley Quinn titles (including a couple Suicide Squad trades) for about a dime each.

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  3. The one trade of the bunch I’m actually looking forward to has Barnaby Bagenda art. He really impressed me on Omega Men, and I’d been wondering where he’d been hiding out.

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