Review – DEATHSTROKE #32

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SYNOPSIS: “BATMAN VS. DEATHSTROKE” part three! When a retired superhero gets caught in the crossfire between the World’s Greatest Detective and the DCU’s most deadly assassin, could an entire legacy be wiped out? Lines are crossed when Deathstroke and Batman’s feud takes its darkest turn yet-and there’s no going back!

Lethal Weapon.

48 Hours.

Rush Hour.

Add Batman/Deathstroke to that list. They are the new Riggs and Murtaugh.

Three issues into “Batman vs. Deathstroke” and Priest has crafted one of the best stories starring the character since REBIRTH.  Priest continues to top previous issues, blending Mission: Impossible with The Odd Couple.  Carlo Pagulayan and Roberto Viacara do a magnificent job with the pencils, action panels galore with stunning backgrounds.  The book captivates you from the opening page with a story full of twists and turns that play out like a DC buddy cop comic.

These two characters should be able to work together with all their similarities as long as they don’t pummel each other in the process.  Where Priest excels is their differences, personalities and the banter.  Batman and Deathstroke have their own way of going about their business. While they both get the job done, they can never see eye to eye.  There are two great interactions with each other; one is a short out of “costume” affair that leaves Batman furious to no end. While the other is a grand fight with/between the two of them.  Seeing Batman take on his equal is nothing short of fantastic.  Sprinkle in a bit of Wintergreen/Alfred, some Robin/Jericho with Talia as the icing on the cake and you are in for a thrill ride like none other.

The artwork in the book is beautiful, Carlo Pagulayan and Roberto Viacara provide the pencils, Jason Paz provides inks and Jeromy Cox provides colors all doing a fabulous job.  The opening action sequence can’t help but remind you of those insane Mission: Impossible stunts.  A great amount of detail went into the backgrounds of this book, the skyline and cityscapes. Bright lasers, explosions, smoke with wonderful panel placements add to the overall effect. Keeping your eye focused and drawn to the page, complimenting the dialogue perfectly.   My favorite panel in the book goes to Deathstroke, head tilted, pistol locked and loaded, looking as bad ass as ever. Lower third, over a simple white background. Allowing the character to pop from the page.

Do not forget to pick up Francesco Mattina’s variant cover.  This cover will leave your mouth watering like a 24 oz. Japanese wagyu ribeye.  Deathstroke front and center, the bat-signal shining bright, drenched in blood, wielding a pistol and a sword. All while perched on an angel. This is a magnificent and must own cover.

If you have been reading this story then you already know how good it is. If you are not, I have no clue what you are waiting for.  Batman as a character has been on a roll since Rebirth.  Sean G. Murphy, Tom King and James Tynion’s runs all have been stellar to say the least.  You now have to throw what Priest is doing in the conversation.  Priest gets Batman, his motives and his cast of characters so well that pairing him with Deathstroke is a real pleasure.  Seeing Batman go up against and team up with his equal in this story is what makes the comic book medium great.  Be sure to go pick up this title from your local comic shop Wednesday.

“Batman vs. Deathstroke, Part 4” goes on sale on July 4th just in time for some hotdog, holiday beach reading.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter, until then BOFers!

GRADE: A+

PS: Happy 20th to Bill and BOF. Keep banging the drum; bang it until they hear you in Burbank!

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Peter Verra
A lover of genre films from BATMAN to FRIDAY THE 13th. A producer of college sports at the world’s most famous arena, MSG. A fool for watching that SCOOBY DOO teaser trailer from 2002 and praying Batman is the one who turns around every time. Backyard BBQ enthusiast & sports fan Yankees, Pacers, Devils, who ever plays the NJ Giants!