DEATHSTROKE #39 Review by Pete Verra

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SYNOPSIS: Slade is back in Arkham after his Zeta Beam jaunt to the planet Pulor…but did he ever actually leave? Is the alien invasion just a delusion? And who is this faux Deathstroke running around? A deep dive into Slade’s psyche, just in time to watch him lose his mind!

Tip of the cap to Priest, he has really crafted an unpredictable and interesting tale.

“Deathstroke: Arkham” consistently keeps you guessing throughout the issue.  Juggling DC comics most dysfunctional family, with a touch of sci-fi, a sprinkle of Prison Break and just the right amount of humor. Priest is cooking up something wildly entertaining.  This isn’t what I was expecting from “Deathstroke: Arkham” and I couldn’t be happier.  This is a damn good comic book!

The Slade family is beyond interesting and Preist is having a ball weaving us through threads.  The best parts about these threads are that they all are coming together.  We finally get some answers about the “beam from the sky” at the end of Deathstroke #36.  Slade, Joseph, and Rose have arcs that are meshing perfectly together.  All centered on getting Deathstroke out of Arkham and saving Rose.  Every time we get a chance to see Deathstroke’s rehabilitation my jaw drops. Factor in Dr. Hugo Strange and my excitement dials-up tenfold.  This is the Strange I wanted to see in Gotham.  He’s not creating monsters he’s toying and exploring the mind, playing tricks with your thoughts.

I would flip thought the pages of issue #39 and say to myself, “Where is this going?” often. Just keep flipping those pages you will find your answers.  Priest does a fantastic job of taking the reader on the journey.  When you have a question it is answered, when the story gets dark and deep Priest brings in Desthmasque with a joke at the perfect time. That’s the thing I appreciate the most about Priest’s story telling is his timing. He knows when to guide the reader through the chronicles of the Slade family, truly outstanding.

The artistic team did an outstanding job on this issue. Carlo Pagulayan and Fernando Pasarin share the pencil duties. The trifecta of Jason Paz, Jordi Tarragona and Wade von Grawbadger provide the inking while Jeremy Cox and Deron Bennett handle colors and letters respectively. The splash pages are something to behold, the battle royal to open the book grabs your attention instantly.  Deathmasque riding public transportation is hysterical (I thought I saw it all riding NJ Transit to work everyday, lol).  The fight between Slade and Zsasz might be the most interesting part of the book as a whole.  Not only is it written well but the illustrations and panel choices are so fluid it makes for an effortless reading experience.

“Deathstroke: Arkham” is turning out to be one hell of a wild ride.  Priest keeps you off balance but invested in this dysfunctional family of assassins.  This has to be the beast Deathstroke has been written since Wolfman.  This run since Rebirth has been nothing short of entertaining from taking on both Titan teams, Batman and now Hugo Strange from inside Arkham Asylum it just doesn’t get any better than this for a comic book fan. All this is going down while Desthmasque is quietly stealing every panel that he is in, what a wonderful parody character. This book is straight up comic book fun and should be on your pull list Wednesday you won’t want to miss it! – Pete Verra

GRADE: B+

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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!