Damian and Slade spend some quality bonding time together in the latest episode of the Jerry Springer: DC Paternity Edition!
DEATHSTROKE (2016) #33 “Deathstroke vs. Batman Part 4 of 6: The Good Son”
Artist: Ed Benes
Inks: Richard Friend
Cover Artist: Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, & Brad Anderson; variant by Francesco Mattina
Colorist: Dinei Ribeiro
Letters: Willie Schubert
Publisher: DC COMICS
What You Need to Know:
Evidence continues to mount on the side of Slade being Damian’s true father, as even Tim Drake (still believed dead in this issue) seems to believe the rumor that Bruce is not the father. With the FISA investigation underway, Bruce finds himself financially hamstrung in his attempts to stop Slade from working until there is clear resolution in the year’s most intriguing paternity case.
What You’ll Find Out:
Following the unveiling of the video-blog left for Damian by Tim Drake, Damian supplicates himself to Slade in an obvious scheme to get close to his “father” in order to learn the truth of who is playing Deathstroke against Batman. In the midst of a basic protection mission of a former Spyral agent, Nightshade arrives in search of a biological weapon, forcing Damian and Slade to execute an impromptu mission with little to no coordination. Not surprisingly, the pair function quite well together, and the weapon is secured. Somewhere along the way, however, the scales fall from Slade’s eyes and he views the puzzle at hand with clarity, setting up the two-part conclusion and preparing for the reveal of who is behind the mystery of Damian’s parentage.
What Just Happened?
Carlo Pagulayan provided pencils for the first three issues of this arc, so it was surprising to see Ed Benes arrive with the fourth installment. Let me be clear: I have been loving Carlo’s work. Let me also be clear: I also love Ed Benes’ work. While this issue featured a lack of some of the narrative conventions Carlo has woven into the arc, such as the mirroring of Robin and Jericho’s discussions of their fathers’ natures, Benes absolutely shone in this issue.
Among many other moments, the above title page was absolutely stunning. The synergy between Benes’ pencils, Friend’s inks, and Ribeiro’s colors on this page are striking. The page featured below carries the same remarkability, but in particular, the final panel, Slade’s face in response to Damian’s demeanor and character, which strikes exceptionally close to home, illustrates the depth of detail that has gone into crafting this arc.
In terms of writing, this issue shines in its portrayal of the strained relationship between “father” and “son”, neither truly believing that the tests bear any sort of truth, and both painfully aware that the other is merely playing a role in a larger scheme. While this issue does not feature any new news regarding Batman’s actions or the FISA investigation, it stands as a beautiful character study into the psyches of Slade and Damian.
Final Thought: The recall of Operation Gibraltar as the source of the name for the bioweapon featured in this tale felt a little too off-hand yet deliberate at the same time. Perhaps it is a clue to the mystery? It would seem like anything involving Vietnam could be pointing towards Rose making an appearance soon, as she is the only one of Slade’s children who has not had some impact on the story thus far.
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