This issue picks up right where we left off before the "Deathstroke vs. Batman" arc, with Slade Wilson being committed to Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. Deathstroke is still seeing an AI version of his friend and partner, Wintergreen, due to an implant placed in his head by Dr. Ikon. Except Ikon claims he never actually put the implant in! Is Deathstroke really going insane, or is there a deeper plot at work? As Slade begins his treatment at Arkham, he meets a fellow inmate named Space Man who believes he is frequently abducted and experimented on by aliens over the past 87 years. Later, the two run into each other as Deathstroke attempts to prove that his AI couldn't possibly have given him updated schematics needed to escape Arkham. The schematics prove successful, however, and Slade and Space Man emerge outside the asylum only to be seemingly abducted by aliens!
As the first issue of a new arc that picks up after a six-month interruption, this issue is somewhat hampered by the inevitable need to recap previous events. Because of that fact, this first issue reads at a much slower, more organized pace than previous entries in the run by Priest and company. That said, however, it is still a strong issue in and of itself, but in ways we haven’t really seen so much of from Priest thus far. In bringing Space Man to the forefront of the arc, Priest manages to inject an unfamiliar but welcome element of humor, even hearkening back to Priest’s days as the Black Panther writer.
Thanks to the group sessions taking place inside of a virtual reality world, Benes and Pasarin are given free reign to make this book as beautiful and dynamic as they wish. It takes only one page, opening on an exceptionally gorgeous splash page, to let the reader know that they are in for a treat.
There are a number of mysteries in operation at once. Is Deathstroke crazy? Who will he become friends within this arc? What is Jericho’s role in either trapping, rehabilitating, or rescuing his father? And of course, as we left off with the “Chinatown” arc, what is happening to Rose Wilson? Is Willow a possession or a psychic break? There are a few obvious clues in this issue, but I anticipate a very busy second issue now that the recap is out of the way.
An interesting and exciting start to a new story arc, Deathstroke #36 is a book worth picking up. If you haven't been reading Priest's Deathstroke already (shame on you!), this issue marks a pretty solid starting point for new readers.
Deathstroke #36: I’m Not Crazy… You’re Crazy!
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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