Slade continues his inside look at the mental health system in the United States in the newest installment of "Arkham Asylum." There are three distinct storylines to follow at this point in the story.
The first is Slade's battle to prove he isn't crazy. With the doctor doubting but indulging his belief that he escaped with Dev via zeta beam to fight a two-week war against soon-to-be invading aliens, Slade desperately seeks proof while being laid low by numerous inhibiting drugs. The doctor continues to disavow the existence of Dev but she may hold many more secrets given the nature of the final page of this issue.
The second line involves Rose's "fiance" and Deathstroke's tech guru Hosun and his encounter with Dev in real life. With Dev seemingly corroborating Deathstroke's tale of intergalactic war (while doing a pretty spot-on Deadpool impression), the picture of Slade's mental stability comes slightly more into focus.
The final narrative arc could actually be split into two, revolving around the relationship between Slade and his two surviving children, Rose and Joshua. Rose has been kidnapped by Two-Face, who is inexplicably free from Arkham, in an attempt to help Slade realize his full potential freed from his patriarchal care for his children. With Rose's recent personality split (Willow), Two-Face is naturally drawn to her duplicity. In the process of the kidnap attempt, Dent seemingly killed Joshua, although it is revealed that he shot Jericho with a gun loaded with a form of blanks, leaving Jericho and Wintergreen to stage a prison break as we careen towards a final confrontation between Slade and Dent.
Finally, three issues into this arc and the chaos is slowly coming into focus. While a number of burning questions remain, the thematic of duality as it relates to the consciousness and mental health is at the forefront of this issue, highlighted by the entry of Two-Face, but running much deeper than that. We see splits everywhere we look in this issue, from the obvious such as Deathstroke the Assassin/Deathstroke the Father to the more obscure such as mental health/perception of mental health.
Priest proves once again that he is not afraid to tackle uncomfortable topic, a welcome abandon that has become a hallmark of this series. The art is crisp and clean throughout, never more remarkable than in a splash page of Two-Face standing in a Cambodian field, arms stretched, delivered with astonishing detail.
Deathstroke: Arkham Asylum started at a slow burn but accelerates into a full-blown blaze with this third installment.
Deathstroke #38: Two Birds in the Bush, None in the Hand
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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