Slade finds himself in the clutches of Hugo Strange who has seemingly taken over Arkham and everybody in it... except for Slade! Strange's attempts to "cure" Slade of his human disassociation goes sideways, however, as friends and family alike converge to help Deathstroke break out to... stop an impending alien invasion? Nothing is what it seems in the most recent chapter of Deathstroke: Arkham.
This arc defies review in a number of ways. Priest clearly is writing with intent here although the narrative is discordant and scattered. The heavy reliance on the notion of “what is real?” plays out in a number of interesting ways, from Rose’s current “possession” to Joseph’s possession powers and carrying through to the central notion that an “alien armada” is on its way to Earth and only Deathstroke and Devon seem capable of remembering it or stopping it. Priest goes so far as to enter a metacommentary on the nature of comics narrative by having Devon, either the most insane or the most sane character in the arc, point to the fact that this is a “completely original plot device”.
The art team on this book might have reached a new height of convolution, as it becomes near impossible to parse who is responsible for what panels at this point (two pencilers and three inkers) but still manages to avoid being a jarring shift from various teams.
The reversal here of the “Wolf Who Cried Boy” lends nicely to the idea of an unsettling status quo and plays to the long-running themes of Slade’s internal moral compass that have been a hallmark of the series thus far.
Only one issue to go in order to determine the level of complexity and the overall execution of Deathstroke: Arkham. As it stands in this issue, the final verdict could go either way but I'll continue to put my faith in Priest as one of the industry's top talents.
Deathstroke #39: It was the Worst of Times…
Writing - 9/10
Storyline - 8/10
Art - 8.5/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 8.5/10
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