Deathstroke #24 Review
Written by Christopher Priest
Pencils by Diogenes Neves
Inks by Jason Paz and Trevor Scott
Colors by Jeromy Cox
Cover by Ryan Sook
Deathstroke has turned a new leaf and, with the held of his ex-wife Adeline and his old partner Wintergreen, is running/training the superhero team Defiance, comprised of Kid Flash, Terra, Power Girl, and his children, Rose and Jericho.
The fourth issue of the Defiance arc centers around Kid Flash, the most uncertain member of the team. After the obligatory check-in with the mysterious Willow, who’s hunting for someone and chanting the name “Claire,” we see Kid Flash in the field with Power Girl. A sniper is firing at a crowd of civilians, and only he is fast enough to do anything. Kid Flash gives a play-by-play description of his thought process, but before we see how it works out, we jump forward in time to see that Wally is telling this story to the rest of his team in a debriefing session led by Deathstroke, and a new voiceover starts, but this one is also the voice of Kid Flash. Deathstroke has found the personal recorded that keeps his audio diary, and decides to play it for the rest of the team.
The voice recorder takes us through Wally’s impressions of all of his teammates. We see that he and Tanya have a rapport, and that she’s probably the only one he really feels comfortable around. Wally gets his impression of Jericho when the two go shopping together, only to find out that Jericho is gay when uses bails on Wally to talk to a man he met there. Rose and Terra share a scene, as the two scream at each other while Wally listens from the other side of the door before trying to intervene, with predictably ineffective results. Things get interesting when he starts following Deathstroke, spying on him to see if he’s serious about changing his ways. Wally sits under a dinner table as Deathstroke meets with a professional killer known as The Forgotten. This man is the son of The Grocer, and wants assistance with the legendary warrior princess that is fabled to come after him as well. He has heard that The Society has sent for Deathstroke, and suggests that the two of them can help each other. Much to Wally’s surprise, Deathstroke outright refuses, telling The Forgotten that he has in fact put down his sword. Deathstroke asks Wally to come out from beneath the table. He immediately forgives the boy, knowing how hypocritical it would be to condemn someone for spying. He explains the Wally the history of The White Lotus, the crime syndicate that The Forgotten is part of and Slade used to freelance for.
Back at Defiance HQ, Wintergreen get Wally back on track, asking him about the sniper from the beginning of the issue. Wally wraps up the story, telling his team that he failed, and it would have been tragic if it had been a real sniper, but it was just another one of Slade’s tests, with a gun full of blanks. As the team disbands, a sudden explosion causes Deathstroke to vanish with only a notecard left behind with a question mark on it. Slade comes to, surrounded by the familiar faces of The Society.
Thoughts on the issue: This was the issue the Defiance arc needed to get me on board with the new team. Focusing on one of the new members, we really got to see the new team dynamic, as well get to know them better while off-duty. The more we care about the home lives of these heroes, the more the stakes will feel real to us when the dangerous super-heroing is going on. The issue forgoes a villain plot to focus on character development, creating a fun book that hearkens back to the title that Deathstroke premiered in: Teen Titans. The lineup of The Society at the end definitely raises questions, especially with Ultra-Humanite on Earth 2 and Killer Frost on the JLA, but the next issue will have a chance to address them before we condemn anything.
One last thing:Terra implied that her and Slade’s controversial relationship from The Judas Contract is still canon, which is definitely surprising to see.