Deathstroke #25 Review
Written by Christopher Priest
Pencils by Carlos Pagulayan
Inks by Norm Rapmund, Jason Paz, and Trevor Scott
Colors by Jeromy Cox
Cover by Ryan Sook
Deathstroke has received several summons from the Secret Society, but has ignored all of them due to his recent decision not to be a villain anymore. After too many unanswered calls, the Society finally captured Deathstroke.
Four the over-sized 25th issue of this series we take a break from the regularly scheduled Defiance arc and instead we have a trial held by the Secret Society. Deathstroke wakes up from a dream about his childhood in undisclosed Secret Society headquarters. The Riddler wakes him up and informs Slade that they have poisoned Deathstroke just enough to slow his healing factor and are draining his suit’s power so that he can’t escape. Vandal Savage serves as the judge of the court, and even gavels them all into session. A hitman known as Deadline has called for this trial because Deathstroke came for his hit, stole his rifle and blew off his hand. The Secret Society seem to care little about Deadline, however, and have decided to use this trial for their own reasons.
Vandal Savage informs Deathstroke that the accusation brought against him is that he has renounced evil, and The Riddler is to be Slade’s defense attorney. Despite Deadline’s exasperation, this causes a philosophical discussion among the society, questioning how evil is evil, are they truly trying to be evil or something more, or do they even see themselves as evil? The Riddler begins telling the story of Slade’s life, and we flash back with the story to see the childhood that created Deathstroke, as well as his grand mistakes such as the attack that cost Jericho his voice. As The Riddler talks, Deathstroke’s Ikon suit manages to tap into some reserve power and he breaks free. He immediately attacks his captors, incapacitating and killing most of the Secret Society. Right when he thinks he’s free, Deathstroke comes to once again in the Society HQ to find that the escape attempt was a psychic illusion created by Hector Hammond. The Riddler insists that the illusion verified Deathstroke’s violent tendencies, and rests his case.
After some more philosophical conversation and complaining from Deadline, they group are interrupted as a giant creature that looks like Solomon Grundy wearing Deathstroke’s classic costume comes crashing in through the ceiling! He grabs Deathstroke and jumps away, warning anyone not to follow him.
Thoughts on the issue: A trial held by a group of sinister villains sounds like something procedural, dark, and monotonous. The fact that this issue is instead fractured, funny and suddenly violent is what makes it work so well. What we really have here is a courtroom farce, complete with overly theatrical characters, none of whom agree with each other on anything. Two trials are going on at once, and neither the judge nor the defence seem to care at all about the outcome. Deadline does what he does best: provide a punchline, and the philosophical conversation is legitimately interesting and thoughtful. In a series that has felt incredibly sequential, this is a nice solo issue that really stands out.
One last thing: This “Extra-sized anniversary issue” has 8 more pages than a normal issue. That barely counts.
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