Christopher Priest, writer
Fernando Pasarin & Carlo Pagulayan, pencils
Cam Smith, inks
Jeremy Cox, colors
Willie Schubert, letters
This issue begins: Slade Wilson is alive! He confronts the group he thinks was responsible for taking away his technology, but they refuse. He leaves to locate his son who was given the technology. The issue does some foreshadowing. Slade and another man, Dabney, meet and discuss recent events. Dabney asks, “I thought you were dead.” Slade explains that when Raptu (issue #44) iinfected him with leprosy, it elevated his immune system causing him to recover quicker from the arrow he took to his head. Meanwhile, Slade’s son, Jericho, meets with Lex Luthor who demands he return the power enhancing tech Luthor gave him. Jericho refuses. Luthor agrees, but leaves him to defend himself against Slade Wilson who wants the technology back. The issue ends with a brutal encounter where Slade confronts his daughter Rose in his pursuit of Jericho.
This is a fast-paced and gripping issue. The death of a villain in comics is hard to pull off. Even more difficult is explaining how they were never permanently dead. Even though we all saw this coming, the explanation has to make sense. I like that the writer chose to identify Deathstroke’s healing factor being elevated as to why he didn’t stay dead. At least it makes sense.
The central conflict in the story is between Slade Wilson and his son Jericho. It’s a common occurrence for villains to have conflicting relationships with their children. The presence of evil in a family system causes problems. What makes this interesting is Slade’s willingness to do anything to find answers as to how to get his technology back – as if he cares more about being Deathstroke than his own children. See the fight at the end of the issue as evidence. What will be even more interesting is to what extent Jericho is willing to hand over the power-enhancing technology that Slade desperately wants. Like father like son is my guess.
The art in this issue is solid. Specifically, the coloring makes the pencil work come to life. The highlight for me is a full panel spread that depicts Deathstroke bathed in flames and pulling a sword out of an object. The context is a Nova Scotia snow-covered landscape. The yellow and red flames and their reflection off the snowy mountainside is a nice contrast.
Overall = 9/10
This issue builds on the suspense of this story arc by giving the reader an explanation for Slade Wilson’s return from the dead and setting up a conflict with his son Jericho. The tie in to the Year of the Villain makes more sense in this issue then in other books due to Lex Luthor’s meeting with Jericho. It appears that Deathstroke could have a larger part to play in Luthor’s overall plans. I encourage fans of Deathstroke to jump on this book.