Writer: Christopher Priest / Artist: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz / DC Comics
Priest comes off pretty heavy this issue. We open up with Clock King holding Red Lion captive and Slade racing against the clock to save Wintergreen, and then come back and save Red Lion. There are inception levels of double crossing happening this issue, and Priest uses Clock King as an excuse to delve back into Slade’s past. This issue focuses more on Wintergreen’s relation with Slade Wilson and his family as an outsider; we see the dysfunctional family life that Joey and Grant grew up in, as well as learn more about their mother Adeline. There are numerous intersecting stories taking place and it almost feels like walking into a spider web in a doorway and you’re waving your arms around trying to get clear.
However, towards the end of the book things start to shape up and come together. Deathstroke is a book you have to go back and re-read in order to catch everything; this isn’t a one-and-done type of book. It’s great to see Wintergreen and Slade’s interactions as well, which give us insight into their friendship/arrangement. The art was really good on Pagulayan and Paz’s part as we see them interweave between the past and present with these characters. These artists really make the features drastically different to the point where it almost looks as if we couldn’t even recognize the people that Wintergreen and Slade become.
Priest isn’t just having Deathstroke merkin’ folks out — we seem him being methodical and playing the long game of double-crossing people but managing to stay true to his word upon being hired, yet managing to screw over those who hire him if need be. I’m not too big on the white savior trope of coming to a (of course) war-torn predominately Black country overseas to save the day, but it’s unusual in itself to see Slade saving folks (amongst putting them down permanently).