Deathstroke #24 continues the arc developing back from the Lazarus Contract crossover of Slade Wilson turning a new leaf and becoming a force for good.. or is he?
So what’s this about?
The official summary reads:
“DEFIANCE” part three! As Kid Flash gets to know his new teammates, he soon discovers that Defiance is a team built on secrets and lies…but Kid Flash might be keeping the biggest secret of all! Meanwhile, a dangerous new threat emerges from the Far East and threatens to destroy Defiance before they even begin!
Why does this issue matter?
Deathstroke has been a major villain for the Teen Titans since his introduction back in The New Teen Titans #2 in 1980 but him becoming a good guy is something that shifts the character’s status quo. Continuing the thread of having the New 52 Wally West not knowing fully where he belongs is a thread that has been present since his introduction and continues here with him not fully trusting his teammates on Defiance and the team finding out he’s been spying on them all. With the other Wally currently out of action, the current Kid Flash is the only other member of the Flash family present, a group of characters with historical grudges with Deathstroke. Setting up the next conflict for Defiance is a way paved forward by Wally and his dealings with Slade.
So, what’s good about Deathstroke #24?
As usual, with Christopher Priest on writing duty, Deathstroke continues to be one of the best series currently going; the intrigue of Deathstroke’s plans for Defiance behind the scenes and the dynamics of the team are wonderful driving points for the plot. Priest also brings in the brand new villains of The Forgotten and his group the White Lotus to set up the next arc of the run. His development of Wally’s reasoning to join a team led by the world’s deadliest assassin is interesting and builds Wally into more of a character who has more reasons to join Deathstroke than being kicked from the Teen Titans.
Deathstroke’s methods of teaching lessons to his team and helping to develop them into a team are perfectly in character for a character who has previously done acts such as put a hit on his daughter so he had a reason to spend time with her. The dynamics of the team shown through their treatment of each other (both through Wally’s spying notes on each of them and their reactions towards what is being revealed) builds up the tension that everybody within the team has their own agenda for being there and if not for Deathstroke being the main focus of their agendas most of them would never be in contact with each other or be fighting. Priest is expertly continuing to build a universe around a character that previously wasn’t too expansive outside of a small side cast.
The pencils by Diogenes Neves perfectly match the tone of the book and present a well set landscape of locations and characters within the book, particularly a sequence where Wally is leaping from an elevated train track to nearby rooftops and his subsequent sprint across them towards the sniper who is threatening innocent people below.
Can Deathstroke do anything wrong?
Parts of the team dynamics feel as if they would fit at home on a television show that has plenty of character drama. Some of the facial expressions on some characters, particularly Wally and sometimes Power Girl, look odd at times with eyes occasionally looking to opposite sides and mouths that are in weird positions.