Deathstroke has been brought to the Society for questioning regarding his villain status. But what really is evil?
Deathstroke #25 deals with the fallout of a conflict that occurred in issue 16 where Deathstroke prevented a hit by another assassin and ended up cutting off his hand.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“The Society”! After betraying another assassin and violating an unwritten code of conduct, Deathstroke is kidnapped and brought to stand trial before the Secret Society of Super Villains! Will Deathstroke pay for his crime? And what of Slade Wilson’s recent turn toward heroism? Don’t miss this special bonus-size landmark issue guest-starring The Riddler, Black Manta, Reverse-Flash and more!
What’s the story?
This issue’s most prevalent theme is the reality of evil and whether or not Deathstroke fits the category of evil. The chair body of the Society for Villains – consisting of Vandal Savage, Reverse Flash, Black Manta, Ultra-Humanite, Killer Frost and Hector Hammond- presides over a case where Deadline, the accuser, and his character witness Raptor accuse Deathstroke of renouncing evil while the Riddler attends as Deathstroke’s defense.
The committee of the Society have a problem with villains becoming heroes (or anti-heroes), citing examples like Killer Frost, Deathstroke, as well as Lex Luthor. Riddler’s argument throughout the issue is that Deathstroke is still evil and he makes this case emphatically by giving a psychic example of Deathstroke breaking his restraints and killing everybody within the room. However, the Riddler also contends that evil is not something a person’s born with and is a trait that’s in fact developed. Priest cleverly uses this argument to reshow Deathstroke’s backstory for people who recently started picking up the series.
Priest’s characterization is top-notch: Riddler is written to be as smart and cerebral as always (besides some exceptions such as his appearance at the end of New 52 Flash, though that’s another story and complaint for another day); Raptor is written as only being there because he was still slightly annoyed at Deathstroke over their previous encounter; Vandal Savage is as regal and sinister as always and the rest have the right personalities in their minimal speaking roles.
And the art?
The art throughout the issue looks amazing as always. This time it’s pencilled by Carlo Pagulayan who manages to capture the look of the characters perfectly. He also pencils so well that there isn’t an easy distinction between his pencils and the previous ones by Diogenes Nieves as they blend together really well. If this issue was being read in trade format you’d be hard pressed to tell whether the artist had changed at all throughout the arc. The entire series maintains a consistent look that is adopted by all the artists that really makes the series flow smoothly.