Kill and Kill Again
Written by: Priest
Art by: Diogenes Neves, Trevor Scott, Jeromy Cox and Deron Bennett
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 7, 2018
Last week's Annual certainly lead up to a crazy cliffhanger that had me excited about this issue. Karen Starr Power Girl is almost back...or she and Tanya are going to be lost forever! While I think one of those may make a hero's choice to let the other survive, that's up to Priest and not me. What's also up to Priest is whether the Defiance Squad is officially disbanded and if Slade continues falling off the killing wagon. So, does this week's issue answer any of my questions? Let's find out...
The issue opens with a little history of a certain Hmong sword...and it's not all past history! It's just another clever piece in the Priest Deathstroke puzzle. From there, we see that Deathstroke is back to his old ways and it really seems that the last straw was Tanya's "suicide".
After a couple bits of flashback catchup, we see that Jericho is still trying to figure out who killed Etienne. That's good because so am I! We move quickly from there to see that Wintergreen is retiring...the old Wintergreen, not the younger A.I. that I'm starting to think maybe more in Slade's head than I once thought. Speaking of things going on in people's heads, we find out that Willow is indeed Rose whether she was aware of it or not and that she and Isherwood are hanging out together. It's a pretty big confirmation of the reveal a couple of issues ago, but Priest doesn't let it sink in for long as we are whisked away to the next scene once again.
The next scene involves Kong Kenan (from the awesome New Super-Man book) and while it's cool to get him in this issue, Priest writes him a bit different than Gene Yang. It's not totally off, but enough to a regular reader of that Book to question when and why this is going down here.
Back with Rose, we get a couple of explanations to what may have caused her to assume the identity of an ancient Hmong Princess, but it all leads back to the biggest mystery this book has had...Etienne's murder! However, we don't get any more of that, but instead, end with a cliffhanger that continues showing Slade is a dick...a dick in a whole lot of trouble!
This was a pretty important issue of Deathstroke...maybe. We might have found out who killed Etienne, but who is really to blame? Plus, it really felt like a red herring. We get confirmation that Slade is back in business, but what happens when/if Tanya comes back? Priest continues to answer questions with riddles, throw scenes together and quickly swipe away from something important to something seemingly not, and refuses to hold the reader's hand whatsoever. He really is playing the Devil's Hand here, but when it works it works...and it works in this issue. Plus, Diogenes Neves' art looks fantastic!
Bits and Pieces:
Deathstroke is one of the best books DC is putting out these days, but the entry fee is steep and there really is no jumping on point past issue #1. If you've been reading, this issue will surely get you excited as a bunch of storylines converge on Slade and company and while I'm sad the Defiance Team is done, this issue gets us back to what I loved about the series before it.