At the end of the Lazarus Contract arc, Deathstroke threw off his mask and loudly yelled that he was quitting. But what does this mean? Is Slade retiring? Quitting everything? Riding off into the sunset? Dying? In the world of Deathstroke, that could mean nearly anything.
By the way, we still don’t know who killed Etienne, what happened with the Wilson family after Jericho went ballistic, or who donated a cornea to Slade. In case you couldn’t tell, the narrative jump between the last arc and the Lazarus Contract has been aggravating me. As such, Deathstroke isn’t allowed to quit now until I get some answers. Christopher Priest, don’t you dare leave me hanging, bro!
Fortunately for my sanity, it doesn’t appear that Deathstroke is leaving us all quite yet. Leaving the assassin gig? Absolutely. But he has other plans for his retirement, and they aren’t what I expected.
Slade wanted to make amends and atone for his life by stopping Grant from joining the HIVE and preventing his death. Instead of trying to reconnect with his living son and daughter, he wants to save the prodigal son. After realizing he could not, he’s trying to redeem his life in another way.
He attempts to smooth bridges with Jericho, although there is still zero discussion about Etienne. Jericho is tortured by what he did to Rose, even though it was an accident. I knew Rose was punched hard enough to knock her out, but I did not know just how badly that blow was. She seems fine on the outside, even though she’s married to a guy she doesn’t love just to keep her father from killing him, but she’s not fine. She’s wearing a wig to hide how awful her head scars are. Apparently the surgeons had to literally peel open her head to piece her skull back together.
Slade even attempts to apologize to Power Girl. I had completely forgotten that he killed her dog in front of her to show her all the ways he could hurt her, to prove she’s weak. He brings her a new puppy as a peace offering and says he wants to teach her how to use her powers to the fullest.
At the end of the issue, Slade stands before his first batch of…students. He’s quitting being an assassin to become a teacher. What I find the funniest about this is that I’ve recently taken up rewatching the original Teen Titans TV show. In the show, he takes on Terra as a student and attempts to coerce Robin as a student as well. I guess Slade was always meant to be a teacher.
His first class includes Rose, Jericho, Power Girl, and a woman I don’t recognize. Wintergreen is also present, most likely as an assistant.
The woman I don’t recognize could be Adeline, Slade’s ex-wife, although I don’t think so for three reasons:
- She doesn’t have that white streak at the wedding.
- She hates Rose.
- She hates Slade.
Teasers for Deathstroke issues #21 and #22 suggest that Kid Flash, Terra, and Aqualad will all join as well. Kid Flash was recently fired, and Aqualad probably joins to follow after Kid Flash and because he’s tired of the way Robin treats him.
Question is, will the Deathstroke comic continue or will it end for a new series with this team?
There’s also the question of what Ikon is up to, now that he’s alive and kind of, um, Hulked out. He’s also quoting quite a bit of Scripture (Slade does too through this issue. It’s a bit unsettling.) and vowing to atone for his sins. Not entirely sure what he’s considering a sin, whether it’s his homosexuality, his partnership with Slade, or his threats to Joey. Perhaps it’s all three. I really hope it’s not because of his sexual orientation, because that opens up a whole messy can of worms with religion. Although, he claims to be Catholic so maybe not? It’s all incredibly hard to tell with this comic. I just want to know who killed Etienne and why. Is that too much to ask?
Our Rating: Yep
Author: Christopher Priest
Artists: Larry Hama, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Sean Parsons, and Jeromy Cox
Publisher: DC Comics
Publish Date: 06/07/2017
Acquired via Purchase