Arkham Forever? Deathstroke #36 Reviewed

by Josh Davison

Deathstroke has been thrown into Arkham Asylum, betrayed by Wintergreen with his ex-wife Adeline. Slade still sees Wintergreen’s hologram and hears the AI in his head, but Arkham’s scans showed that there is no implant in Slade’s head. Worse yet, Slade is being put into virtual reality counseling sessions with other inmates like Hugo Strange, Victor Zsasz, and Mister Freeze. Meanwhile, Rose is still having episodes as Willow and fighting the Lotus Gang.

Deathstroke #36 cover by Tyler Kirkham and Arif Prianto
Deathstroke #36 cover by Tyler Kirkham and Arif Prianto

Deathstroke #36 brings us back to Slade’s present, which was a little jarring after the time displacement of “Deathstroke vs. Batman.” Thankfully, the comic does a lot of legwork to make sure you remember where we were before Slade started tangling with the Dark Knight.

Slade is at a surprisingly vulnerable place in this issue, as the Wintergreen situation leaves him questioning his own sanity. That puts him in a scenario where he is not inherently in control.

Also, one character says “Wakanda Forever.” You can take the Christopher Priest out of the Black Panther and all that.

There’s a transgender joke at one point. I’m not sure if it counts as at the expense of transgender folk. It wasn’t an especially funny joke at either way.

All that aside, it was a really interesting and compelling issue, as I’ve come to expect of Christopher Priest on Deathstroke.

Deathstroke #36 art by Ed Benes, Fernando Pasarin, Richard Friend, Wade von Grawbadger, Jason Paz, and Jeromy Cox
Deathstroke #36 art by Ed Benes, Fernando Pasarin, Richard Friend, Wade von Grawbadger, Jason Paz, and Jeromy Cox

Ed Benes and Fernando Pasarin tag-team this installment, and both contribute excellent work. It’s highly detailed, expressive, and even unnerving at times. Plus, it conveys the subtle expressions and emotionality of Slade well. Richard Friend, Jason Paz, and Wade von Grawbadger ink the book, and their contributions keep the visuals neat and well-defined. Jeromy Cox’s color work is a nice balance of lights and darks that vary from scene-to-scene, bouncing between oppressive and ominous.

Deathstroke #36 is another great issue from the by-now incredible Christopher Priest run on the title. The book continues to be smart, well-paced, and engrossing. It reads and progresses in a manner different than any other comic on the market and is definitely worth a read. This one comes recommended.

This one comes to us from writer Christopher Priest, artists Ed Benes and Fernando Pasarin, inkers Richard Friend, Jason Paz, and Wade von Grawbadger, color artist Jeromy Cox, letter Willie Schubert, cover artists Tyler Kirkham with Arif Prianto, and variant cover artist Francesco Mattina.

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