[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Devon (now calling himself Death Masque) explains the war he, Slade, and many of the rogues of Earth waged against the aliens known as the Pulorians. His unwilling audience is Hosun, who is very suspicious of Devon’s story. Meanwhile, Deathstroke is still at Arkham and is at the mercy of Hugo Strange and Two-Face, who have “fed” Candace Evans, Slade’s councilor, to Mr. Zsasz. Meanwhile, Rose is still in Vietnam with…Two-Face?
Deathstroke #39 is a trip of an issue, and it’s easily the most confusing installment of the series in some time. This seems to be by design, hence the two Two-Face’s. Hugo is messing with Slade’s head, and Professor Strange may not even be the top of the totem pole given how expansive the plot seems to be.
Despite this, Devon/Death Masque manages to steal the show of the issue. It seems that, in addition to introducing his own Black Panther to the Slade Wilson canon, Christopher Priest has brought in a Deadpool. Devon is hyperactive, off-beat, and makes meta references in abundance (he calls Slade Manganiello at one point, after the DCEU Deathstroke actor). Personally, I’m not a fan of Deadpool, so I find Death Masque a little off-putting. That said, he hasn’t annoyed me particularly badly yet.
There does seem to be some bread crumbs that lead to what’s really going on, so Deathstroke #39 definitely gets some credits there. Many mystery tales are bad at giving the reader a trail follow.
Fernando Pasarin and Carlo Pagulayan are a powerful pair of artists, and both put in top-notch work in this issue. The detailing and action scenes in particular are spectacular. Jason Paz, Jordi Tarragona, and Wade von Grawbadger put good work into the inks. Jeromy Cox keeps the colors vibrant and impactful.
Deathstroke #39 frustrates somewhat with its deliberate obfuscation, but it does provide an interesting mystery that challenges the traditional stoicness of Slade Wilson. Mix that with some excellent artwork, and you have a book worth recommending. Feel free to check it out.
Deathstroke #39 comes to us from writer Christopher Priest, artists Fernando Pasarin and Carlo Pagulayan, inkers Jason Paz, Jordi Tarragona, and Wade von Grawbadger, color artist Jeromy Cox, letterer Deron Bennett, cover artist Tyler Kirkham with Tomeu Morey, and variant cover artist Francesco Mattina.
[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]