Deathstroke #43

Christopher Priest, writer
Carlo Pagulayan & Norm Rapmund, Inks
Jeromy Cox, colors
Willie Schubert, letters

Previously in The Terminus Agenda story, The Teen Titans remove a bomb from a nearby hospital parking lot. In so doing, The Teen Titans face the consequences of interrupting the plan promoted by Bradley Glenn, a new protagonist. Meanwhile, Deathstroke has escaped Damian’s cell and lectures him on the weaknesses he sees in Damian’s strategies and in all of his team members. This issue propels the story forward. Damian fights Deathstroke after learning that his security system at his secret underground prison was compromised. Deathstroke confronts Damian for lacking the conviction to follow through on his plan. The other members question the ethics of Damian’s plan: to falsely arrest and confine criminals in a secret underground prison and inject them with an enzyme that becomes toxic if they escape. As shocking as Damian’s unethical plan might sound, it’s nowhere near as shocking as the final panel of this issue.  

Christopher Priest is on his game in this series. He creates tension in the story by leaning into Damian’s origin story and his self reliant tendencies. For example, he foreshadows Damian’s unethical methods with an opening panel that reminds the readers that Damian was trained by Ra’s Al Ghul. What increases the tension is the innocence of the rest of the Teen Titans demonstrated by Kid Flash who unsuccessfully tells Damian to stop. The contrast between Kid Flash’s innocence and Damian’s “anything goes” perspective is shocking and satisfying.

Visually, this book utilized bold colors and effective pencils to capture the energy and emotions of the characters. Specifically, the tortured look on Kid Flash’s face fits when he learns that Damon’s plan involved murder. Damian’s dutiful resignation to his plan is captured with slumped shoulders and a detached affect that creates depth for this character.

Overall = 9/10

Final Impressions

Priest writes a fitting end to an interesting story that began with the capture of a villain but may have created a new one in the process. I highly recommend this story for fans of the Teen Titans and Damian Wayne.