“The Professional,” Part 7
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Carlo Pagulayan
After Deathstroke confronts the enemy behind Wintergreen’s abduction and the attempted murder of his daughter, he soon finds himself abandoned on a suicide mission where he confronts an unbeatable foe—the Man of Steel!
“The Professional” has been an interesting story to me from the first page of this series; not only are we seeing a more human version of Slade underneath his mask, but in the process, we are learning more about his family and his past. Despite this however, he still carries with him the cold-blooded mercenary attitude fans of the character are used to, and the balance seems to be struck nicely across every issue.
In this issue, we see a flash-forward during the first two pages that shows the finale of the upcoming Deathstroke vs. Superman fight, which was one of my few complaints; it felt out of place and needless, considering Superman isn’t introduced into the present timeline until the final page of the issue. If anything, this flash-forward would have been better suited for the beginning of the next issue, assuming the fight itself doesn’t span more than two issues or so.
Moving on from that, the issue shows Slade confronting Adeline (or “Lady Macbeth” as he affectionately calls her) and brings with it a dynamic between them that feels more soap-opera than comic book, however this doesn’t take away from the tension and the stakes. This scene harks back to a similar one from Deathstroke #1, wherein Slade and Adeline are seen brawling before talking calmly to one another. Ultimately, it presents an interesting spin on the relationship between them and is something I hope to see more of in the future.
Putting the writing aside for a moment, the art in this issue is as consistent and impressive as ever; Pagulayan has a way with these characters and this world that is fascinating to look at. The two-page spread across pages 2-3 with Superman was a thing of beauty, and the detail put into every single panel makes any missteps in story completely bearable and otherwise unnoticeable.
All around this was a pretty solid issue, however I am glad that this arc is coming to an end, as I feel the story will suffer if it continues for very much longer. That being said, I am also very interested to see what comes next for this series and whether it will retain the tone and structure that has been cemented across this arc.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment