“Twilight,” Part 1
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Joe Bennett
The first issue of an arc is always an interesting one. It needs to acknowledge what came before it, kick-start what is coming next, and tell its own story that isn’t all set-up. Rebirth so far has been a mixed bag, but Priest and his team on Deathstroke have once again reminded me (and many other readers I’m sure) why this series is one of the best DC has to offer. As stated, this issue begins the newest arc “Twilight,” which promises to be very interesting indeed. I will backtrack to other story elements later in the review, but I first want to discuss the ending of the book. I am also going to place another quick spoiler warning right here because this is something I definitely didn’t see coming.
The final pages of this issue set up a showdown I never expected to happen in my wildest dreams: Deathstroke vs. Raptor. If you’ve been keeping up with Tim Seeley’s Nightwing series (which you should be, because it is absolutely incredible) then this name will be familiar to you. Raptor hasn’t been seen at all since issue 8 of Nightwing, but I always knew DC wasn’t quite done with him. I just never expected him to show up in a Deathstroke issue, letalone as the big-bad of an arc! It is surprising to say the least, but it’s one of those things that I never knew I needed until it happened. Now that the stage is set, next issues showdown between Slade and Raptor could be one of the best moments in Rebirth so far. Yes, I am that excited.
Now, back to the other story elements! Immediately on page one, we see Slade confront Pat and provide her with some mercy: Luis will never see Rose again and live, but Slade will kill him if he comes back. It is a rare thing that a book focused on a classic villain really pulls the right tonality, as some examples in the past have fallen severely flat, but never this book. There is something about the absolutely human way that Priest crafts Slade that makes him so…human, but also at the most cunning and evil he’s ever been. It’s an amazing balance that seems to affect every character in this “Deathstroke and Family” series, and definitely something that all comics could use a lot more of.
I would also like to take this time to point out the art and all of the contributions: we have Larry Hama on breakdowns, Joe Bennett on pencils, Mark Morales on inks, Jeromy Cox on color, and Willie Schubert on letters. This incredible team of talent provided the most amazing visual representation of Priests writing style that I think I’ve ever seen. I feel as though I say this in every review, but the teams that this series is throwing at us are just phenomenal and it is well worth recognizing.
The next part of this issue shows Red Lion breaking Slade out of prison before making his way to Chicago. If you haven’t read last issue – or pretty much any other issue of this series – this particular book might be a touch confusing. I myself have been reading Deathstroke since it started and I still had trouble following some of the references to earlier issues. I would’ve liked to see more of Slade and Red Lion interacting, or even more of the prison break that was seemingly so easy to pull off, but I’ll take what I can get at this point and just go along with the ride.
That is one of my only negatives for this issue, along with Rose. I won’t talk much about her – because there really isn’t much to talk about – but her story went from one of the most promising a few issues ago to absolutely nothing now…come on Priest, we know you can do her character justice. Stop with the awkward teenage-boy-marriage-proposal dialogue and get her back to kicking ass! That is my only wish.
Priest and co. have presented us here with a very solid first issue of the new “Twilight” arc, and with the arrival of Raptor and the showdown that is going to take place next issue, I feel like the conductor of the Hype Train – and it’s full steam ahead!
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment