“Arkham: Book Three”
Art: Fernando Pasarin
Answers begin to arrive in this week’s Deathstroke #38, as Slade Wilson continues to navigate his new life in Arkham Asylum.
Since his arrival at Arkham, Deathstroke has faced a crisis of perception. Unable to parse reality from hallucination, Slade’s mental health is problematic. Readers are forced to question the validity of the story’s narrative. However, after two insane issues, Deathstroke #38 starts to iron out some of the facts concerning Deathstroke’s time in Arkham.
In issue #36 Slade met Devon during a group therapy session. When the two tried to escape, aliens supposedly appearef and abducted them. Accordingly, in the following issue, Deathstroke’s shrink, Candace, asserted that Devon was a figment of Slade’s imagination.
Deathstroke #37 opens with Devon dressed as a ninja named “Death Masque”, breaking into Hosun’s apartment. Devon reveals that Deathstroke’s Wintergreen AI is real; therefore, Slade isn’t crazy.
The story shifts gears to focus on Two-Face, who in the last issue, escaped with Deathstroke’s suit, attacked Jericho, and kidnapped Rose. In classic Two-Face fashion, Harvey is in two minds about his feelings towards Slade. With the goal of unleashing Deathstroke’s inner killer, Dent is caught between wanting help Deathstroke by liberating him from family ties and hurting him by killing his family. Either motivation has led Two-Face to a simple conclusion: he must murder Rose and Jericho.
The issue ends with what’s assumably a nightmare sequence. A mob of zombie-like patients attacks Slade, and we have a Strange visitation on the final page.
Deathstroke is not an easy read. Priest’s scripts demand attention and brain power. With multiple convoluted plotlines, Deathstroke #37 is no exception. However, this issue’s clarity is a breath of fresh air after the previous two issues. While Slade’s sanity has served as a brilliant meta device, Priest runs the risk of overstretching its viability. By providing answers to basic questions, Priest gives readers just enough to hang onto amidst all the chaos.
Pasarin Presses On
Deathstroke is a good looking book. It has been from its first issue. Guess what? Deathstroke #37 is also a good looking book. Seriously, Fernando Pasarin has mastered Deathstroke. While his style is far from unique or innovative, his work is always clean, sharp and detailed. His consistency is a feat unto itself.
Deathstroke #37 is another brilliant issue in a fantastic series. Priest continues to deliver top-notch, cerebral scripts, while Pasarin consistently produces solid pencils. While this series may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the title’s praises are well deserved. If you like to think when reading comics, check this out.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment