Deathstroke #8 is smashing! Being the second issue of the new “God Killer!” storyline, the gore and fighting are sometimes intense, as you might expect, which plays perfectly into the hands of illustrator, Tony S. Daniel. His artwork depicting the action-packed scenes is fantastic!
When we last left Deathstroke in issue #7, he had reluctantly taken a contract to kill the God, Lapetus. After his surprise arrival at an unknown location (Paradise Island), which is home to the Amazons, and subsequent destruction of a stone statue of Lapetus (an act initiated by the God-Killer sword he now carries), Wonder Woman discovers his unwelcome presence on the island and commands him to “surrender or die”.
From that confrontation, Deathstroke #8, subtitled, Black Rain, opens with Deathstroke and Wonder Woman poised for battle.
After swapping blows (and angered dialogue) over Deathstroke’s unwilling obliteration of the onyx statue of Lapetus, which by Wonder Woman’s reaction was more than a simple community landmark, Wonder Woman pieces together her suspicions that the Lapetus mission was a ruse and that the God-Killer sword (that no regular mortal can wield) could have only been created by one person: Hephaestus.
From Wonder Woman’s enlightenment, Deathstroke learns, much to his dismay, that the statue was not simply a stone statue, but indeed a vessel, or prison containing the life force of Lapetus. So, instead of killing the woeful God and fulfilling his contract, he has instead unleashed the God from his stone prison to which he was bound. And now, being released from captivity, he is free to raise an unholy army for the purpose of Armageddon.
After a fair beat down by Wonder Woman in which Deathstroke refuses to fight back, Hessia appears just as Wonder Woman uses her Lasso of Truth to extract further details from Deathstroke about the contract and the God-Killer sword. This information confirms that Hephaestus was ultimately behind the tricky scheme to free Lapetus, not destroy him. The issue ends with Lapetus’ rise and an even bigger challenge in the coming issue.
Overall, the writing is good, but it plays second fiddle to the strong, detailed artwork capturing the essence of the title.