Deathstroke #33 // Review
Deathstroke #33, written by Christopher Priest, with pencils by Ed Benes, inks by Richard Friend, and colors by Dinei Ribeiro, continues the Deathstroke vs Batman arc, and...there’s no Batman in sight. Shockingly, the Dark Knight isn’t really missed, being replaced by Damian Wayne aka Robin. Previously, Batman and Slade Wilson received an anonymous tip that Damian was really Deathstroke’s son. Neither believed this to be true, but it still set off a series of confrontations between the two men as Batman tried to find out who was pitting them against each other. Now that Damian has found out about his possible relation to Wilson, he has set out to get answers for himself.
Priest’s writing of the interaction between Deathstroke and Robin is what makes this issue great. The two trying to outwit each other while working together on one of Slade’s missions is actually more entertaining than his encounters with Batman. Between Damian poking at Wilson by calling him “father”, and the two working in perfect synch to bring down their opponent, Priest will have readers wishing there was Deathstroke and Robin book on the way written by him.
Plotwise, on the other hand, not much happens. Again, the momentum of story isn’t missed, because of the sheer entertainment value of the new Dynamic Duo, but technically, this issue is just filler. Robin tracks down Slade, they go on a mission together, and then Deathstroke abandons Damian, saying that he’s figured out what Batman is up to. No questions are answered, and the only forward movement of story happens in the last page, but the possible father and son coming together is an important beat that needed to be played out, considering the entire arc revolves around Wilson maybe being Damian’s father, so all filler can be forgiven.
Benes, a much-underused superstar artist, is a welcome addition to the art team this issue, and he delivers a well-rounded, action-packed book. Priest even plays to his strengths, giving him a scantily-clad Nightshade to draw. Why Benes isn’t penciling a big book, like Wonder Woman or Superman, on a regular basis is anybody’s guess, but he shouldn’t be lacking for work with this quality of art. Friend’s inks and Ribeiro’s colors also lend a lot to the art this issue, considering Nightshade’s dark energy powers give them plenty to do. Their work blends well with Benes, and they were a perfect choice to work with him.
Overall, even though not much really happens in this leg of the arc, it’s without a doubt one of the best issues of the story so far. If you enjoy Damian, and your idea of a good time is seeing two trained assassins annoy each other to near death, then this is the comic for you. As for Batman, while he wasn’t exactly missed in this chapter, fingers are crossed that he’ll be back in full force next issue. Until then, try to keep calm waiting on the beginning of the two part conclusion to this (so far) spectacular crossover story.