Review: Deathstroke #34 “Deathstroke Vs. Batman” Chapter Five

“Deathstroke Vs. Batman” – Part Five – “The Stormy Present”
Writer: Priest
Artists: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Trevor Scott & Jeromy Cox
Review by Steve J. Ray

It’s finally Deathstroke Vs. Batman: The Battle Of The Century. For the past four months the two biggest bad-asses in the DC Universe have been embroiled in an epic game of chess. Two supreme strategists locked in an endless tug of war with no end in sight. Who is Damian Wayne’s real father? Is finding the answer even what these men are fighting about any more?
OK, I have to say right now that I don’t know how this creative team is going to top this issue. This is the penultimate chapter of this mind-blowing crossover and it is intense. It’s no secret that Batman and Deathstroke are bitter rivals and a more evenly matched pair of combatants would be hard to find in any comics universe. In this chapter we finally see them go mano a mano and the result is a violent ballet of mythic proportions.
Every single member of the creative team has pulled out all the stops in this issue. The Batcave is invaded, Batman’s protegees are neutralised, Alfred is stuck on the outside looking in, and two awesome fighters finally engage in combat. Chapters 1 – 4 were leading to this but was it worth the wait? If you’re a fan of high octane pugilism, a lightning script and terrific, kinetic action packed art, then the answer is a resounding “Yes.”

Deathstroke Vs. Batman… Fight!

Priest is a writer who knows his characters. His breakdown of what makes each one tick, delivered by some of the best dialogue I’ve read in a long, long time has impressed me greatly. The way Slade uncovers (sort of) Bruce Wayne’s secret is genius.
Deathstroke: Talia’s child isn’t just another lost boy Batman took off the streets. Robin — is Batman’s son.
All this branding down here… the silly cars… the whole “Bat” fetish… you’re really not well
Batman: All right: My turn. You’re homeless. Divorced. Your kids hate you… and those blades are actually ultrasonic relays–
Murderer. Liar. Somebody should have put a stop to you long ago.
Brilliant writing.
As for the art? Every bit as good. Pages one to five are the calm before the storm, page six shocks. Pages seven to eleven build tension like nobody’s business. That double page splash on pages twelve and thirteen… OMG! The rest of the book? Go… buy it now! Penciller Carlo Pagulayan draws every facial expression, every nuance of body language, every punch, kick and parry perfectly. Inkers Jason Paz and Trevor Scott embellish every line with crystal clarity and polish a gem of a comic creating a near flawless diamond. Then along comes colourist Jeromy Cox adding shades, and light, glows and burning, electricity and the blur of weapons moving at incredible speed.
Fantastic.
Veteran letterer Willie Schubert ties a little bow on the proceedings in his own unique, classy, clean and crisp style. There’s a lot of dialogue in this book, but Mr. Schubert makes it flow. Great captions, great sound effects… great work.

Conclusion

Next month is the finale, and I have to say right now that I don’t know how this creative team is going to top this issue.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment
(This review was originally published on the Dark Knight News website on August 1st 2018)

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