It’s clear when some books need a sales boost and the creative team brings in a heavy hitter to spark some interest in it. These quick cash grab stories typically have little consequence and aren’t that interesting. That’s certainly not been the case with Batman vs. Deathstroke this has quietly turned into one of the best Batman stories of 2018.
This arc has certainly been helped by the fact that writer Priest is able to take his time and tell the story. Maybe it could have been rushed through in three issues, but spreading it out through six allows Priest to set up numerous confrontations between Batman and Deathstroke. And each one gets a little more intense than the previous encounter. Slade and Bruce Wayne haven’t always been viewed as natural rivals, but Priest has done a wonderful job in building this rivalry.
In this chapter, Batman is after Deathstroke, who’s taken on a new assignment to stop an elderly superhero. Through the various conversations, Priest firmly establishes the differences between Slade and Bruce Wayne on all fronts. Meanwhile Damian learns of the latest family secret, which will bring him into the conflict sooner than Batman would like.
Artists Carlo Pagulayan and Roberto Viacara provide sharp pencils over Larry Hama’s breakdowns. Despite some tag teaming with the art, nothing looks off and each page is done with a high level of consistency. The only slight hiccup is the random interludes that don’t get enough time to play out to warrant their inclusion at this point.
Batman vs. Deathstroke has delivered more than an intriguing match-up of two of DC’s best at what they do — it’s providing an epic clash of titans that doesn’t stop surprising or satisfying on every level.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10