In the final issue before this arc’s two-part finale, Deathstroke manages to deepen the Terminator’s ever-complicated conflict with Batman. Now that Damian Wayne, Batman’s current Robin and possible son of Deathstroke, has entered the fight, this story finally gains the emotional resonance it needs. However, Slade’s random adventures and minimal interaction with Batman continues.
This issue features Damian teaming up with Deathstroke on a contract. Tim Drake’s message to Damian has convinced the young crime-fighter that Deathstroke really could be his father rather than Batman. So, Damian tags along with Slade all the while annoying the assassin to no end. These two characters are always fun to see interact. While they have shockingly similar personalities, Damian’s immaturity and naivety make for a great foil to Deathstroke. Their exchanges in this issue are hilarious and equally enlightening.
Showing up out of nowhere, Nightshade arrives on the scene to interfere with Deathstroke’s plan. The motivation of this villain and exactly what the two are trying to accomplish are a little unclear. Still, that doesn’t seem to matter too much. This conflict really just serves as an excuse for Deathstroke and Damian to butt heads. In this regard, Nightshade’s inclusion is effective. However, the story could have done without her.
Batman is nowhere to be seen this time around. Still, his presence is felt. Deathstroke’s respect for Batman’s power and reach leads him to be more cautious and calculating than ever. Christopher Priest has done an incredible job of displaying how Deathstroke’s mind works. This change in his demeanor, although slight, is some of the best character work Priest has done on both Batman and Deathstroke so far. Though this war may be more an of a “Cold War” than expected, the story-telling implemented in this arc is absolutely topnotch.
This issue sets up the finale in a grand fashion. Batman and Deathstroke will finally confront each other in the next two issues. However, Priest is clever in creating a conflict that could be solved simply through the characters talking. Batman is too stubborn for a such a conversation and Deathstroke is too cautious. It’s unlikely that Deathstroke really is Damian’s father. However, that doesn’t really matter the way you expected in the beginning. Even if Batman isn’t biologically related to Damian, it’s made abundantly clear where their allegiances lie. The remaining question is how Batman and Deathstroke will settle the dispute and by the end of this issue, you’ll be begging for the answer.
Final Score: 8/10
The 10 Strongest Members Of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, Ranked
Batman may keep Gotham City safe, but his enemies don’t make things easy for him. Stacked with some of the most terrifying supervillains in comics, Batman’s rogues gallery is chopped full of strong individuals who spread death and destruction wherever they go. From their mental plans to pure physical muscles, all of these villains have terrorized the citizens of Gotham and put the pain on Batman multiple times over the years.
Of course, there’s more than one way to be strong. Some of these villains rely more so on their minds or dastardly plots to attack Batman, while others rely on technology or their muscles to bring the pain. Regardless, the stronger the villains, the stronger Batman has to become to stay one step ahead. Without these deadly foes, Batman wouldn’t be the capable hero fans know and love. Every plot may leave him with a few more scars, but all of these villains have pushed Batman to become a better hero for the citizens of Gotham.
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