Image: DC Comics

Christopher Priest’s Deathstroke has been phenomenal for two and a half years, and the series has only gotten better as it brings Slade Wilson deeper into Batman’s world. The “Deathstroke Vs. Batman” storyline was a brilliant examination of the characters’ individual trauma and dysfunctional approaches to fatherhood. The current “Arkham” arc throws Slade in Gotham’s notorious asylum, putting him at the center of a mystery that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy as Slade convinces himself that he’s been teleported off the Earth to fight in an alien war. Like the rest of Priest’s run, it’s a densely plotted story full of twists, and Priest’s complex characterizations make the Wilsons one of the most compelling families in superhero comics.

This exclusive preview of this week’s Deathstroke #38 has two of Slade’s accomplices teaming up as his Arkham buddy, Devon, seeks out his former tech guy/current son-in-law, Hosun, to figure out what exactly is going on. Like last week’s Venom preview, this excerpt features narration contained in individual pools of black, but it’s used for comedy instead of drama. These are the thoughts of a character waiting in the dark, and when the lights turn on, he finds out that he’s been lurking in the wrong room. This kind of structural specificity in the writing is what elevates the art in Priest’s books, and this arc gives Fernando Pasarin the opportunity to push himself with character expression to heighten both the humor and the darker elements of the plot. Regular inker Jason Paz and colorist Jeromy Cox give the series visual consistency across different artists, and they’ve kept the book looking as sharp as Priest’s writing.

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