Written by: Christopher Priest
Art by: Diogenes Neves
After a complex and layered Deathstroke #23, writer Priest takes this issue in a different direction. Deathstroke #24 steps back from the advancing the layered plot and provides readers a way to catch up and learn more about the individuals that make up Deathstroke’s new Defiance team. Essentially, Priest provides readers with a clip show through the perspective of Kid Flash’s embarrassing vignettes.
Fortunately, this is not a filler issue. Priest still finds ways to weave in references to the ongoing plots around the Grocery, Ravages’ sword from the future, and The Society calling for Deathstroke. If none of those plot points sound familiar, this issue provides the opportunity to catch up.
Priest’s successfully throttles back the narrative and retains the investment in his characters, as each of the Defiance team was cobbled together from story arcs across Priest’s run. Providing a window into how a new hero, Kid Flash, perceives the team creates a different perspective to this typically hard-edged anti-hero title. While Kid Flash spends time interacting with each team member, he spends little time exploring his own character. Kid Flash sought out Slade Wilson as a father figure and continues to seek out his place with Deathstroke. Retaining Kid Flash on this darker team of would-be heroes provides a tighter focus on his character, than quickly returning him to a Teen Titans team full of youth struggling with self-identity. The final page of this issue also provides a new challenge for Kid Flash and Deathstroke as the Society shows up.
Priest has a strength in dialogue and this issue plays to that strength. Each confrontation is a confrontation of ideas and words more than actions and super powers. These dialogue heavy panels provide enough characterization without feeling like forced exposition. As a clip show, the issue succeeds in spending time with the entire cast and finding ways for readers to connect and identify with them.
Deathstroke never appears in costume and the issue is stronger for it as Priest compiles scenes that reveal the people and personalities behind the costumes. Deathstroke #24 is an enjoyable issue for existing readers and an accessible entry point into a layered title. Unfortunately, while new readers have a great jumping off point, existing readers could quickly catch up at the start of the next issue.