This review contains some minor spoilers.
Starting with the news Slade Wilson is blind, Deathstroke #12 frames itself as an answer to the question readers are wondering and Pat Trayce asks: “What happened?” By the end of the issue, which takes place several weeks before this conversation transpired, we’re no closer to an answer. In fact, we may have even forgotten the question.
Call it prison break amnesia. The Red Lion is back, and he’s come with a getaway helicopter to fly Slade out of supermax. Going through the motions (because it’s impolite to refuse a prison break once one’s started), Slade doesn’t need the ride. Looking down at Red Lion, in his muscle flattering jumpsuit, his stance mirrors his opinion of the gesture. Penciller Joe Bennett draws one irritated escapee. There’s certainly no gratefulness or alarm. Grilling the Lion as he backflips off a building, Slade has all the time in the world. Prison was a hotel he could’ve left whenever he wanted. His cooperation runs as far as resolving why the Red Lion wishes him free.
Disappearing temporarily to dispatch with Chicago’s Deathstroke poser (Deathstroke #11), the issue jumps to Slade’s daughter, Rose, getting accosted by Hosun. Hosun testified against her father in court and Slade’s release gets him feeling in the marrying way. A father is more likely to show mercy on his daughter’s husband and Hosun will say anything to win her hand. Pushing Rose to keep asking questions, his commitment to saving his skin goes from annoyance to revelation. When that revelation promises to crumble the life Rose has built, tucked away with her mom’s family, Hosun is all annoyance.
Lest a Wilson be left out from receiving an unwelcome visitor, Deathstroke stops by to watch his son, Joe, sleep. Or maybe he stops by. Joe’s fiancée, Etienne, isn’t sure anymore. Unable to know Deathstroke was standing over their bed, before she opened her eyes, questions of timeline and motive keep his visit a puzzling nonstarter. At least Etienne is communicating her concerns. Joe is siphoning his into moving up their wedding day. An impulse that never spells disaster, Joe’s scenes are packed with guilt, but can be skipped this issue.
His father’s scenes are a different story. Skills undiminished by prison, Slade pieces together more of the Red Lion’s plan and sues Colorado for $22.6 million while he’s at it. Writer Christopher Priest lets nothing pass by Deathstroke and his aversion against small talk doesn’t go unappreciated.
The other big selling point of the new “Twilight” arc, though, is the introduction of Raptor. There’s something very ordinary and unimpressive about his entrance. That we don’t understand his intended role yet doesn’t help, but his pick-up lines don’t cut to the chase, and a stolen identity gets him access to a nondescript build site. Bennett’s art gets very straightforward for Raptor’s section, so doesn’t serve as a distraction, but once Deathstroke starts talking about Raptor’s backstory, and how different they are as villains, his involvement recovers. Have Raptor prove that he doesn’t need Deathstroke around as wingman and we’ll see what this arc is made of.
Deathstroke #12 lands the big prison exit but falters with a character entrance.