Review by Frank Plowright
A very impressive interlude story ‘Chicago’ closed The Gospel of Slade, bringing Deathstroke’s methods to a community destroyed by continual violence. It stood really nicely alone, but the way Christopher Priest weaves that into Deathstroke’s continuing circumstances in Twilight’s opening chapter is incredibly neat. It’s also in passing, not really mattering at all as far as the ongoing story is concerned, which makes the thought applied even more admirable. There’s plenty more where that came from. Deathstroke’s son, able to transfer his consciousness to the bodies of others, taking a Hassidic Jew to confession, or a superhero who doesn’t recognise Deathstroke.
Where the ongoing story goes is into one bombshell after another. Over two previous collections we’ve learned that no-one can be taken at face value, and that continues as Priest follows not just Deathstroke, but his children, and occasionally his wife. Then there are those who would be Deathstroke, a couple of them seen in this collection, as are some Teen Titans, lest we forget it was in their title that Deathstoke was first seen back in the day.
Given the more mainstream content, it’s not surprising that Joe Bennett brings his polished superhero style to Twilight, with page after page of clearly defined action and well characterised people. There are some phenomenal illustrations, not least the half page of container truck near the end. The middle section is the work of Carlo Pagulayan working from Larry Hama’s layouts, and as already proved, there can be no complaints about that.
For all the surprises and clever asides, Twilight is straightforward in comparison with the previous two books, and the primary plot of making Deathstroke blind lacks the novelty value it might have were it not for Daredevil being around since 1964. There are alternate ways to deal with the handicap of not seeing, but apart from the announcement it really makes little difference to Deathstroke’s activities. Twilight discloses almost all the mysteries Priest alluded to from the start of the series, which is very satisfactory, but the cost appears to have been the layered complexity being stripped out. There is a cliffhanger ending, but that’s resolved in Titans: The Lazarus Contract rather than picked up in Defiance. Alternatively, Deathstroke by Christopher Priest collects the entirety of Priest’s impressive run in hardcover.