Death blow reveals Terra’s secret | CBR

SPOILER WARNING: This issue contains spoilers for Deathstroke # 21, which are now for sale.

After priest and artist Diogenes Neves spent most of the last issue in a team gathering exercise for the series’ new status quo, they dedicate Deathstroke # 21 to team gathering, albeit from different angles. Agendas are revealed, secrets deepened, and the sincerity of Slade Wilson’s conversion challenged. But perhaps the biggest reveal comes on the last page, where Defiance’s missing member makes her debut.

It sure looks like Terra is a double agent. Again.

Everyone is on a mission

Like most of Priest’s previous titles, this edition is divided into segments delimited by a word or phrase in a completely black field. Here the marker is the character or characters that are in focus for the scene. The opener is dedicated to the League of Assassin Willow executing a genocidal butcher named Grocer. It’s unclear how she fits into the series, however – will she join Deathstroke’s Team Defiance? Are you resisting them? Or just complicate things?

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From then on, we’re on solid foundations as Adeline, Slade’s ex-wife and mother of his sons, takes center stage. Adeline and Slade did not break up amicably, as reported in this issue – former wife Wilson shot Deathstroke in the eye after blaming him for the death of her son Grant and in retaliation for his reunion with Rose, his daughter outside of their wedlock would have . (Addie doesn’t get things straight to the point.) Now, however, she’s ready to run Project Defiance as a secret government initiative, with Deathstroke reporting directly to her.

Deathstroke goes with … kind of.

The next section, “Wally and Tanya,” brings a moment of lightness to the subject while also giving a fascinating look at what drives these characters, their similarities and differences. Wally West – Kid Flash – asks Tanya Spears, aka Power Girl, what class she is in. A perfectly reasonable question given their similar age. “I have two PhD students,” she replies. Tanya also sums up her genesis, noting that her mentor, Karen Starr, the original power girl, left Tanya with her name, powers, and access to her tech empire when Ms. Starr returned to her own earth.

This is worth noting as the status of Earth 2 in the changing sands of continuity after rebirth is still a big question. In the New 52 universe – still the operational timeline in many ways – Earth 2 was an alternate reality where a war with Apocalips brought the planet to its knees and the world was only saved by the heroic sacrifices of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman . Eventually, this version of Earth was destroyed, despite the fact that after the convergence, its heroes found and colonized a new planet. In the pre-Flashpoint continuity that is strictly enforced elsewhere in the DCU, Earth 2 was home to the Justice Society and other Golden Age originals, of which Jay Garrick’s classic version, Earth 2’s Flash, recently featured in Batman / Flash crossover “The Button”. In both continuities, Karen Starr was originally from Earth 2 before migrating to Earth 1. Tanya’s testimony here suggests that Power Girl’s repatriation – which took place in the New 52 – has definitely taken place; From today’s perspective, the question is to which earth 2 she returned.

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Later, in the final scene of the issue, Adeline reveals that “the black kids” weren’t part of her plan for the team, which could create an interesting dynamic when loyalties are tested. It’s also worth noting that Kid Flash and Power Girl, the only clearly heroic members of Defiance, are also the only ones who don’t have a deep-seated hatred of Deathstroke.

His children, for example, certainly have a grudge.

In the “Jericho and Rose” scene, the half-siblings argue whether or not Deathstroke killed Jericho’s fiancée Étienne, and both agree that he probably did. Jericho maintains some doubts, however, stating that “learning the truth is my only motivation to join Pop’s team”.

Slade, meanwhile, takes his care of a new generation of heroes very seriously. First, in the “Slade” chapter, he searches news reports for a world crisis suitable for testing Defiance. Strangely enough, he finally finds it to be recognized the chauffeur of the president of a small nation as a former notorious drug king. Although there is a contract for the man, Deathstroke takes him “in the house”, triggering an international incident. Call Defiance Now!

But of course the twist comes in “Wintergreen”, the final chapter in which we learn that Slade’s not always trustworthy confidante conspires with Adeline to “end Deathstroke forever”. Wintergreen and Adeline also become embroiled in Étienne’s death after discovering that they “both know” that Deathstroke was not responsible.

And then there is the last page of Terra. Those who not only have “the stomach for a little stab in the back”, as Adeline puts it, but also want to dive in.

Although Terra has appeared on a number of titan series over the years, the conflicted earth-powered character is best known for her role in the Marv Wolfman and George Perez classic, “The Judas Contract,” in which she charmed her way into teen Titans before she revealed herself to be a spy for Deathstroke. This story arc also strongly suggested that Slade and the underage Terra were having a sexual relationship. At the beginning of his run on the current Deathstroke series, Priest had said he would clarify once and for all the truth about Slade’s and Terra’s relationship, which would take place in a crossover with Teen Titans. The plans have clearly changed since Terra didn’t even show up in this recently completed crossover, but maybe that story is coming soon.

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In any case, it was never a secret that Terra would be on the Defiance line-up. After all, it’s right there on the cover. But her role as a saboteur is a twist. Of course, nothing is straightforward in Deathstroke’s world, where rival assassins always think five steps ahead. It’s entirely possible Slade recruited Terra before Wintergreen and Adeline even got the chance.

This ignorance goes a long way towards adding to the tension and excitement of Deathstroke. What is Slade really doing? Can he prevail against his opponents? Should we even want that? He’s smart enough not to trust his ex; but what does he know? And of course what are the consequences for the young heroes who follow his example?

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About the author

Shaun Manning
(1035 articles published)

Shaun Manning has been writing for CBR since 2006. During this period in which the site has won multiple Eisner Awards, Shaun has interviewed some of the greatest writers, artists, and publishers in the comic book medium, as well as the stars and directors of comics and sci-fi TV and film. All of this started when he picked up a ragged copy of Marvel’s Transformers # 1 at a flea market when he was seven or eight (thank you, Captain Vic!) And then dabbled in superheroes in middle school with the X-Men Cartoon and The Death of Superman . See, media ties and event comics can attract new readers! Soon, Shaun was completely corrupted by Sam Kieth’s The Maxx and Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen’s House of Secrets, introducing the miracle of “Mature Readers” comics at an age he was not. Shaun can be found on Twitter @FasterthanShaun for comics and politics.

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