By David Hine (writer), Georges Jeanty (artist), Mark McKenna (inker)

From what I understand, “Faces of Evil” is supposedly tied to Final Crisis, and it supposed to portray what happens when evil finally wins.  Okay, for the stories DC are telling right now, this seems like a logical event to run, right?  You would think so, but so far that’s been anything but true.  “Faces of Evil” has largely been a disaster, and issues like this one are a perfect example of why this event is not working.

There was a time when Deathstroke was a force to be reckoned with, a savagely cunning mercenary who had no problems manipulating the Teen Titans and beating them nearly to death.  Over the years though, writers and editors have diluted the strength of his character, so that when we find Slade Wilson now, he is a broken and hollow man, praying for death in a prison hospital.  Here, Deathstroke spends almost half of the issue thinking about his family and practically crying like a schoolboy filled with teenage angst, about the pain and suffering he’s inflicted on them.

I was hopeful when Deathstroke suddenly mans up and manipulates his daughter into helping him escape Belle Reve, but that soon gave way to a bizarre monologue about Wilson needing a new purpose in life and wanting to become a “prophet of death”,  killing the people he feels that need to die rather than eliminating those he’s paid to kill.  The issue ends on a truly creepy, pedophilic note that left my wife cringing when I showed it to her.  Hine and editor Michael Marts seem to be moving Deathstroke back into an anti-hero status quo, and under any other circumstance I’d be fine with that.  But this is a “Faces of Evil” issue, and a grossly emotional one at that.  If they’re not going to write Deathstroke as the brilliant, manipulative villain that so many of us know and remembered him best as, then why bother releasing this issue now?  Why not wait until after Final Crisis and “Faces of Evil” are over?  I wanted a return to Deathstroke’s roots, but I was disappointed that Hine and crew didn’t deliver.

Grade: D

-Tony Rakittke