He is a cold-blooded mercenary and the DC Universe's best Assassin. A master tactician and a deadly fighter, he will stop at nothing to complete his contract. He is Deathstroke.
Deathstroke has enjoyed a great amount of love recently. He was always a fan favorite, usually as a low profile DC villain. He appeared in a number of DC media including a number of animated TV shows like Teen Titans, where he was called Slade as his alias was deemed too violent for children, Young Justice, Beware the Batman, a number of animated movies like The Flashpoint Paradox, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and Son of Batman and two live action performances, on Arrow played by Kiwi actor Manu Bennet, and an appearance on Smallville played by actor Michael Hogan. He also appeared in a number of DC games including Injustice: God's Among Us and the Arkham Games.
Despite his recent exposure, there is much to know about the guy in orange and black, so let's jump right into the 10 facts you might not know about Deathstroke:
10. He was called the Terminator
In his first ever appearance in 'Teen Titans #2' on December 1980, Deathstroke was introduced as Deathstroke the Terminator, a title he kept for four years. At that time Deathstroke was not a well-known character. He was the main villain of a not so mainstream comic, that debuted fairly recently. He was loved by the Titans fan base but that was about it. So it is not surprising that four years later when the Terminator movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was released, his moniker seemed a little risky. The Terminator movie franchise was bigger and a lot stronger than a small comic book like the Titans and the name was quickly associated with Arnold's character. Therefore DC decided to drop the moniker to avoid confusion and/or any mix-up with the characters.
9. His backstory is similar to Captain America's, only sadder
Slade's backstory is very similar to Captain America. He enlisted in the army at the age of 16, faking his real age just to serve his country. He served in Korea for a time, until he was relocated to Camp Washington where he met his soon to be wife, Adeline Kane. Adeline was smitten by his fighting skills and quick learning, falling in love with him and marrying him soon after. She gave him two sons.
Slade served his country well, and when an officer came to him offering a chance at a program to augment his adrenal glands in order to resist truth serums, he applied immediately.
Of course the program was a ruse and it was in truth a super soldier program. The surgery went bad and Slade fell into a coma, only to wake up with enhanced strength, speed, durability and cerebral capacity. While he reached near metahuman level, the army deemed the experiment a failure, and Slade was denied the ability to re-enlist in the army. This had Slade fall into a deep depression and accompanied with some mental drawbacks from the experiment led him to become the mercenary he is famous for being.
In the end Slade's story is the same as Captain America's, only with no happy ending.
8. He lost his eye, but not the way you think
Thanks to DC's CW show, Arrow many fans now believe that Deathstroke lost his eye, by an arrow either shot or smashed into by Oliver Queen. Well the truth is totally different. After being denied the ability to re-enlist in the army, Slade decided to become a big game hunter, and in secret, a mercenary. But trouble soon followed, as a rival mercenary called the Jackal, kidnapped his son and blackmailed him to give him crucial information on one of his clients.
Slade instead chose to fight off the Jackal along with his wife Adeline. As you might have noticed by now, Slade is not the luckiest guy in the DC Universe, his son's throat was slashed, rendering him mute. This of course enraged his wife, who tried to kill him by shooting him in the eye. Deathstroke's eye never regenerated even after he gained regenerative powers and Slade never regretted. Instead, he proudly wore an eye-patch or a mask covering that eye, showing to the world that he was so good at his job, he could do it with only a single eye.
7. Slade is a family guy
Despite being a villain, and having his wife and one (or two depending on the timeline) dead, Slade loved his family. A good example for that is, when he met his estranged wife, Adeline Kane. Meeting her, Slade quickly tried to reconnect, something that of course ended up in a tragedy. She was attacked and to save her he needed to make a blood transfusion, but because his blood was changed, she mutated and became an immortal maniac. Slade fell into a deep depression after that and nearly retired.
Another instance of his love for his children was when he attacked the Titans with his own Titans team, seemingly to kill all of them. The truth was though that Deathstroke tried to cement his children's position with the Titans, so that they be trusted, and have the family that he never could have given them. Even his sometimes harsh and nearing abusive behavior towards them is in his mind, a way to make them survive the harsh world they live in.
6. He became young again
In the new published solo title, 'Deathstroke #1', Slade is woken up young again. Young and with a new eye in place of his old empty eye socket. He was de-aged by a mysterious person called I-Ching in order to help him defeat his own father, Charles Wilson a.k.a. Odysseus.
There is not much known about this transformation beside the fact, that Slade became a little worse at fighting as he was not used to having two eyes.
5. He is a good teamplayer
Slade is one of the best tactical minds in the DC Universe. Therefore, it is only natural that he would lead a number of different groups, and he did. He was a member of The Society, the Titans, the Titans East, Tartarus, the Injustice League, The Secret Society of Supervillains (the New 52 version), the Suicide Squad, Team 7, Checkmate and he was also associated with H.I.V.E., the Crime Syndicate and has worked for a number of employers, most prominently Lex Luthor and the Olympian Gods.
4. He killed a Titan
But not the kind of Titan you'd expect. He killed a real, mythological Titan, Lapetus.
Deathstroke in his most recent solo titles was contracted by Hephestus to kill a Titan, using a weapon he forged called, the GodKiller. Slade being the guy he is, infiltrated, Themyscyra, the island of the Amazon, and went on to shatter the statue of Lapetus. While Slade thought he killed him, he instead freed Lapetus from his prison. Being the mercenary that he is he couldn't leave a contract without completion and therefore fought with Wonder Woman and Superman to defeat and kill Lapetus.
In the end that worked against him, as Hephestus betrayed him, taking away his weapon and forcing him to pay for his actions with a blood sacrifice. Slade paid that price, with his newly acquired eye.
3. He hates Green Arrow with a passion
A few points above I mentioned how Ollie was not the one to take out Slade's eye, but their relationship is still really, really bad. During an incident involving the Justice League and Slade, (we'll talk about this later) Ollie tried to stop Slade by smashing a broken arrow right into Slade's empty eye socket. This of course, while doing nothing to stop him, enraged Slade and he started pummeling Ollie, trying to kill him.
He was stopped but this started a rivalry that border lined a vendetta. Slade tried to destroy Ollie wherever and whenever he could, trying to unmask him during his *spoiler alert* mayoral term and later on to crash his wedding with Black Canary.
2. He assaulted Belle Reve
Remember that prison from the Suicide Squad movie trailer? That is Belle Reve,(Beautiful Dream - translated from French) one of the highest security prisons in the whole of DC Universe.
In his last few issues, Slade is looking for his daughter Rose. He soon learns from an informer that Amanda Waller might know where she is and sets out to find her. Disregarding the obvious possibility of this being a trap, Slade assaults Belle Reve, in a story titled 'Assault on the Wall'.
There, Slade fought the hordes of security personnel that Belle Reve has, the Suicide Squad members, Black Manta, Deadshot and Harley, only to fight off Snakebite on top of all of this. The whole operation was a set-up by Harley so that Slade could kill Amanda Waller. The set-up failed, and Slade escaped, a little scratched but otherwise fine.
1. He defeated the Justice League (excluding the Trinity)
During the 'Identity Crisis' storyline, Slade was tasked as the bodyguard of Doctor Light, because the Justice League was hunting him down (because apparently he is a rapist and a real piece of sh*t). To complete his task Slade faced off against the whole Justice League, excluding Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman.
But before you say that the JL heavy hitters were not present, remember that Zatanna, the Flash and the Green Lantern, are some of the strongest DC superheroes and they were all present in the fight.
Deathstroke started the fight off by hitting Zatanna in the liver so hard she couldn't speak, he incapacitated the Flash with a diversion, cut off Hawkman's Harness, put a rubber mask on Black Canary, broke off all of Green Arrow's arrows, hits Elongated man hard enough to send him unconscious, disorients the Atom with a laser pen but most impressively, he broke Kyle Rayner's knuckles and using his own willpower, nearly took control of the Green lantern ring. He was only stopped when the Green Arrow (as mentioned above) drove a broken arrow, through Slade's empty eye socket, enraging him, and giving the time for the rest to gang up on him.
This article is one of a series of articles about DC superheroes and supervillains:
- If you want to learn more about the Joker click here
- If you want to learn more about the Huntress click here