- "You're good, Batman. But you're just an ordinary man. I've been enhanced. I'm stronger. Faster. And far more vicious. You've trained yourself to fight. I've trained myself to kill."
Deathstroke, or commonly referred to as Deathstroke the Terminator or simply Slade, is known to be the greatest assassin in all of DC Comics. He has encountered Batman on several occasions. He has fought against Nightwing, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy during his tenure on the Teen Titans, and has battled him occasionally in his own solo series, to the point he is considered a member of Nightwing's Rogues Gallery instead of Batman's. He is also the father of Ravager (Rose Wilson).
Character HistorySlade Wilson was sixteen years old when he first enlisted in the United States Army, after faking his age. After serving a stint in Korea, he was later assigned to Camp Washington where he had been promoted to the rank of Major. In the early 1960s, he met Captain Adeline Kane who was tasked with training young soldiers in new fighting techniques in anticipation of brewing troubles taking place in Vietnam. Kane was amazed at how skilled Slade was and how quickly he adapted to modern conventions of warfare. She immediately fell in love with him, and realized that he was without a doubt the most able-bodied combatant she had ever encountered. She offered to privately train Slade in guerrilla warfare. In less than a year, Slade mastered every fighting form presented to him and was soon promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Six months later, Adeline and he were married and she became pregnant with their first child. It was at this time that the war in Vietnam began to escalate and Slade was shipped overseas. At home, Adeline gave birth to their son Grant.
Some time later, Wilson volunteered for a medical experiment designed to stimulate his adrenal gland in the hopes of increasing a soldier's ability to resist truth serums. The experiment did not go as expected, and Slade fell into a coma. When he awakened however, he discovered that was now capable of using 90% of his brain capacity, and his strength, durability and agility were increased to superhuman levels. He applied for re-assignment with the army, but they refused him. Although his condition was now stabilized, depression took hold of him and he was desperate to serve his country. At this time, Adeline became pregnant with their second child, Joseph. Unable to further his career in the military, Slade turned towards hunting. He became a world famous safari hunter and great wealth followed soon after. Adeline always suspected however that Slade felt unfulfilled.A few years later, a group of hired mercenaries broke into the Wilsons' mansion and kidnapped young Joey. Adeline attempted to fight them off, but a gas grenade prevented her from saving her son. When Slade discovered what had happened, he knew he could not keep the truth from his wife any longer. Slade was not only a world famous safari hunter, he was also one of the world's deadliest and most highly sought after assassins - Deathstroke the Terminator. He promised Adeline that he would save their son. Together, they flew to Tangier and squared off against a rival mercenary known as the Jackal. The Jackal wanted Slade to reveal important information relating to a client or else he would have his men kill Joey. Slade gambled on the idea that he could save his son before the Jackal could give the order. Unfortunately, Joseph's throat was slashed by one of the criminals before Slade could prevent it, destroying his vocal cords and rendering him mute. After taking Joseph to the hospital, Slade's wife, enraged at his endangerment of her son, tried to kill Slade by shooting him, but only managed to destroy his right eye. Afterward, his confidence in his physical abilities was such that he made no secret of his impaired vision, marked by his mask which has a black featureless half covering his lost eye. Deathstroke was a founding member of Lex Luthor's Secret Society of Super Villains. He was seen hiding in a warehouse south of Metropolis waiting to ambush the Freedom Fighters with several other members. The battle didn't last long, and by the end, Deathstroke had impaled Phantom Lady through the chest, calling his action "just business". He was the employer of an undercover Dick Grayson, whom he hired to train his daughter Rose. However, after the two had a confrontation with Superman, Deathstroke discovered that Nightwing had been teaching Rose the values of heroism. He could not kill Grayson in front of his daughter because doing so would undo all of Slade's teachings. Nightwing offered a deal: he would stay away from Rose if Slade would keep the metahuman villains out of Blüdhaven. The deal held for 34 hours when Slade, under the orders of Alexander Luthor, Jr., the real leader of the Society, went with several villains- who included old Titans and Doom Patrol foes and Brotherhood of Evil members Monsieur Mallah and Brain- to drop Chemo, another fellow villain who appeared to be a nearly brainless monster made of pure energy and radioactive chemicals, on Blüdhaven, killing thousands. Slade gave the explanation to the Brotherhood that Nightwing should be made to believe that he can never go home again.
Grayson took the first of his revenge by bursting in on Deathstroke and Rose's training session, revealing to the latter that the Kryptonite that Deathstroke had implanted in place of her missing eye was radioactive and deadly to humans as well as to Kryptonians (though slower in its effects on humans, as revealed by Lex Luthor's old possession of a Kryptonite ring that forced him to transfer his brain to a cloned body). Angered, Slade went after Nightwing with a grenade, only to have Rose try to stop him. Amid the smoke of the resulting explosion, Rose fled, telling her father that she hated him. Dick disappeared as well, but not before leaving a note for Slade warning him that he'd be back to make him pay for Blüdhaven.
At the climactic Battle of Metropolis at the conclusion of Infinite Crisis, Slade was confronted by Batman, Robin, and Nightwing. During the struggle, he was questioned regarding his motives for aiding the Secret Society. His claims of monetary motivation were deemed unsatisfactory, and he was told to take responsibility before being rendered unconscious.In Batman and Robin #9 Slade Wilson, Deathstroke the Terminator was revealed to be doing freelance work for the League of Assassins. Working for Talia Al Ghul, Slade controlled the body and physical actions of the current Robin, Damian Wayne in order to kill Wilson's old foe, Dick Grayson, who had taken up the mantle of Batman. Deathstroke is able to control Damian's actions thanks to a neural-implant inserted into Damian's spine by his mother while it was being surgically replaced. Grayson defeats Deathstroke by taking advantage of the two-way connection between him and Damian by using a taser on Damian, the resulting electric shock overwhelming Deathstroke's enhanced senses.
The New 52
Though the original Titans stories have been retconned by the DC Relaunch, Kyle Higgens, writer of both the Nightwing and Deathstroke titles, has stated that Slade still has a history with Dick and is still his archnemesis, and that the titles will crossover in the future.
Powers and AbilitiesHe possesses several abilities that are almost superhuman due to his military procedure.
Enhanced Mind: Able to utilize 9 times more than a human's brain capacity for information storing and sorting, his mind is practically a computer built for strategy and problem solving. He can work out any sort of problem, battle or attack ahead of time and predict an enemies movements based on what they have displayed so far, showing that his memory is perfect with instant total recall. He is ingenious in devising solutions against superior aspects of an opponent, can observe and exploit, and can calculate distance, time, and speed at lightning-fast speeds. His sense of time is perfect.
Enhanced Reflexes: His reflexes are instantaneous, so that he is able to casually dodge point-blank gunfire and outmaneuver any opponent, no matter how fast.
Enhanced Strength: His entire muscular system was hardened and strengthened, making him "as strong as 10 men and can lift up to 5 tons with some effort.
Enhanced Stamina: He is able to exert himself at peak capacity longer than any human can ever hope to.
Enhanced Speed: He is able to run and move at speeds of up to 111-115 mph long distances far out-performing any Olympic athlete .
Enhanced Senses: His senses have been highly augmented as well, making him able to see, hear, smell, feel, and taste things better than an ordinary human.
Regenerative Healing Factor: His regenerative powers are enhanced, making him able to rapidly recover from any injury, such as gunshots, stab wounds, broken bones, brusies, and many more. He can heal much faster than normal. He was once stabbed clean through the chest and this didn't do anything except slow him down and cause him pain.
- Enhanced Immunity: Due to his healing factor, he is immune to all forms of diseases, infections, and foreign chemicals.
- Immortality: Also due to his enhancement, he was restored to his prime, his aging halted. He is functionally immortal. Appearing much younger than he actually is.
Master Martial Artist: His martial arts skills combined with enhanced physical prowess have enabled him to barely best Batman several times. Slade trained in hand-to-hand combat while in the Army, he proved himself to be their best fighters. Later he received martial arts training in various styles including, Boxing, Karate, Ninjutsu, Judo and Jujutsu. After mastering these martial arts he furthered his studies when he sought an assassin known as Natas to train him in the ways of Ninja and had studied assassination techniques.
- Deathstroke is the only person known to have a freelancing relationship with Ra's Al Ghul's League of Assassins. Some of Slade's work for them include brainwashing and grooming Cassandra Cain to lead the organization, and using technology given to him by Talia Al Ghul to prevent her son from being "corrupted" by Dick Grayson, by gaining control of Damian's body and attempting to force him to kill his mentor and "brother".
- Though never explicitly stated, it is quite possible he knows Bruce Wayne is Batman. He is fully aware of Dick Grayson's identity and through his work for Talia and the League of Assassins discovered Damian Wayne is the new Robin. It is likely Slade was able to therefore surmise Batman's identity, and keeps it to himself due to his code of conduct. This is explicitly confirmed in the Rebirth continuity.
- Though Deathstroke is primarily a foe of Nightwing, he has had numerous encounters with other members of the Bat-Family:
- Batman: Slade has dueled Batman on many occasions, and have a slight rivalry of their own.
- Tim Drake: Slade has battled Tim Drake primarily during his altercations with the Teen Titans.
- Cassandra Cain: Slade brainwashed Cassandra Cain for the League of Assassins, using the same serum he used on his own daughter, Rose. As a result, Cassandra has a strong adversarial relationship with Slade.
- Jason Todd: Though they have had few and far between encounters face to face, when Jason Todd returned as the Red Hood, Slade assisted Black Mask in his attempts to assassinate this new thorn in his side, providing him with membership in The Society, and offering henchmen to aid him in his quest.
In Other Media
- In the fourth and final season of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, an assassin by the name of Deathstroke appeared in "Bob and Carol and Lois and Clark," played by Antonio Sabato, Jr. The only commonality is the fact that he is an international assassin known as Deathstroke. In Lois and Clark, Deathstroke is a former scientist. An accident in the lab exposed him to magnetic particles, permanently altering his body and granting him magnetic powers. His assistant, who afterward becomes his wife, helps by creating a special suit to contain his powers and keep metal from being drawn to him while out in public. The suit even has a symbol of its own resembling the force lines of a magnetic field, forming a stylized figure eight. After this, he becomes an assassin, murdering his targets with his powers, first by drawing the target to him, then by magnetizing the iron in their blood cells, causing a figure-eight mark on the chest as the person dies of a heart attack. He and his wife rationalize their actions as being the result of the accident, leaving them with no other way to make a living and rendering him a "freak". The couple take the name Bob and Carol when they arrive in Metropolis. They become friends with Clark Kent and Lois Lane as they discover that Lois is going to be interviewing an eccentric reclusive billionaire. The couple plan to assassinate the billionaire before he goes public, taking his identity and thus his fortune. The plan is foiled when Superman interferes, destroying Deathstroke's containment suit, which causes him to be magnetically drawn to a steel pillar until the police arrive. Very much like Superman, this Deathstroke kept a secret identity by wearing a pair of glasses. This is the only media appearance Slade's wife has ever made.
Michael Hogan portrays Slade Wilson in the tenth and final season of Smallville. In the show, United States Army Lieutenant General Slade Wilson is behind the Vigilante Registration Act, anti-superhero legislation that he has propagated while under the influence of Darkseid. In order to find out what Slade has planned, Oliver Queen volunteers to register. Lois Lane meanwhile confronts Slade, and discovers that Slade is a suspected war-criminal, known for torture and illegal methods of torture and interrogation. She however is too late to warn Oliver, and he along with A.C. are captured by Slade in a holding facility which is equipped with holding cells that can adapt to the heroes' abilities. Clark Kent and Mera free Oliver and A.C., but Slade sets off the base's self-destruction. He survives the explosion but at the cost of his right eye.
Having uncovered a significant amount of information about the Justice League, Wilson attacks Lois Lane and tries to force her to lead him to Clark Kent and the group's secret headquarters. Hawkman saves her by fighting Slade (Slade using his signature katana), who dies saving her life. After surviving an explosion which would have killed a normal human, Wilson tells Clark that he is "beyond Death's stroke, now." Clark uses a Kryptonian crystal to send him to the Phantom Zone later saying that he would release him to stand trial after the VRA is repealed. However, General Zod takes Slade and sends him back to Earth, unconscious and with no memory of his time away, through the Phantom Zone portal activated by Clark's blood - which Zod possessed due to Clark saving him with a blood transfusion on Earth - in an attempt to lure Clark into the Zone for revenge.
Deathstroke appears in the 2014 animated movie Son of Batman. He is voiced by Thomas Gibson. Slade made his cinematic debut in the DC Extended Universe in Justice League and Deathstroke and rumored to be the main villain in the upcoming Batman film, played by Joe Manganiello.