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Deathstroke the Terminator

Alias: Slade Wilson

Related Links: Adeline Kane Wilson
William Randolph Wintergreen
Jericho (Joseph Wilson) •  Ravager I (Grant Wilson)
Ravager II (Bill Walsh)Ravager III (Wade DeFarge)
•  Lillian “Sweet Lili” WorthRavager IV (Rose Wilson)

Teen Titans File Photo:

Archived File Photos (in chronological order):

 

 History


Soldier Of Misfortune

Slade Wilson was always a strong, determined personality. As a young man, he lied about his age to get into the Army when he was only sixteen. He quickly distinguished himself and became one of the youngest decorated soldiers. It was during his service that he met British Major William Randolph Wintergreen, who would become his closest friend. Slade possessed a strict moral code that never wavered. And despite the fact that Wintergreen was his elder by several years, Wintergreen became the student, and Slade, the mentor.

When Slade Wilson arrived for training at Camp Washington, young Captain Adeline Kane was both frightened and fascinated by him. Already decorated as a war hero, Wilson was an army legend before he joined the camp. Despite his background, Adeline took Slade down a few pegs by besting him during a guerilla warfare training session. Beguiled by Adeline’s beauty and brains, Slade soon became her eager new student, as she passed along her fighting techniques. In truth, their mutual interest in one another was more than professional. Sparks ignited immediately between the two, and they quickly fell in love and wed within six months.

ABOVE: Addie meets Slade… and sparks fly, as related in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 [1984].
BELOW: Adeline Kane relates the Wilson family history in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 [1984].

As Slade was called into service, Adeline gave birth to a son, Grant. Slade continued on active duty, and volunteered for a medical experiment in resisting truth serums. It was later revealed that these experiments with “truth serums” were, in reality, an attempt by the government to covertly create meta-humans through experimentation on human test subjects. The experiment left Slade weakened and bedridden for a time. But the experiment, unbeknownst to anyone but Slade, had an unforeseen side effect: it gave Slade enhanced strength and heightened reflexes.

Shortly after this, Adeline gave birth to a second son, Joseph William Wilson.

Weeks later, Slade launched a rogue rescue mission to rescue his best friend, Major William Randolph Wintergreen. Badly beaten and tortured, Wintergreen awoke to witness his rescuer – a costumed man who easily bested all the soldiers with an unrivaled ferocity. The mystery assailant unmasked himself, revealing himself to Wintergreen as Slade Wilson.

ABOVE: Slade’s origin is recounted in DEATHSTROKE #1 [1992].
BELOW: Wintergreen relates Deathstroke’s first mission
in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 [1984].

Gunning For Trouble

Slade soon was discharged from the army. He took up hunting for awhile, but it failed to quench his thirst for the life he once led. To the world, Slade Wilson became a celebrated hunter. Unknown to even his wife and family, Slade secretly became a mercenary known as Deathstroke, the Terminator. Although Slade was gone for weeks a time, he was a good father. He was closest to Grant, who idolized him. But Slade also loved Joseph, who preferred music over fighting and painting over guns.

One one of his assignments, Slade assassinated a Colonel from the country of Quarac. The president from Quarac sent a terrorist known as the Jackal to find Slade, and find out who hired him to kill the Colonel. To gain leverage, the Jackal kidnapped a young Joseph Wilson.

Joseph is tragically maimed, as retold by Adeline
in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 [1984].

This forced Slade to admit to his Adeline that he was secretly the mercenary known as Deathstroke, the Terminator. Adeline and Deathstroke together confronted the Jackal in an alleyway in Tangiers. Slade refused to give the Jackal the information he requested, because it would violate his professional code of ethics. Slade gambled he could react fast enough to save his son; He saved Joseph’s life, but not before one of Jackal’s men had begun to slit his throat. Joseph was now mute. Slade always needed to be the best. But now, his own son suffered for his monumental ego.

Adeline – furious at Slade’s betrayal and the risking of her son’s life – confronted Slade at gunpoint. Only Slade’s quick reflexes saved his life, but he lost his right eye due to the gunshot inflicted by his wife. Adeline then divorced Slade and raised her two sons by herself. Grant followed in his father’s footsteps and attended military school. Joseph, however, was quite different from his brother; He was a kind, gentle soul who flourished in the arts. Joseph was both a talented artist and musician. Adeline nurtured this side of Joseph, and he grew up to be a fine young man under Adeline’s care.

Addie exacts her revenge, as related in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 [1984].

Daughter Of Deathstroke

Slade continued his activities as the famed mercenary known only as Deathstroke, the Terminator. Although a merc, Slade only accepted jobs his conscience would allow him to. One such mission was a search and rescue assignment in the Orient. The mission was simple enough to Slade: The Khmer Rouge were holding prisoner a Cambodian princess – Lillian Worth – in the Siem Pang Wat. The plan was to bring her from war-torn Cambodia across the border into Thailand, where she would be free from her oppressive captors. Slade successfully freed “Sweet Lili” and her girls, and the group headed into the jungle to avoid the patrols.

Expecting Lili to be a woman of privilege, Slade was both surprised and impressed by her resilience. The Khmer Rouge later gunned down the entire rescue team, killing Lili’s girls in the crossfire. Slade himself was injured and feverish from a gunshot wound, which Lili helped heal with local herbs. In the week it took for Slade’s fever to break, Lili defended them from snakes and insects – and even stray Rogue soldiers. During their intense journey to Thailand, Slade and Lili became lovers.

Slade and Lili remained in contact through the years, embarking an an on/off love affair whenever their paths crossed. During one of their trysts, Slade impregnated Lili, who later gave birth to Rose Worth. Lili kept Rose a secret from Slade, rationalizing it was in the child’s best interest to do so.

Deathstroke rescues Lili, as detailed in DEATHSTROKE #15 [1992].

Life Father, Like Son

A few years later, Slade casually refused a job that would change his life forever. The criminal organization known as the H.I.V.E. offered Slade a contract to kill the Teen Titans. Slade refused. But Slade’s estranged son, Grant, assumed the contact himself.

The H.I.V.E. offered to amplify Grant’s natural abilities artificially so he could exact his revenge on the Teen Titans, whom he blamed for ruining his life. Grant Wilson was the instrument of destruction to unleash on the Titans, since the H.I.V.E. were unsuccessful in recruiting Deathstroke for that same mission. Grant received powers and a costume reminiscent of his father’s and named himself the Ravager. Whereas Deathstroke’s abilities were amplified so that 90% of his brain capacity was being used, the H.I.V.E. offered to increase Grant’s mental faculties to 100%. This made the powers unstable, a fact the H.I.V.E. knew well in advance.

The Ravager attacked the Titans, but his attempts to kill them were interrupted by Deathstroke. Ravager fought alongside Deathstroke, never knowing his fellow mercenary was also his father. Deathstroke was there to save his son’s life, only to be forced into a battle he never wished to wage. Then, tragedy struck. The experiment was a failure, and Grant’s powers proved too taxing for his body. Slade Wilson could only watch as the Ravager – his first born son – died in his arms.

ABOVE: Deathstroke tries to talk his son out of his vendetta in NEW TEEN TITANS #2 [1980].
BELOW: Deathstroke assumes Ravager’s contract – just as the H.I.V.E. planned – in NEW TEEN TITANS #2 [1980]. 

Upon Grant’s death, Slade swore to fulfill his son’s contract and destroy the Teen Titans in his stead. This, of course, was exactly what the H.I.V.E. engineered all along. They planned Grant’s death in order to force Deathstroke into their employ.

The Judas Contract

After failing to fulfill this contract himself, Slade came in contact with a young sociopath with dangerous powers named Tara Markov. Markov had powerful earth-shaping powers, but was emotionally unstable. Full of blind hate, she agreed to work with Slade, acting as a double agent as a member of the Teen Titans, gaining access to all their secrets and weaknesses.

Adeline Kane Wilson soon learned that Slade has co-opted Grant Wilson’s contract to kill the Titans. With the help of Terra, Deathstroke had finally fulfilled the H.I.V.E. contract to deliver the Titans into their hands. Adeline and Joseph surveyed Slade’s activities, and approached Dick Grayson, offering to help rescue the captured Titans. At this time, Joseph first adopted the name Jericho, and fashioned a costume for himself. Nightwing and Jericho successfully freed the kidnapped Titans and brought Slade Wilson to justice. Adeline was quite pleased with herself, as it was her hidden agenda to place Joseph in the Teen Titans.

ABOVE: The shocking final pages of
NEW TEEN TITANS #34 [1983] reveal Terra as a traitor.
BELOW: Terra and Slade plot against the Titans in NEW TEEN TITANS #39 [1984].

Slade’s case was thrown out of court because the prosecutor failed to prove that the Terminator who did the kidnapping was indeed Slade Wilson. Actually, Gar Logan sabotaged the trial so he could destroy Slade Wilson himself. Slade showed up for their ‘final battle’ in his civilian garb, forcing Gar to see him as a man, not a simple vessel for his rage at Terra’s betrayal. The two men parted on truce terms.

Slade saw his freedom as an opportunity to re-examine his life. He took up hunting again in Africa, as his own son joined the Teen Titans as Jericho.

Titans Hunt Tragedy

Months later, Slade became involved with a Titans’ case involving a dangerous plague. He became active again as Deathstroke, and eventually resumed his mercenary activities, with an even stricter code of ethics. Shortly after this, current and former members of the Titans were hunted and kidnapped by the Wildebeest Society. Deathstroke was instrumental in tracking down the captured Titans, with the help of allies Nightwing, Troia, Pantha, Phantasm, Arella and Red Star. Upon locating the captured Titans, the heroes were shocked to learn the identity of the leader of the Wildebeests was Slade’s own gentle son, Joseph Wilson.

Tainted by the corrupted souls of Azarath, the possessed Jericho had taken control of the Wildebeest Society. Now controlled by this force, Jericho sought to acquire superhuman beings as vessels for the souls of Azarath. He used the Wildebeest Society as a front to kidnap the super-powered Titans to act as hosts to the tainted souls of Azarath.

During the soul transfer process, Jericho resurfaced briefly, begging his father to kill him. To spare his son any more pain and save the remaining Titans, Slade Wilson was forced to drive a sword through Jericho, seemingly killing him. Slade now felt responsible for the death of both his sons.

Deathstroke is forced to do the unthinkable in NEW TITANS #83-84 [1992].

Deathstroke continued his life as a mercenary, but also became something of an anti-hero, aiding the Titans or acting on his own to help others. Against his better judgment, Deathstroke agreed to train former cop Pat Trayce, who petitioned to become the new Vigilante. Pat Trayce and Slade quickly became lovers, and began an tumultuous on again/off again relationship.

Deathstroke: The Hunted

After Slade stopped an assassination attempt on the president, he was framed for the murder of a U.S. Senator. As Deathstroke became a hunted fugitive, a new man assuming the identity of the Ravager began to hunt and kill Slade’s friends and loved ones.

It was during the nationwide manhunt for Deathstroke that Slade’s regenerative healing abilities became even more pronounced. After being seemingly killed, Slade awoke in the county morgue very much alive and fully healed from all injuries.

Slade discovers his regenerative healing abilities in DEATHSTROKE #42 [1994].

Eventually, Deathstroke was able to clear his name. Working with Sarge Steel and the New Titans, he proved the assassination attempt was actually a bizarre plan of the Crimelord, Steve Dayton, who was driven insane by the Mento helmet.

Meanwhile, the mysterious new Ravager’s vendetta escalated. The costumed assassin kidnapped Rose Worth, who stood revealed as Slade’s long-lost daughter. Wintergreen rescued Rose in the snow-covered wilderness, but Rose’s mother died at Ravager’s hands. Reunited with his estranged daughter, Slade feared he would not be a good father. He left Rose primarily in the care of Wintergreen, and then, the Titans.

Slade shuns Rose in an effort to keep her safe, from DEATHSTROKE #48 [1995].

The final battle with the newest Ravager revealed his identity as Slade’s jealous half-brother, Wade DeFarge. Adeline Kane was also embroiled in the conflict, haven been driven insane by a blood transfusion from Slade months earlier. Wade gained a surfeit of satisfaction when Adeline Kane received a bullet through her eyes during the confrontation, seemingly killing her. But that same super-human blood transfusion granted her virtual immortality as well. Adeline was presumed dead but would later resurface as the new H.I.V.E. Mistress.

Deathstroke’s own regenerative powers were more heightened than ever, and yielded a strange reaction when the mercenary was engulfed in an explosion at the Capital Dome. Slade Wilson awoke, now regenerated twenty years younger with no memory of his former life. This led him to cut ties with both Pat Trayce and longtime friend, Wintergreen. Shortly after this incident, Slade’s regeneration abilities began to subside, and Slade soon reverted to his true age with all memories intact.

Immortal Coil

Without Wintergreen or Adeline to serve as his moral compass, Deathstroke returned to his mercenary ways, clashing with Nightwing, Batman and Conner Hawke on various occasions. Soon, an encounter with the Titans found Deatshtroke caught between the newly-reformed H.I.V.E. and the villainous group formed by Vandal Savage, Tartarus.

During the battle, Slade discovered that his ex-wife Addie had secretly become the new H.I.V.E. Mistress. She was still quite mad from his blood transfusion and sought to rid the world from all super-humans, whom she blamed for her sons’ deaths. Meanwhile, the anti-Titans group known as Tartarus was tracking Adeline Kane for their own purposes; Tartarus leader Vandal Savage sought to harvest Addie’s regenerative blood to create an immortality serum.

Addie as the H.I.V.E. Mistress meets her end in TITANS #12 [2000].

The Titans – with the help of Deathstroke – tracked Tartarus to Zandia and found themselves in a dangerous three-way battle for their lives.

Savage slit Addie’s throat in an attempt to synthesize her regenerative blood into an immortality serum. Addie, drained of her super-powered blood, was brain dead and suffering. To prevent Vandal Savage’s plan, Starfire fired a starbolt at Addie, killing her as a gesture of mercy.

This left Slade to mourn the death of his ex-wife.

Lost Children

Deathstroke later discovered the spirit of his son, Jericho, had survived and taken refuge deep inside his body. With the help of Wintergreen, Deathstroke attempted to exorcise his son’s corrupted soul from him, but was quickly overpowered. Jericho murdered Wintergreen and embarked on a hunt for the newly-formed Teen Titans.

Jericho confronted the Teen Titans as Deathstroke, vowing to prevent kids from becoming costumed adventurers. During the battle, Jericho revealed himself to the Titans and body-jumped from Titan to Titan, until his corrupted spirit was repelled by Raven. Jericho was eventually trapped by Cyborg’s mechanical eye, as he downloaded Jericho’s essence into a computer disk.

Meanwhile, Deathstroke had recruited a new ally to forge as a weapon in his crusade: his daughter, Rose Wilson. Slade kidnapped Rose and pumped her full of the same chemicals that transformed him into Deathstroke. But those chemicals damaged Rose’s mind. In an attempt to emulate her father, the daughter of Deathstroke gouged out her own eye.

ABOVE: Deathstroke and Daughter in TEEN TITANS (third series) #11 [2004].
BELOW: Driven crazy by the Deathstroke serum, Rose gouges out her own eye in
TEEN TITANS (third series) #12 [2004].

Rose – who adopted the identity of Ravager – later returned to sanity and joined the Teen Titans. And Slade Wilson found himself truly alone once more. Later, Raven successfully brought back Jericho by using one of Brother Blood’s resurrection rituals, cleansing him of any evil influence.

Angry at the Titans for ‘taking’ his children from him, Deathstroke organized his own Titans East team, composed of ne’er-do-well teens. Their mission: Take down the Titans and reclaim Ravager and Jericho. The mission was a failure, and it only resulted in cementing Deathstroke’s offspring as trusted members of the Titans. In truth, that was Slade’s true objective; He knew the Titans would provide his children with a better family than he ever could.

Titans: Villains For Hire

On the eve of a world-ending crisis, Geo-Force sought revenge against Deathstroke for his role in Terra’s death. The two men fought savagely and nearly killed each other. In the wake of this near-death experience, Slade Wilson was determined to give himself a clean slate. Escaping incarceration, Slade left his mercenary approach behind him and vowed to walk his own path, free of contracts and client obligations.

During the cosmic event known as The Blackest Night, the dead were imbued with Black Lantern energy and proceeded to attack and torment the living. Slade and Rose Wilson were forced to team up in an effort to stave off the zombie incursion. Miraculously healed and seemingly sane, Jericho made a surprising return to aid his family – and elected to remain at his father’s side. In the wake of this morbid encounter, Ravager became convinced Sweet Lili was still alive – since she was the one family connection that did not return as a Black Lantern. Armed with this knowledge, Rose Wilson vowed to find her missing mother.

Deathstroke then established a new team of Titans to suit his own mysterious agenda. He exploited this collection of lost souls – including Cinder, the Tattooed Man, Osiris, Cheshire and Arsenal – as meta-humans for hire. The team’s true purpose was later revealed, as each mission served to create a life-restoring Methuselah Device.

Deathstroke used the technology to restore his son, Jericho, and offered Cheshire and Arsenal the opportunity to try and resurrect their deceased daughter. Cheshire was willing to accept the devil’s bargain, but Arsenal was reluctant to use the macabre machine. Arsenal then rallied Tattooed Man, Jericho and Cinder to challenge Deathstroke’s leadership and dismantle the Methuselah Device.  While Deathstroke fled, Arsenal and Jericho vowed to restart the Titans and restore their good name.


 Powers & Abilities


Slade Wilson is capable of using 90% of his brain capacity, making him a master tactician. He also has heightened strength, agility, stamina and reflexes. In addition, he has rapid-healing powers that make him virtually immortal. Slade also has years of combat training. He is above average in hand to hand combat and is skilled in use of all kinds of weaponry.

A 2003 Deathstroke commission by Sergio Cariello.

TT

Essential Reading


New Teen Titans #2 [1980]: The H.I.V.E. seeks to destroy the New Teen Titans and gives Grant Wilson powers that make him the Ravager; His father, Deathstroke the Terminator, joins in on the attack against the Titans, but the Ravager is killed due to a side effect of his powers: the Terminator takes up his son’s contract with the H.I.V.E.; First appearance of Deathstroke, Wintergreen and the Ravager. First appearance of Trigon.
New Teen Titans #10 [1981]: The Terminator sets up the Titans by kidnapping Sarah Simms and supposedly kills the Titans with a Promethium bomb, but these same Titans arrive to stop his plans; Changeling is badly wounded by the Terminator during the course of the battle.
New Teen Titans #34 [1983]: The Terminator holds a stockbroker hostage in exchange for the Titans; Terra and the Titans battle him, with Terra coming out looking like the hero; She later meets with the Terminator, revealing herself as his accomplice in his contract with the H.I.V.E.
New Teen Titans #39 [1984]: Terra and the Terminator plot the fall of the Titans. Wally West decides to quit being Kid Flash, leaves his ring and costume with the Titans, and returns to Blue Valley; Dick Grayson gives up his Robin identity, turning Titan leadership over to Wonder Girl; Terra’s contact lens camera relays Robin’s and Kid Flash’s civilian identities to the Terminator.
Tales of the Teen Titans #42-44, Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3 [1984]: Terra gives her collected information on the Titans to Deathstroke, who captures each of the teen heroes and delivers them to the H.I.V.E., except Dick Grayson. Joseph and Adeline Wilson confront Dick at Titans’ Tower, telling him of Terra’s association with the Terminator, who brings the Titans to the H.I.V.E.’s Rocky Mountain headquarters. Dick Grayson learns the origin of The Terminator and about the accident that made his son Joseph a mute; Dick becomes Nightwing and agrees to let Adeline and Joseph accompany him to the H.I.V.E. base after Joseph takes the identity of Jericho and “possesses” him. They help free the Titans, but not before Terra kills herself. This event is catalogued as “The Judas Contract.” First Dick Grayson as Nightwing in issue #44. First appearance of Joe Wilson in issue #42, as Jericho in issue #44. Death of Terra in Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3.
Tales of the Teen Titans #54-55 [1985]: The Terminator is put on trial, with Judge Adrian Chase presiding; The Terminator is sentenced to a year in jail, where an enraged Changeling attacks him; After a second confrontation, the two part company on speaking terms; Slade Wilson considers retiring.
New Titans #71-84 [1990-1992]: The Wildebeests Hunt the Titans one by one; Steve Dayton calls on Deathstroke to help find them. Deathstroke and Dayton begin the search for the Titans. The group discovers Jericho is the Wildebeest leader. Jericho reveals that he is/are the Souls of Azarath, looking for mortal forms to host the Trigon-tainted souls. Jericho pleads with his father to end the madness, forcing Deathstroke to drive a sword through his son, killing him. Death of Jericho.
Deathstroke: The Terminator #10-11 [1992]: Pat Trayce leaves her job as a detective behind her and decides to become the new Vigilante. She asks Deathstroke to train her; he initially refuses but later accepts. Deathstroke trains Pat in the arts of urban warfare and the two become lovers. Thus begins a tumultuous on again/off again relationship.
Deathstroke: The Hunted #0, 41-45[1994-1995]: THE HUNTED STORYLINE. Deathstroke is implicated in a presidential assassination attempt, making him a wanted man. Crimelord plots against Slade. Addie Kane begins a vengeance campaign against Pat Trayce.The Ravager holds Rose hostage & reveals Slade is her father. The Titans hunt and capture Deathstroke; Wintergreen rescues Rose Wilson but Sweet Lili [Rose’s mother] dies. Slade learns he is immortal. Hunted storyline concludes with issue #45. First appearance of Ravager III in issue #41. Death of Sweet Lili in issue #45.
Deathstroke #50 [1995]: New Titans appear to stop the Crimelord. Working with Sarge Steel and Checkmate, Slade is able to prove that the assassination attempt was actually a plan of the Crimelord, Steve Dayton. Dayton wants to replace all the world leaders with clones, under his control. Also, the now-insane Dayton wants to merge his essence to cyberspace. Deathstroke thwarts his plan and clears his name. Dayton is left floating somewhere in the void of cyberspace. Wade DeFarge is revealed as the Ravager.
Deathstroke Annual #4 [1995]: a YEAR ONE of Deathstroke; the third Ravager revealed as Slade’s half-brother, Wade DeFarge; Wade relates how his hatred for his half-brother grew over the years [a flashback featuring Joe and Grant Wilson and Addie Kane is related]; Addie, now insane, dons the Vigilante costume and joins the fray, only to be shot between the eyes. Addie seemingly dies then rises in a morgue; Deathstroke defeats Ravager, who is brought into custody. Deathstroke believes Addie has died. A back-up story features Rose Wilson: Sarge Steel wonders about the hellion he has assumed custody of; Rose sneaks out against orders and runs into some street thugs.
Deathstroke #59-60 [1996]: On a routine mission with Vigilante, Slade is caught in yet another explosion, this time involving volatile chemicals. The explosion ‘kills’ Slade and triggers another regeneration. After that incident, Slade’s actions become somewhat erratic, and he cuts ties with both Pat Trayce and Wintergreen, claiming they are no longer part of his life, since he did not remember them. So Pat Trayce continues running Vigilance, Inc., with Wintergreen as her right hand man. Wintergreen suspects that this second explosion restored Slade’s memory, since details of his past life crept up in idle conversation. Knowing that Slade must have his reasons for cutting ties with he and Pat, Wintergreen respects this unspoken request from Slade, and gives him his space.
Titans #10-12 [1999-2000]: “Immortal Coil”: Changeling and Deathstroke guest-star as Tartarus (introduced in Secret Origins of Super-Villains 80-Page Giant #1) attacks the H.I.V.E. The newly formed super-villain team of Tartarus takes on the H.I.V.E., with the Titans caught in the middle. Cyborg faces the ultimate test of his loyalty when the immortal Vandal Savage offers him a human body to call his own. As the battles with Vandal Savage’s villain team, Tartarus, and the malevolent H.I.V.E. heat up, the Titans are at odds…with one another. Adeline Kane revealed to be the HIVE Mistress in issue #11 and dies in issue #12. Red Panzer killed in #12 and replaced with a HIVE agent. Damien Darhk becomes immortal in issue #12.
Teen Titans #2-5 [2003]: Deathstroke mounts the severed head of his trusted friend, Wintergreen before hunting down the latest group of Teen Titans, vowing to prevent them from putting young people in danger. “Deathstroke” reveals himself as Jericho, whose spirit was dormant within Deathstroke for years. Jericho battles the Titans, but disappears after attempting to possess Raven. Death of Wintergreen revealed in issue #2. Jericho revealed alive in issue #3.
Teen Titans #43-46 [2006]: Led by Deathstroke, a Teen Titans East team consisting of Batgirl, Risk, Match, Kid Crusader, Enigma, Joker’s Daughter, Sun Girl and Inertia clash with the Teen Titans. Titans East fails, and it only results in cementing Deathstroke’s offspring as trusted members of the Titans. In truth, that was Slade’s true objective; He knew the Titans would provide his children with a better family than he ever could. First appearance of Titans East. First appearances of Kid Crusader and Sun Girl in issue #43.
Teen Titans #77-78 [2009]: Ravager is forced to team up with Deatshtroke when they are both attacked by their dead friends and relatives – now risen as zombie Black Lanterns. Miraculously healed and seemingly sane, Jericho makes a surprising return to aid his family – and elects to remain at his father’s side. Ravager is convinced her mother is still alive, since she was the one family connection that did not return as a Black Lantern. With this new information, Rose Wilson vows to find her missing mother.
Titans: Villains For Hire Special #1 [2009]: It’s a new team and direction for the Titans! Deathstroke and his mercenary team including Cheshire, Tattooed Man and other surprise members burst out of BRIGHTEST DAY #0! Get in on the ground floor here as the team is hired to assassinate The Atom! And for this team, failure is not an option!
Titans #24-25 [2010]: The TITANS ongoing series returns with a new direction that ties into BRIGHTEST DAY! We saw what Deathstroke and his team of mercenaries did in the TITANS: VILLAINS FOR HIRE SPECIAL #1, and it was a dark day for the Justice League of America. Hopefully their next target fares better. Good luck, Lex Luthor!

TT

A 2004 Deathstroke commission by Steve Erwin.

TT

 Marv Wolfman on Deathstroke


“Deathstrokes”
By KIM HOWARD JOHNSON [From Comic Scene #24, February 1991]


Deathstroke, the Terminator visits Gotham City How long will he stay? That’s up to the Batman – and Marv Wolfman.

Although Deathstroke, the Terminator has been around for over a decade, he’s now the newest, hottest action hero in comics. With his non-Comics Code-approved solo series barely half-a-year old, the Terminator faces an active future. beginning with a four-parter costarring the Batman.

“Terminator is wanted by the CIA in the current storyline,” says co-creator Marv Wolfman. “Jericho [of The New Titans] has been killed by Terminator, his own father, in a scene that’s just gorgeous, the way Tom Grummett drew it. So, issue #5 saw the Terminator try to make amends with Addle, his ex-wife, who never wants to see him again. He leaves Wintergreen, the calming influence on him, behind, and wants nothing to do with anybody.”

A criminal gang in Gotham City wants him to kill a turncoat/informer, but “Terminator turns them down. Then, the Mob wants to wipe him out, so he does go after the informer. A Gotham policeman is killed,” says Wolfman. “Now, Terminator is wanted by the Gotham police, too, and they call in the Batman.”

The next year will see Slade Wilson (the title character) involved in a variety of storylines.

“We’re gonna keep moving in different ways. In the next few months, Terminator will be hunted by virtually everybody in the DC Universe,” Wolfman says. “He’s gonna be caught and imprisoned. We don’t have to worry about secret identities. because he doesn’t have one. He wears a mask, but that’s a professional thing. People do know who he is and how to get in touch with him.

He’s put behind bars, and unlike any supposed hero, nobody in prison dislikes him. He’s a killer-he doesn’t put away criminals. At the same time, he’s losing all of his extra abilities because of what happens in the Batman storyline.”

When Terminator first appeared in New Teen Titans #2, he was a violent gun-toting mercenary, unafraid to kill. And when DC finally gave him his own title, Wolfman says the character wasn’t softened up to make him more appealing or accessible.

“In fact, I probably hardened him!” the writer says. “When you’re working with other people, you work at their level. Since he had to accomplish the same goals-he wanted to find his son-be had to work with the Titans. Ho needed their abilities. On his own, he doesn’t have to temper himself.”

A Deathstroke poster, by cover artist Mike Zeck

Terminator isn’t your typical comic-book hero, says Wolfman-in fact, he’s not exactly a hero at all.

“I have always viewed him as pretty much what he is-a mercenary. He’s not a superhero. He’s the protagonist of our hook and has a strict moral code, which regular people would probably disagree with completely. If he’s attacked, he kills. He’s a mercenary, and he takes on jobs as a soldier of fortune. I guess that’s legal. unless you get caught by the other side! That’s the way he has made his money.”

He achieved popularity with his first appearance. Nevertheless, it has taken several years for Deathstroke the series to begin.

“It’s strange, because when I created the character with George [Pérez) back in Titans #2, we knew we had something. Dick Giordano thought the character should have stood on his own; that’s how strong he was. We had done several stories that indicated this was a powerful character and could probably get his own book. This eventually became [Titans editor) Jonathan Peterson’s idea. We did the pilot in Titans #70, which was a way of reminding people who the Terminator was, since he hadn’t appeared in years. Reaction was so good that we made a regular series out of it.”

Although some have drawn comparisons between Terminator and Marvel’s Punisher, the writer says there are few similarities.

“We got this an awful lot before the book came out,” he observes. “Obviously, Punisher was in the ’70s, and Terminator was created in 1980, but Terminator, in my mind, is very clearly a mercenary. Punisher is a mob-hunter. They have completely different reasons for existing, and it’s essentially the difference between a soldier and a policeman. Granted, they’re freelancers, but one goes after the mob, and the other takes on jobs for hire.

“From what I’ve read of The Punisher, Vigilante, which I did, was much closer, but when we did Vigilante, there was no Punisher comic book. The other difference is that the stories are not personal stories in The Punisher. All of the stories in Deathstroke are personal. They’re about him, they’re about the people he cares about; there’s a love interest. To me, Slade Wilson is a vitally interesting character. He’s more interesting than (his alter ego) Deathstroke, who’s more of a hired gun. Slade Wilson’s a real person. The character in The Punisher exists solely to be the Punisher-his sole purpose is to wipe out bad guys.”

One problem Wolfman continually faces is writing a lead character who isn’t really a nice guy.
“I think Slade can be likable. Terminator isn’t,” he says. “Slade is certainly a social animal-that’s another difference between him and the Punisher-I can’t even remember the Punisher’s real name (Frank Castle), even though I wrote one or two back in Spider-Man, when he still used mercy bullets. Slade can be a very social and sexual character. He’s a person who has needs, desires and everything. On the other hand, Terminator is a mercenary. He can be a very likable person in a job that most of us would find repulsive.”

Wolfman isn’t sure why Terminator is so popular, but he says they knew the character was a success from the beginning.

“Frankly, when we started him in 1980. we knew we had something with him. Readers have always liked the character. He has always gotten the best mail of the Titans. I used him very sparingly because 1 saw he was so strong that I didn’t want to overuse him as a supporting character,” Wolfman explains. “I saw him as too strong for the book; he would eclipse everybody else-and he has done just that! To brag a little bit, I think it was one of those times that we came up with a nearly perfect creation, and you can’t plan those. This character just sang the moment he was created, and we all knew it.

“Deathstroke, the Terminator is a book that I really enjoy doing,” Wolfman says. “I did Jon Sable for a while, simply because I love writing international stories. The blend I currently have writing Titans and Terminator is a phenomenal one, because I get to write several genres that I enjoy doing.

“I love doing the type of realistic, gritty stuff that Terminator affords,” enthuses Marv Wolfman. “And I like writing the fantasy stuff with the Titans, too. It’s not like I’m writing the same book, and that’s important.”

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A Deathstroke commission by Mike McKone.

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 Geoff Johns on Deathstroke


Geoff Johns on Deathstroke & Jericho
[from Titans Companion 2, by TwoMorrows Publishing – 2008]

TTC: In your second issue, you used Deathstroke as the villain, just as Marv and George did over twenty years before. Was that intentional? 

GJ: I felt that the first arc of Titans had to have Deathstroke as the villain. He’s the best Titans villain there is, so if you want the Titans to launch off big, they should face off against their biggest villain.

TTC: Who is Slade Wilson to you?

GJ: Slade Wilson is a guy who, since the beginning, has tried to be the emotionless, straight contract killer that we saw him first portrayed as, and then he lost his son, and it became personal to him. Even though he says it’s not, he’s gotta finish his son’s contract and take out the Teen Titans, and since that point, his family has always interacted with the Teen Titans, whether it be Jericho or his daughter Ravager. Deathstroke is somebody who’s intertwined, and his family’s become intertwined, with this group, so he’s somebody who’s always going to feel a connection to the team, even if he doesn’t want to.

TTC: You also used your first storyline to bring back Jericho. Did you see his death as a mistake?

GJ: No, I never saw it as a mistake. I thought it was a great storyline. I know Marv has said some different things about it, but I thought it was a great storyline. “Titans Hunt”to me was fantastic when I was reading it, but Jericho’s death never felt like it was the wrong thing to do. I did think, though, the reason I used him [was] because it fit right in with the story. He had motivation for the story.

He had a great power to have the Titans fight off against each other which I really liked, and eventually when I brought him back into a new body, I did so strictly because I felt that Ravager would have somebody great to bounce off of on the Titans group. She would have an older brother who would suddenly be this calming force on this wild kid, and a brother and sister on the Titans, I thought, would be a really interesting dynamic. I left the book, unfortunately, almost as soon as he came back, and they decided to move the character onto somewhere else.

TTC: Did you have those plans in mind when you first brought him back?

GJ: Well, no. When I first brought him back, I knew I was going to use him again because I thought, again, his power makes him such an interesting force, because he can be anybody, and then when Ravager became a mainstay in the Titans group, and she had her attitude and really got in there, and just got down and dirty, I had plans on bringing Jericho back then because I thought it would really be an interesting foil for her. We could have some great character interaction.

ABOVE: Daughter and Deatshtroke face off in a commission by Mike McKone.
BELOW: It’s all about family, in a commission by Steve Erwin,
from the collection of TarcísioAquino.

Geoff Johns on Rose Wilson as Ravager
[from Titans Companion 2, by TwoMorrows Publishing – 2008]

TTC: You mentioned how you used Titans # 1/2 to bring in Ravager. What is it about that character that appeals to you?

GJ: That’s one character, like Superboy, I always [liked. I always] had ideas for Superboy, even when I was reading comics. Rose Wilson was another character I always liked in comic books, and I always thought she’d be a great Titan. I always wanted to see Deathstroke’s daughter, a la Deathstroke Jr., in a costume on the team. I just thought she’d bring some real good dynamics to it, and I think she has.

TTC:You ended that storyline with her cutting out her own eye.

GJ: Yup.

TTC: What was the reaction when you told Eddie and Mike that was what you wanted to do?

GJ: They were like, “Awww!” Their reaction was cool. It was exactly what I wanted. I wanted people to turn away, and show how far this girl had gone, how messed up she really was.

TTC: Was it always your intention that her father was drugging her?

GJ: Yeah.

[…]

TTC: The villain of “Titans East” was also Deathstroke. He was there at the start of your run, and he was there at the end. Was that intentional symmetry?

GJ: You know what? Not really, because I had him in the Teen Titans, and I had always intended to go through fifty. So I set Deathstroke up for “Titans East,” and

I had actually planned to do “Titans East” all by myself, and then, again, things got so hectic, I felt that it would be better to pass the baton off to somebody else, and let them finish the storyline and take over the book.

TTC: Deathstroke’s entire motivation for Titans East centered around the idea of family.  Is that what the Titans are about to you?

GJ: Yes. Most of these teams are, to me, about family, ’cause you can’t hang out with a bunch of people and not [get close]. You know, it’s really friends. I mean, the Titans [are] friends, but to Deathstroke, it’s family, and like I said before, his family’s completely intertwined with the Titans. He did all this, and at the end, I always knew the reveal was Deathstroke just wanted to ingratiate his son and daughter into the Titans even further, because he felt that they were a good place for them, because he couldn’t be the father they needed.

 

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A 1996 Deathstroke commission by George Pérez.

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 Creators on Deathstroke


Marv Wolfman: “The reason Slade is a good character is because he is a character,” Wolfman asserts. “He has depth. He has morality, and that morality is not a typical one. I like characters who are heavily shaded in gray.” –

“But that moral ambiguity doesn’t make Deathstroke any less compelling. “I think Slade’s ambiguous nature as well as not being sure what he’ll do next makes him someone you want to follow,” maintains Wolfman. “His relationship with his ex-wife, his friends and co-workers is more than just another ‘Man on a Mission’ comic. He’s not out to stop the mob. He’s not out to stop evil. You hire Slade, he does his job. Unfortunately, his own life gets in the middle of things and mucks it all up.”

“Actually, I never thought of Deathstroke as a villain or bad guy.” Wolfman says in justification of this decision. “I thought of him as someone who was put into a bad situation and couldn’t find a way out so he kept getting deeper and deeper into the hole he was digging around himself.

“I think one of the best Deathstroke stories was one I did in Titans called ‘Shades of Gray’ where he and Changeling go to a diner and just talk. I think that showed who Deathstroke was. I’m not comfortable with him being a mega-villain. As for how he acted after Terra—well, he was in the early process of redeeming himself.I think of Terra as the manipulator, not Deathstroke. She was his means of getting out of the HIVE quagmire he was in. He was her means at getting revenge against the world.”

George Pérez: “The Terminator, my favorite of the TITANS’ villains, because I really liked the idea of the strong, massive-yet-debonair older man. The fact that he’s definitely a man in his fifties, but he’s strong as an ox, very handsome, very polished – you can understand, again, a sexual appeal. I’m very big on sexual appeal of characters – particularly males. Since all the men are big and muscular, to show a bit of sexuality in them, that’s a tough thing to do. The fact that the Titans have developed – we’ve gotten mail from women who think that Terminator is sexy as all hell. And that’s great. That’s the feeling I wanted.”

Jonathan Peterson, Titans/Deathstroke editor: “Well, going back to the history lesson. Issue 70 came out and was a hit. And to Dick’s credit, we actually greenlit DEATHSTROKE behind the scenes before the book even shipped. In fact, I recall going into Dick’s office with only the first 12 pages and saying “This is what it is…this is what it’ll look like… please let me do this.” And Dick, who trusted my judgment, said “Okay. Looks good to me. Go for it.”

“So since I was so high on Deathstroke and pushing him, and was looking to give him his own book, I then turned to Marv and said “Look, you’re going to be writing this new monthly about the guy… clearly he’s popular…so let’s use him to a core degree in the Titans revamp story as well. In short, let’s cram him down the readers throats to REALLY get the character out there again.”

 


Sources for this entry: DC Who’s Who Series, DC Who’s Who Binder Series, The Official Teen Titans Index [published byICG in 1985], The New Titans Sourcebook [Mayfair Games, 1990], DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [ West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author


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