- "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."
Slade Wilson, or commonly referred to as Deathstroke the Terminator or simply Deathstroke, is known to be the most dangerous assassin in the world. 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 had a long running feud with Nightwing in particular. He is also the father of Rose Wilson.
Slade 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.
Deathstroke was later 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 arch nemesis. The character's backstory is also retconned as a member of Team 7.
Deathstroke appears briefly during the The War of Jokers and Riddles as one the combatants hired by the Riddler. Batman recalls he fought Deadshot, who'd been hired by the Joker, over a span of five days, during which they killed at least 62 civilians. The fight ended when Batman finally intervened.
Deathstroke was also the assassins apparently hired by the Designer to attack Gotham City, alongside Cheshire, Merlyn, Gunsmith and Mr. Teeth. The group attacked Gotham in a recreation of a plan the mastermind had created with the Penguin. Deathstroke was the final assassin to be defeated by Batman, though was forced to work with the Dark Knight to capture Riddler. After defeating the Designer, Batman learned that they had been hired by the Joker as a distraction for him whilst he stole assets from Wayne Enterprises. Deathstroke escaped by stabbing Batman in the leg and fled Gotham with the other assassins, hoping to avoid becoming involved in the conflict.
Powers and Abilities
Meta-Human Physiology: He 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.He immediately solves any problem he happens to face and instantly formulates how to overcome any obstacle. He can understand the mechanics behind any issue he faces and knows what must be done to solve any problem
- 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, bruises, 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.
- Master Marksman: Having been trained by the military, and others Deathstroke is an expert with guns and other ranged weapons. He's one of DC's top ten marksmen
- Weapon Master: He can use every type of blade, firearm, explosive and heavy military weapons like pistols, shotguns, automatic rifles, sniper rifles, grenades, tasers, and rocket launchers. He uses also knives, shurikens, throwing knives, swords, sticks, staffs, and batarangs and can even turn something as simple as a pen into a deadly weapon.
- Skilled Swordsman: Slade has been shown to be skilled enough to masterfully use a sword and completely annihilate multiple adversaries at a time.
Expert Acrobat: In his training, Deathstroke was an expert acrobat and thanks to his enhanced agility, is extremely skilled in its use.
- Genius-Level Intellect: Thanks to his training as a soldier and as an assassin, Slade is well versed in many subjects being able to track down almost anyone and get in anywhere, at any place, at any time.
- Expert Tactician & Strategist: Deathstroke learned to survey his targets before attacking and killing them. He spends long hours scouting targets and assuring that he has the correct strategy to take them down and receive his fee. He is well-versed in military-grade tactics, strategies, and protocols.
- Expert Computer Hacker: Having been heavily taught by the military and others in computers and networks,Slade is easily able to hack in to most security systems and others on a whim.
- Expert Escape Artist: Deathstroke is skilled enough to escape from even the most highly guarded places and vanishes in an instant.
- Multilingualism: Taught by multiple instructors, Slade is fluent in several languages having spoken English, Spanish, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and various others with Russian being his weakest.
- Expert Vehicular Driver: Deathstroke has expertise in evasive driving and combat piloting a variety of vehicles from motorcycles, cars, boats, airplanes, and helicopters to being trained in the military by an ace pilot to fly helicopters and planes.
- Expert Bomb Assembly and Defusal: Taught by the military and others, it is shown that Deathstroke can assemble and disassemble bombs in an expert fashion
- Expert Leader: Deathstroke, while he prefers to work alone, has been shown to be an excellent team leader, and has been able to lead multiple supervillains teams.
- Expert Intimidator: He was able to intimidate Gotham mob bosses and Black Mask. He is also very feared by the thugs on the streets of Gotham. He is also famous in organized crime all around the world for his ruthlessness and brutality. Although Batman has the edge in the 'fear' category, he is still highly intimidating due to his Batman-like mental and physical prowess plus the willingness to kill.
- Indomitable Will: Deathstroke is able to function while tolerating massive amounts of physical pain and won't stop a mission until it's done.
- Master Spy: Due to his military training and later, his assassin training, he is a master of stealth, assassination, espionage, infiltration, disguise, and sabotage. Deathstroke is capable of breaching very high-security facilities with ease and without being detected. He is considered to be the greatest, if not one of the greatest assassins in the world.
In Other Media
- Main article: Deathstroke (Teen Titans)
- Main article: Deathstroke (Beware the Batman)
DC Animated Movie Universe
- Main article: Deathstroke (DC Animated Movie Universe)
Deathstroke appears as the principle antagonist in the 2014 animated movie Son of Batman, voiced by Thomas Gibson. This version depicts him as a member of the League of Assassins and Ra's al Ghul's initial choice as heir. However, he was quickly replaced by Batman and later Damian Wayne. He later appears in Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, voiced by the late Miguel Ferrer.
DC Films Universe
- Main article: Deathstroke (Snyderverse)
Slade made his cinematic debut in the DC Extended Universe in Justice League and its directors cut, portrayed by Joe Manganiello. The character also set to appear in Ben Affleck's version of The Batman and a solo film, though these projects were either postponed or repurposed entirely.
Deathstroke also appears as playable in the fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. His Injustice Universe counterpart is also playable in the game's seventh chapter.
Batman: Arkham Series
- Main article: Deathstroke (DC Animated Universe)
Though he never appeared in the DC Animated Universe shows, Deathstroke appears in the tie-in comic book series Batman: The Adventures Continue. Known as the Deadliest Man on Earth, he is hired by Lex Luthor to assassinate Batman.
- Though widely considered the arch nemesis of Dick Grayson and the Teen Titans, Deathstroke has become increasingly associated the Batman's rogue gallery in recent years. This is primarily due to his frequent appearances in associated media, such as the Batman: Arkham video games and Beware the Batman.
- 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".
- Prior to DC Rebirth, it was heavily suggested that Deathstroke knew Batman's identity. He is fully aware of Dick Grayson's identity, having learned it as part of the Judas Contract, 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 was later made explicit during DC Rebirth's Deathstroke comic book series.
- Though Deathstroke is primarily a foe of Dick Grayson/Nightwing, he has had numerous encounters with other members of the Bat-Family:
- 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.