SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Deathstroke #30, by Christopher Priest, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Jermoy Cox and Willie Schubert, on sale now.
Back in January, readers learned that Deathstroke #30 would introduce some deadly daddy drama into the DC Universe with the start of the six-part “Deathstroke vs. Batman” storyline. Billed as “The ultimate custody battle” between “the World’s Greatest Detective and the World’s Deadliest Assassin,” all we knew at the time was that the Dark Knight would somehow discover DNA evidence proving Damian’s true father was not Bruce Wayne, but rather Slade Wilson.
Is that really the case, though? Or is someone using Bruce’s family to pit him and Slade against one another in an attempt to eliminate them both in one fell swoop?
While investigating a robbery at the Emirates Bank, Commissioner Gordon hands Batman an envelope he discovered in a safe-deposit box belonging to a man named Bernie Chua – an envelope that’s personally addressed to the Dark Knight, himself. Inside, Bruce finds documents from Biogen Labs containing the DNA markers for Talia al Ghul, and, of course, Damian. However, while Bruce can clearly see that the second subject is “a perfect match for Damian’s father,” it’s not his DNA profile outlined in the test results.
As Alfred is quick to point out, it could be that the documents were forged. After all, Bruce had conducted his own DNA test in the past that yielded positive results. Still, never one to write off a mystery, the World’s Greatest Detective decides to investigate the matter further, which ultimately places Deathstroke directly in his crosshairs.
After wrestling each other into a stalemate, Batman presents Deathstroke with the DNA test, believing he planted it in Chua’s safe-deposit box to send him a message. Much to his surprise, though, Slade had nothing to do with the documents ending up in Batman’s hands, although, as he confesses, it isn’t the first time he’s laid his eyes (or rather, eye) on them. Still, even with the apparent evidence in-hand, Slade remains adamant that the results are fake.
“Genius,” Slade says, believing he now knows what’s really going on. “Someone’s setting us on a collision course. Who benefits from that? Talia? Ra’s? Talk to them.” However, Batman isn’t as content with simply sweeping the situation under the rug as his longtime rival, and he threatens to impede all of Deathstroke’s illicit activities until he discovers the truth. Slade’s no pushover, though, and he refuses to give the Dark Knight even an inch, instead opting to dish out a few threats of his own.
As the issue comes to a close, the two equally stubborn, yet diametrically different masked men part ways, but it doesn’t take the World’s Greatest Detective to realize Batman’s investigation is far from over. The real question, though, is whether he’ll be happy with what he finds at the end of that road, or if he should instead take Slade’s parting words to heart: “Ignorance is bliss.”