SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Deathstroke #35, by Christopher Priest, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Andy Owens, Jeromy Cox and Willie Schubert, on sale now.
Since April, readers have been left to ponder whether Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, could actually be the father of Batman’s current Robin, Damian Wayne.
While investigating a robbery, Bruce discovered documents containing the DNA markers for Talia al Ghul and Damian. However, while it was clear that the second subject was “a perfect match for Damian’s father,” it wasn’t Bruce’s DNA profile outlined in the test results – it was Deathstroke’s.
Thus began a months-long feud between the Caped Crusader and the one-eyed assassin, neither of whom seemed all that convinced that Robin’s father was anyone other than Batman. Still, the pair knew someone was trying to place them on a collision course, and while the circumstances behind it were questionable, that didn’t stop them from fighting tooth and nail against one another.
However, in Deathstroke #35, not only is the debate over Damian Wayne’s true parentage finally settled, but we also learn who orchestrated the entire “Deathstroke vs. Batman” conflict.
In Issue #32, it was revealed that Tim Drake was the one who discovered DNA evidence linking Damian to Deathstroke. That evidence was falsified, though, by none other than Damian’s own mother, Talia al Ghul, in an attempt to show Slade what the two of them could have had.
Unfortunately for Talia, it was Tim who stumbled across those documents first, but he hid them away in a safe-deposit box where they would remain until Batman arrived to investigate the aforementioned robbery of the bank where they were held.
And as for Damian’s parentage?
As the issue comes to a close, we find Bruce sitting by the fire when Alfred arrives with one final DNA test for good measure. However, as Bruce grabs the envelope, he has second thoughts about opening it.
“No matter what’s in this envelope… he’s my son, Alfred,” Bruce says while tossing the envelope into the fire. “That’s it.”
Nevertheless, as the envelope begins to burn, we get a brief glimpse of the contents, which confirm what Bruce has known all along: Damian truly is his son.
What we still don’t know, though, is if this is the end of Talia’s infatuation with Deathstroke. However, based on the open-ended manner in which the pair’s meeting ends, Batman and Robin could have their hands full once more at some point in the near future.