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Slade Runner: 15 Dark Facts You Never Knew About Deathstroke

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Slade Runner: 15 Dark Facts You Never Knew About Deathstroke

Slade Joseph Wilson, otherwise known as Deathstroke the Terminator, is destined to break out in a starring big screen role. First appearing in New Teen Titans #2, Deathstroke long ago cemented his place in the DC Universe as one of its most ruthless killers. While he’s known for fighting the Teen Titans and occasionally slugging it out with the Justice League, Slade is above all else, a mercenary. He’ll work for just about anybody and kill anyone for the right price. Maintaining a rigid code, Deathstroke typically isn’t interested in killing people if a paycheck isn’t involved. Sure, he’ll slaughter anyone who seeks him out, but his code keeps him in check.

RELATED: The 15 Most Shocking Teen Titans Costume Changes

Deathstroke maintains a soldier-like mentality and strategizes on how to beat his opponents. Using over 90% of his brain, he can outthink Batman or practically anyone. Though Slade is a villain and serves himself first and foremost, he’s occasionally fought alongside heroes too. Don’t let his moments of heroism fool you. Deathstroke is a bad guy, who, every once in a while, does good things. The list of atrocities he’s committed means he’s not going to heaven anytime in the next century. Here at CBR we’re looking at 15 of the darkest facts surrounding Deathstroke, the Terminator.


his origin was tragic

Slade Wilson’s backstory actually is somewhat reminiscent of Captain America’s, albeit many times more tragic. At the age of 16, Slade joined the army, having faked his real age. For a time he fought in Korea, until he was relocated to Camp Washington where he met his future wife, Adeline Kane. Adeline was quickly smitten by Slade and they married soon after. Following their marriage, an officer offered him a chance at a program to augment his adrenal glands in order to resist truth serums; Slade couldn’t help but apply.

Of course the program was a ruse, as it was actually a super soldier program. The surgery went bad and Slade fell into a coma. When he woke, he had superhuman abilities, but his mental faculties weren’t all there. Flash forward a bit, his son Jericho had his throat slashed, and Slade’s wife shot him in the face.


grant deathstroke kill

Deathstroke has a nasty habit of running swords through his sons. When DC Comics decided to reboot their history with the New 52, many characters received slight alterations to their origins, Deathstroke included. One of the more specific changes involved his son, Grant Wilson. At some point Slade was led to believe that Grant was killed in a battle over in North Korea.

In actuality, Grant survived, went crazy, became a full fledged supervillain, and tried to orchestrate his father’s death by hiring tons of villains to fight him and tire him down so he could swoop in for the kill. Though Grant gets the opportunity, he decided to walk away. He meets his father once more after trying to kill his brother Jericho, but Deathstroke kills Grant instead.


rose wilson eye

The youngest of the Wilson children, Rose Wilson was born to a mother named Lillian Worth (or Adeline Wilson depending on the history) who Slade met while on a search and rescue mission. Though Rose initially kept away from her father, she was abducted and tortured by her uncle who told her Deathstroke was her dad. After that little trauma, Rose made her way to her dad and he apologized for abandoning her.

Things took a darker turn when he suggested she be his apprentice and started injecting her repeatedly with the serum that gave him abilities. It made her go mad and after Deathstroke expressed doubts about her readiness to work with him and how he planned to disown her, Rose gouged out her own eye to match his missing eye as a show of fealty. Great parenting, Slade!


Deathstroke and Terra

Without a doubt, Deathstroke hates the Teen Titans probably more than any other superhero or superhero group. His early days were made up of constantly trying to kill them. The Teen Titans for their part, a group of teens no less, defeated Deathstroke countless times until the Terminator figured he’d had enough. In arguably his biggest display of depravity, he recruited Tara Markov, the 15-year-old younger sister to the superhero Geo-Force, and sent her to infiltrate the Teen Titans.

She served as his spy, feeding him information, but the worst part of it all was that Deathstroke opted to sleep with her multiple times. While it was to psychologically manipulate Terra and bind her to him, it doesn’t erase the lecherousness and the disgusting nature of the deed. Regardless, it worked…at least until Terra went bonkers and killed herself.


his wife shot him in the eye

One of Deathstroke’s most recognizable physical characteristics is the lack of an eye. Thanks to Arrow over on the CW, many casual fans believe Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, was responsible for impairing Slade’s vision. That’s not how it actually happened in comic book canon. After being denied the ability to re-enlist in the army, Slade decided to become a mercenary in secret so his wife wouldn’t find out. However, a rival mercenary called the Jackal learned about Slade and his family’s whereabouts, kidnapped his son, Jericho, and blackmailed Slade.

Deathstroke, not one for blackmail, didn’t back down from the threat. So the Jackal slashed his son’s throat, rendering Jericho mute. After everything was said and done, his wife, not at all amused, shot Deathstroke in the eye in an attempt to murder the cold-hearted villain. Even with his healing abilities, his eye inexplicably never returned.


deathstroke kills atom

During the ‘90s, Deathstroke went through a dramatic change as he joined his hated enemies the Teen Titans in an effort to better himself. The stint lasted longer than anyone expected, but eventually Deathstroke went back to his mercenary ways. Years later, after “Blackest Night”, Deathstroke formed his own Titans team during the “Villains For Hire” story arc, where he enlisted multiple villains.

Assembling the Tattooed Man, Osiris, and Cheshire, they were paid to take jobs and kill whoever needed killing. It was usually in the name of making the world a better place. It worked theory, but then Deathstroke went and killed Ryan Choi, the fourth individual to take up the mantle of the Atom. Once that happened, superheroes went gunning for him and Deathstroke disbanded his misfit team.



During the Identity Crisis miniseries, Sue Dibny, the wife of the Elongated Man ends up murdered. The Justice League remembers the last time she was attacked was at the hands of Doctor Light in the Justice League Watchtower. In an effort to get some answers, they hunt him down.

The League, now made up of Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Hawkman, Elongated Man, the Atom, Black Canary, the Flash, Zatanna and Green Arrow, find Light, only to discover Deathstroke is protecting him. The League attacks Deathstroke, but the master tactician systematically defeats them one by one until it’s just him and Kyle. Immediately grabbing Rayer’s hand, Deathstroke breaks the Green Lantern’s fingers, trying to wrest control of the powerful ring. Deathstroke probably would have won the day, but Rayner resisted long enough for his friends to get their second wind and dog-pile on top of Slade.


impulse kneecap

After Jericho possessed Deathstroke and had him kill his beat friend Wintergreen, the insane spirit then urged Slade Wilson to go after the new members of Teen Titans. While it’s an effort on Jericho’s point to drive home the idea that kids shouldn’t be superheroes, by now his good intentions have been muddied by a complete lack of any and all reason.

In Teen Titans #2, the young heroes are going through some infighting, as they still can’t get along, since they recently became a team. However, their squabbles are put aside when a series of explosions go off over at Alcatraz. The young heroes go to help whoever they can. When they arrive, Bart Allen, who’s going by Impulse, rushes off to see who he can help. When he’s alone, he falls for a trap laid by Jericho/Deathstroke, who then shoots Bart in the knee with a shotgun.


he nearly killed batman

Many believe Batman is virtually unbeatable. Over the years, it’s true that Batman’s prowess has become more and more ridiculous to the point where he can somehow go toe-to-toe with the likes of Superman. Deathstroke has proved time and again Batman is not invincible. It was an education Batman himself unfortunately learned in 1991’s “City of Assassins” story arc.

Deathstroke is investigating a series of murders, but Batman thinks that even if Slade isn’t responsible, things will get worse if he’s left unchecked. Batman attacks Deathstroke, who proceeds to give Batman one of his all-time worst beatings. Batman might know every martial art and be a genius combatant, but Deathstroke is a virtually unbeatable super soldier with all of Batman’s skills, but to an nth degree; everything about him is enhanced. Leaving Batman beaten and unconscious, Batman later tracks Deathstroke down again, only to receive a similar thrashing.


he killed his other son jericho

Because killing one son wasn’t enough, Deathstroke’s life is such a tapestry of pain that he was forced to kill his second son. Unlike the rest of his siblings, Jericho really wanted to be a good guy. Even after joining the Teen Titans, his teammates were still wary of him due to his connection with Deathstroke. Still, the loyalty he showed to his friends would earn their trust. Sadly, Jericho wasn’t meant to live a happy life as he was possessed by the souls of Azareth.

With his body no longer his, the evil Jericho started hopping into the bodies of the Teen Titans and tried to have them murder each other. It didn’t work, but it forced Nightwing, Troia, Deathstroke, and others to confront him. During the battle, the real Jericho surfaced and begged his dad to kill him. With no other choice, Deathstroke did just that.


deathstroke wintergreen

Every hero needs some help now and again, or at least a butler, especially if you’re Batman. The same is true for Deathstroke. William Wintergreen met the younger Slade Wilson when he was in the British Army. The two developed a close friendship and Wintergreen became one of the few people in the world that Deathstroke would ever learn to trust. Though Wintergreen was older and had no powers, Deathstroke respected his experience in the field and how he was deadly in his own right. Wintergreen even saved Deathstroke on more than one occasion.

Of course this is Deathstroke we’re talking about and Deathstroke’s life is such that he’s not allowed to have friends. When Deathstroke discovered the spirit of his son, Jericho, had burrowed into his body, Slade enlisted Wintergreen to help him perform an exorcism. Jericho’s spirit was too strong however and the possessed Slade murdered Wintergreen.


deathstroke kills titans

Grant Wilson, Deathstroke’s oldest son, was also the first Ravager. Under a contract from the villainous corporation H.I.V.E., Ravager was tasked with killing the Teen Titans. Unfortunately he died because of the serum H.I.V.E. gave him. In Booster Gold #22, the villain known as the Black Beetle has been traveling through time in an effort to disrupt the timeline to nefarious ends. Booster is constantly chasing him, but his efforts aren’t’ enough in the final battle between Ravager and the Teen Titans.

Instead of Grant dying, the Black Beetle uses his own powers on Grant to make sure his body doesn’t deteriorate during the fight and also makes him stronger. Not leaving anything to chance, Black Beetle also enlisted Deathstroke to help. The three villains then kill the Teen Titans, leaving Booster to try and repair the timeline.


he stole the speed force

During DC’s Rebirth, some comic book hijinks lead to Deathstroke getting knocked out by his son Jericho. While unconscious, he has a flashback to a memory of the death of his son, Grant, something he’d inexplicably forgotten. Deathstroke hunts down Wally West, the Flash, captures him and has the hero tell him about Grant.

Wally explains how Grant died and Deathstroke decides he can’t leave well enough alone. Since Wally refuses to go back in time to save his son, Deathstroke steals Kid Flash’s speed and goes back in time. Again and again Deathstroke tries to go back in time to save Grant, but no matter what he does, each time is a failure and Grant dies regardless. So even after mastering time itself, tragedy is forever a part of Deathstroke’s very existence.


manipulates his enemies

Deathstroke is known for a great many things, with murder being high on the list. Due to the serum he was given, his ability to use 90% of his brain at any one time affords him incredible intelligence and tactical planning, increased speed, strength, endurance, and he boasts an incredible healing factor. Yet despite his physical might, Deathstroke prefers to first use his mind to attack enemies.

Deathstroke’s usual M.O., when playing the long game, is to psychologically manipulate his foes, bringing ruin to them emotionally, and then going in for the kill when they’re a nervous wreck. He did this with the Teen Titans multiple times, with the most famous case being when he planted Terra into their team. He also tried a similar tactic with her brother Geo-Force, but the hero turned it around and hit Slade with a psychological whammy.


aquaman impaled him

The event known as “Flashpoint” was when the Flash accidentally created an alternate timeline (thanks, Barry). Unfortunately, such a profound act had exceptional cost. Ripples were sent across time and the consequences of his actions resulted in a twisted world where half the planet has been obliterated by a war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman.

One of the mini-series to develop out of “Flashpoint” featured Deathstroke as a pirate. Deathstroke is sailing the seas with his crew, made up of second-rate villains, searching for loot and also trying to hunt down his daughter Rose who had been kidnapped. Along the way, Aquaman and his soldiers accost his ship. During the fight, Aquaman impales Deathstroke through the chest with his trident and leaves him for dead. Luckily, the villain Sonar is around and brings back Slade from the brink of death.

Which of these Deathstroke facts is the most shocking to you? Let us know in the comments!

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