FLASHPOINT FACTS: Palmiotti Gives "Deathstroke" A Pirate Twist

On the deadly waters of the Flashpoint Universe, a pirate named Slade Wilson sets sail to look for his lost treasure and he's not about to let a little global war stop him! Part of DC Comics' Flashpoint event, "Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager" will take both Wilson and readers on a violent ride through the high seas of the altered DCU timeline, courtesy of writer Jimmy Palmiotti and artists Joe Bennet and John Dell.

Originally created by Marv Wolfman, in the regular DCU Wilson was introduced within the pages of "Teen Titans" in his costumed identity of Deathstroke. Appearing alongside his son Grant (codenamed Ravager), Wilson squared off against the Titans as a villain, then as an ally, then villain again. A mercenary and sometimes assassin, Wilson's claim to fame is his superhuman strength and tactical genius, the result of failed army experiments carried out in the hopes of creating a metahuman supersoldier. Since his first appearance in the '80s, Wilson has become a fixture of the DCU, menacing the current Teen Titans (which include the new Ravager, Wilson's estranged daughter Rose) as well starring in his own ongoing monthly series, the aptly named "Titans."

"Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager" is one of a number titles fleshing out the Flashpoint Universe, though Wilson was not introduced in thisthe first issue of "Flashpoint." However, Palmiotti hinted fans can expect Wilson to play a bigger role in the Atlantis-Themyscria war and the latest map from DC promises a deep exploration of the pirate sea routes in the second "Deathstroke" issue. And while the "Deathstroke" miniseries revolves around Wilson's quest for his lost treasure, Palmiotti let us in on another startling fact: Deathstroke's lost treasure is not pieces of eight -- it's his flesh and blood daughter, Rose.

While in the middle of his own travels (though with assuredly less bloodshed than his Flashpoint character) Palmiotti spoke with CBR News about "Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager," pirates and how the miniseries ties in to the Flashpoint Universe.

CBR News: To start off, you've referred to "Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager" a pirate-themed book. Is this miniseries a straight-up swashbuckling pirate story set in the Flashpoint Universe?

Jimmy Palmiotti: It totally is -- but a bit different in a lot of ways. I probably wouldn't throw the word "swashbuckling" around too much since these pirates are wielding some mighty dangerous modern weapons. This really is a story about a man that had something that belonged to him taken away and will stop at nothing to get it back. 

What is it about Deathstroke that made you want to tell a pirate story?

Geoff [Johns] and Eddie [Berganza] pitched the idea to me. I instantly fell in love with it and went right to work building on the concept and taking the Flashpoint story in directions I think would be interesting to the readers. 

How did you go about adapting Slade Wilson for the Flashpoint Universe? Is he the same guy from the DCU but in a different context, or did you take the opportunity to reinvent the character?

I didn't have to adapt Slade as much as I had to rework some of the world around him and then create a character that made sense to it. It's a complicated process and hard to explain, except to say that Slade is Slade and then some. If anything, he is a lot more violent in this book than you have ever seen him before. He is a man on a mission, and part of that mission is causing a bit of chaos. 

It's interesting that you say he's a little more violent here, as in the regular DCU Deathstroke is a character that walks the edge, a fairly amoral and ambiguous figure, and is no stranger to violence himself. How would you sum up Flashpoint Slade Wilson?

A driven man that will stop at nothing to get what he wants. It's really as simple as that. Slade is working against the clock, here, and in this Flashpoint series he does a bit more manipulating with those around him than he normally would do. 

Now, Ravager has been the name used by multiple Deathstroke enemies and allies, most famously his son Grant Wilson and his daughter, Rose. How intimately involved is the Wilson family in "Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager?"

The story is exactly about family and what it means to him; how important his daughter is to him and how Slade will stop at nothing to find his daughter. For me, the heart of the story is the love between them and what a father will do for their own. The name of Deathstroke's ship is the Ravager in this book and is just as much a character in the story. You really can't be a pirate and not consider your ship part of your family. 

How does this series tie into the greater Flashpoint "Flash-fixes-the-timeline" story? Will Deathstroke play a role in the Geoff Johns written title, or is this miniseries more self-contained?

A bit of both. You get to see what leads up to a key scene in "Deathstroke" and then you see the aftermath of that -- something that isn't covered in the "Flashpoint" book, but is key to Deathstroke's story. Geoff presented an awesome event here and it was a blast to build on it. That all said, the three issues also are self-contained, but really, the main "Flashpoint" book is key to fully understanding the entire world around them. 

Will we get to see Flashpoint Universe Wintergreen? Or is Wilson surrounded by a slew of new characters, specifically devised for the Flashpoint U? 

There are some classic characters as well as some new ones -- and their fate has everything to do with the Flashpoint storyline. This is a true tie-in. 

We've seen the cover of issue #2 where Deathstroke and Aquaman are fighting. Where does Deathstroke fall in the war between Atlantis and Themyscria?

Ha! He falls into a very violent and deadly place -- and more than that, I can't say without revealing too much. 

With DC's rumored plans to re-launch of titles in September, many are viewing Flashpoint as the big event that wipes the slate clean. After August, will you be climbing onboard a revamped "Titans" to write Deathstroke full time, or joining any of the new creative teams of other DC books?

As you may have heard before, "The first rule of Flashpoint is not to talk about what happens after Flashpoint." I will not be writing "Titans," but cannot say more than that. Let's just say, September and the months that follow are going to be some exciting times in the history of DC Comics and I am glad to be part of it. 

Through your Twitter updates and elsewhere online, you've been very positive about Flashpoint and the various Flashpoint comics coming out. What do you think fan reaction will be to the Flashpoint event in general?

I think it will be positive overall because it has meaning and isn't just a throwaway story on any level. The main title and all the miniseries have something for everyone and there is a real sense of change happening within them. I think the event in general will be remembered for a long time after. 

Finally, from the covers alone, there looks to be a lot of death and murder in "Deathstroke." Is there a favorite maiming from the miniseries you wish to share?

There is a nice head that gets cut in half -- from side to side. Honestly, there is so much insane killing, each issue will leave red ink stains all over everyone that reads the book. 

The first issue of "Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager" hits stores June 8

grey hulk immortal joe fixit
Mr. Fixit: The Most Dangerous Hulk Isn't Savage or a Devil - It's JOE

More in Comics