Deathstroke is one of the most dangerous assassins in comic book history, and he has repeatedly shown that he can take down DC’s mightiest heroes. In Identity Crisis, Slade Wilson almost single-handedly defeated the Justice League, and he also gave Batman one of the his worst pre-Knightfall beatdowns with ease. Using both his skills as a fighter and as a manipulator, the Terminator has also defeated the Teen Titans -- no matter the amount of opposition, the odds are usually in Wilson’s favor. Wilson is practically unstoppable because, as part of an experiment, he was injected with a serum that’s comparable to the one created by Abraham Erskine. In addition to superhuman strength, agility and endurance, the serum allows Wilson to access ninety percent of his brain. To make Wilson a true super soldier, the experimental serum also gives him a healing factor like Wolverine.
With so many incredible abilities, Deathstroke is almost invincible, but he doesn’t win every battle and on the flipside, the Teen Titans continue to find ways to defeat him. The super soldier serum might be potent, but it's still outclassed by the natural Kryptonian powers of Superman, and Batman has taken Deathstroke down, though these victories tend to come with the assistance of the Dark Knight’s sidekicks. Even when Wilson tastes defeat, he rarely gives up -- the Terminator has continued to fight the most powerful heroes in the DC Universe. As a result, we’ve decided to list some of the top heroes that Deathstroke has defeated, and some of the ones that have beaten him. Usually, these victories come with an asterisk, but they’re wins nonetheless.
17 TOOK DOWN: THE ATOM
A few times throughout Deathstroke’s history, the mercenary has tried being a team player. For example, after "Blackest Night", Wilson formed a new team of villains as he convinced Cheshire, Osiris and the Tattooed Man to help him carry out contracts.
As with some of Wilson’s other teams, this lineup took tasks that were intended, in some way, to help the world. But when Deathstroke showed his true colors in a brutal attack on Ryan Choi, or the Atom, the superhero community tried to make Wilson pay for his crimes. In response, Deathstroke disbanded his team to further his efforts to escape persecution.
16 EMBARRASSED HIM: AQUAMAN
"Flashpoint" changed the DCU forever, as it launched the start of the New 52. However, even before this monumental transformation, the event allowed readers to see alternate versions of their favorite characters. For example, Deathstroke became a pirate that sailed the seas in search of loot. Wilson also sought to track down his daughter, Rose. The Terminator got on the wrong side of the new Aquaman, who was a powerful emperor.
Wilson is one of the best fighters in the DCU but he was no match for this version of Arthur Curry, and Aquaman used his trident to strike Deathstroke down. Luckily, Sonar, a member of Wilson’s crew, heals him after the fight.
15 TOOK DOWN: (NEARLY) THE JUSTICE LEAGUE
Wilson has accomplished some incredible feats, and one scene in Identity Crisis particularly comes to mind. When the world’s heroes hunt down Doctor Light, Deathstroke steps in to protect his client. Subsequently, the Terminator expertly takes down each member of the Justice League. Wilson defeated each hero with methods tailored to each of their strengths and weaknesses.
In the battle, when Deathstroke broke Kyle Rayner’s fingers, the mercenary nearly overpowered the Green Lantern’s will. Though the good guys rallied, Wilson was this close to defeating the League all by himself. Few moments in the character’s history provide such a clear look at his sheer dominance.
14 EMBARRASSED HIM: GREEN ARROW
Deathstroke’s heated rivalry with Green Arrow is well-documented and it has been brought to the small screen in the Arrowverse. The Terminator has gotten the upper hand on Oliver Queen throughout their many battles, but time and again, Green Arrow emerges victorious.
One of Queen’s most notable triumphs came in Identity Crisis, when he dealt the crushing blow that stopped Wilson’s domination of the Justice League (this moment was loosely adapted during Deathstroke’s run as the big bad on Arrow). It’s also fair to say that, at the heart of their rivalry on the small screen, Queen was the victor.
13 TOOK DOWN: IMPULSE
Deathstroke has almost always been bitter rivals with the Teen Titans. The lineup of young heroes usually has a speedster on the roster, so the Terminator has learned how to counter the breathtaking quickness of Kid Flash, Impulse and others. For example, in one story, Jericho, Wilson’s son, coerces Deathstroke into pursuing yet another battle with the Teen Titans.
The new iteration of the team is struggling to jell, which leaves one member vulnerable. In Teen Titans Vol. 3 #2, Bart Allen, or Impulse, races off on his own. He meets Wilson, who shoots the young speedster in the knee with a shotgun.
12 EMBARRASSED HIM: ROBIN
As the leader of the Teen Titans, Robin deserves some credit for the team’s victories over Deathstroke. The villain keeps coming after the team but they usually find a way to win. After numerous battles with the mercenary, you’d think that Robin has unquestionably defeated Wilson. But, as usual, other characters have often served as the deciding factors in these fights.
Jericho, more than other heroes, often tips the scales in the Titans’ favor. Still, even in the most trying times, the Boy Wonder manages to keep his team together. Dick Grayson can also claim some victories over the Terminator; Nightwing has helped Batman take down Deathstroke when the two rivals have collided.
11 TOOK DOWN: BATMAN
Batman and Deathstroke have had some classic battles over the years. Their rivalry has made its way to multiple mediums (comics, TV shows and video games.) Both sides of the conflict have emerged victorious at various points. One of Wilson’s most famous victories over the Dark Knight comes in the “City of Assassins” story arc.
Ironically, in this story, the two characters are technically on the same side because Wilson is investigating a series of crimes, but Batman attacks the Terminator and, as a result, the Caped Crusader receives a jaw-dropping beatdown. The Dark Knight and Deathstroke have clashed many times and Wilson proven that he can defeat the iconic hero.
10 EMBARRASSED HIM: BATMAN
As with most of Batman’s villains, even when Deathstroke defeated the Dark Knight, the scales eventually tipped back the other way. The World’s Greatest Detective has used his martial arts skills and genius-level intellect to outsmart the Terminator. When these attributes have failed Batman, he usually has a number of Bat-Family members to help him out.
As with many of Wilson’s defeats, the Terminator rarely loses a fight one-on-one. Deathstroke used his mastery of deception to manipulate Bruce Wayne in Beware the Batman; Wilson poses as Dane Lisslow to get close to Wayne but the Dark Knight won the final battle.
9 TOOK DOWN: THE FLASH
We mentioned how Wilson (nearly) defeated the Justice League in Identity Crisis, but, in this battle, the villain’s victory over the Flash is particularly notable. Wally West is the fastest man alive, so he can be nearly impossible to stop, but Deathstroke has experience with battering speedsters. So, while the Terminator fights the Justice League, he calculates where West’s path as he runs.
In a stunning moment, Wilson incapacitates the Flash, which takes one of the battle’s power players off the board. Deathstroke used his mind to defeat Kid Flash and Wally West in “the Lazarus Contract,” but here, he used his mind and his sword.
8 EMBARRASSED HIM: SUPERMAN
Superman and Deathstroke have clashed many times over the years, and the battles usually end with the same result: the Man of Steel emerges victorious, but fans of the Terminator can make some valid arguments about the quality of these wins. For example, in Superman #32, the Last Son of Krypton fights Wilson because Lois Lane is seemingly in danger.
The Man of Steel rams Deathstroke into a building but, just as Superman prepares to capture his opponent, the assassin escapes after he creates a diversion. In Deathstroke #8, Wilson lost another battle between the two after his son, Jericho, interferes. Superman has defeated the Terminator a few times but there are usually other factors in play.
7 TOOK DOWN: KID FLASH
Wilson has one of the most manipulative minds in the DCU, which allows him to emerge victorious over most heroes by using brilliant schemes. Recently, in “the Lazarus Contract,” Deathstroke manipulated Kid Flash, or Wally West. After capturing the young speedster, Wilson uses West’s problematic relationship with his father against him (to make matters worse, Wilson also defeated the original Wally West).
Plus, Wilson exploited Kid Flash’s desire to be a real hero; when the Terminator offers to retire if the speedster helps him, Wally can’t resist. Even though West doesn’t intentionally help Deathstroke, he doesn’t fight back, which lets the villain (mostly) execute his plan.
6 EMBARRASSED HIM: BATGIRL
The bitter feud between Cassandra Cain and Deathstroke is yet another example of Wilson’s manipulative nature. The “One Year Later” storyline is one of the Terminator’s most notable attempts to create his own version of the Teen Titans. To do so, Wilson pulls the strings to bring Ravager, Risk, Batgirl and Duela Dent together as the Titans East.
Deathstroke uses some immoral methods, like blackmail, to meet his goal. Wilson’s treatment of Batgirl left a mark on the heroine, and she wanted revenge. The two rivals wound up fighting several times, and Cain, at least on one occasion, got the better of the Terminator in hand-to-hand combat.
5 TOOK DOWN: PHANTOM LADY/UNCLE SAM
In Infinite Crisis, Deathstroke is one of the most important members of the Society, a massive group of supervillains that bands together under Lex Luthor (who’s really Alexander Luthor in disguise). One of the Society’s missions targets the Freedom Fighters, a group of patriotic heroes. In Infinite Crisis #1, Wilson and his allies ambush the heroes in a warehouse. The Freedom Fighters don’t stand a chance and Deathstroke callously takes down the Phantom Lady.
Then, the Terminator lives up to his moniker when he delivers the final blow to Uncle Sam. When crisis-level events rock the DCU, Deathstroke usually has an important role to play.
4 EMBARRASSED HIM: WONDER WOMAN
Deathstroke has collided with many of the most significant members of the Justice League but, surprisingly, Wilson hasn’t fought Wonder Woman very much. It’s probably for the best -- as an Amazonian demigod, Diana Prince is one of the most powerful characters in the DCU. The Terminator would be outmatched in a one-on-one fight. On one of the few occasions such a battle occurred, Wonder Woman beat Deathstroke pretty easily.
To be fair, Wilson was holding back because he didn’t want to fight Prince. While the Terminator has fought valiantly against Superman but Wilson should steer clear of the princess of Themyscira.
3 TOOK DOWN: TEEN TITANS
“The Judas Contract” is one of the most famous Teen Titans stories of all time and it also served as Wilson’s arrival as an impact player in the DCU. The clearest indicator of Deathstroke’s dangerousness is in the pages of Tales of the Teen Titans #42. After using Terra to manipulate the whole team, Wilson takes down each Titan one by one.
As in Identity Crisis, Wilson gave every defeat a personal touch for each hero (he electrified Cyborg’s chair, which compromised Vic Stone’s systems). This story showed that Deathstroke can defeat any hero without touching them. Clearly, the Terminator is not to be trifled with.
2 EMBARRASSED HIM: GREEN LANTERN
Wonder Woman isn’t the only Justice League member Wilson rarely fights; Deathstroke hasn’t clashed with the Green Lanterns very much. The Terminator tends to be an earthbound character, so he doesn’t tend to interact with this famous group of space cops. When Wilson does fight Lanterns, he usually comes out on the losing side.
While the Terminator nearly overpowered Kyle Rayner’s will in Identity Crisis, the Green Lantern held on long enough for his Justice League teammates to rally. Years earlier, on a one-off fight between Deathstroke and Hal Jordan, the Lantern defeated Wilson, which suggests that the Terminator isn’t on the same level as the Green Lanterns.
1 TOOK DOWN: X-MEN
It seems hard to believe now, but DC and Marvel have worked together several times to produce crossover stories. Marvel and DC Present the Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans is just one of these classic collaborations. In the story, Darkseid, or Uxas, seeks to recreate the Phoenix Force and he enlists the help of Deathstroke, who defeats and captures the X-Men.
The heroes eventually band together to stop the universal threat but the record books still show that Wilson beat the X-Men. This victory might just be the most impressive part of Deathstroke’s resume. After all, Charles Xavier’s group of heroes is one of the most legendary teams in comic book history.