WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Deathstroke #48, from Christopher Priest, Carlo Pagulayan, Fernando Pasarin, Jason Paz, Cam Smith, Jeromy Cox and Willie Schubert, on sale now.
Writer Christopher Priest's run on Deathstroke has been one of Slade Wilson's most emotional journeys in the character's history, which is made all the more intriguing by the fact there's two of him running around the DC Universe. Following Slade being shot through the eye by Emiko (Red Arrow) and subsequent death after Damian Wayne hunted him, he's been resurrected and working as a nurse back home in Northlake.
But while he's off the grid away from prying eyes, another Slade emerged, and this version is basically Old Man Deathstroke. While we have no clue whether he creation is due to magic or cloning, this second Slade got an armor upgrade that basically decks him out like a Stormtrooper, but as he goes looking for answers and embarks on a collision course with the original Deathstroke, he's acting more like Darth Vader than anyone else.
There aren't too many characters more twisted than Deathstroke, but Slade 2.0 s. He's trying to understand why his daughter, Rose, hates him and why Jericho is running around, resorting to a cruel brand of crime-fighting after getting powered up by Lex Luthor's gift from Year of the Villain. Apart from his look, though, he has a laser sword that can destroy buildings and cause massive explosions, making it a huge step up from the lightsabers of the Star Wars universe.
But once Nurse Slade, who we assume is the original Slade, gets wind of Jericho's actions, it's clear both men will cross paths. He was resurrected after a Raptor infected him with leprosy and triggered his immune system to mutate, so he's a somewhat indestructible assassin now. He'll want answers as to why this imposter's running around, but make no mistake, though, Deathstroke 2.0 is operating like a Sith Lord and even putting Vader to shame, which doesn't bode well for his predecessor.
While looking for answers, Slade 2.0 kills Rose's husband in front of a woman and her kid in broad daylight, just to send message. Clearly, Old Man Deathstroke thinks he's the original and everyone else, including his kids, are pawns meant for him to manipulate. That's why he's even waging war on the Legion of Doom, which results in Lex wanting him dead. Jericho also acknowledges he has to be taken off the table, since he simply wants to keep enjoying the fruits of Lex's power-up.
However, it won't be an easy task because Old Man Deathstroke goes after his ex, Adeline Kane, in Washington. He breaks her arm and beats her down, wanting her to lure their son, Joseph, there in a trap. To top it off, he kills her husband Barry just to ensure she knows he means business.
By setting a complex trap and killing off family members and old friends as part of a plan to weaponize a powerful son, Old Man Deathstroke is treating his son like Vader treated Luke Skywalker.
Unless the original Slade, Rose and Jericho can figure out a way to stop Old Man Deathstroke, expect a lot more chaos in the DCU. If things change with just two issues left before the series finale, and Lex decides to make Slade 2.0 an ally, then we could even see the Legion of Doom become stronger and produce the deadliest Deathstroke we've ever witnessed. Slade 2.0 is already walking that road and one step closer to surpassing the original Slade, which doesn't bode well for the Bat-family, Teen Titans, the Justice League or the rest of his own bloodline.