WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Deathstroke #43 by Priest, Adam Glass, Carlo Pagulayan, Sergio Davila, Pop Mhan, Jason Paz, Norm Rapmund, Andy Owens and Jeromy Cox, on sale now.
The long-running rivalry between Slade Wilson and Damian Wayne has finally come to an end. And, unfortunately for Deathstroke the Terminator, he comes up on the losing end of their matchup -- for now, at least.
Fans of the two characters have had the pleasure of watching them go toe-to-toe in the comics and the small screen over the last few years. The "Deathstroke vs. Batman" story arc in Deathstroke #30-35 introduced the idea that Slade might be Damian's true father instead of Bruce Wayne, though that was later revealed to be false. There was also the Son of Batman animated movie from Warner Bros. Animation, which saw Batman and Damian meet for the first time after Deathstroke attacked and killed Ra's al Ghul. Slade held a grudge against Ra's for choosing his grandson, Damian, as his replacement for the leader of the League of Assassins. One highlight from the film is when Damian stabbed Deathstroke's eye out, resulting in him taking on his signature eyepatch.
Damian, as the Boy Wonder, recently decided to end his Slade Wilson Problem during "The Terminus Agenda" crossover between Teen Titans and Deathstroke. As the Teen Titans' leader, Robin has secretly been keeping their enemies in a prison underneath Mercy Hall, making it the perfect location to keep someone like Deathstroke, if you are so lucky to capture him.
However, things take a turn for the worst when Slade breaks free and takes control of the prison's security system. Then another member of the Teen Titans allows the psychos inside to run loose. You see, Slade knows another deep dark secret Robin is hiding, which is ironically called the Terminus Protocol. It's a failsafe Robin put in place in case any of his prisoners escaped; he secretly injected a toxin into their bodies that would activate and kill them if they should ever step foot outside of Mercy Hall.
Deathstroke knew all this and wants to see how things play out for Robin. Slade is convinced Robin can't reconcile his violent upbringing under Talia and Ra's al Ghul with the more heroic teachings from Batman. Right when it looks like Robin will have to choose between the two, another member of the Teen Titans takes both options out of his hands and executes Deathstroke.
Before Robin can pull the trigger of the gun handed to him by Slade, Red Arrow sends an arrow right into the mercenary's bad eye, instantly dropping him. As the rest of the Teen Titans come in, they find that the arrow has pierced through the back of Deathstroke's head. Even with his advanced healing factor, there appears to be no way Deathstroke survives this assault.
Red Arrow and Deathstroke had a deep conversation back in Teen Titans #29, with the antihero taunting Red Arrow about her mother, Shado, who is also a trained killer. Right when it looks like Red Arrow has heard enough, she points an arrow at Slade's good eye, almost foreshadowing how she would later kill him in Deathstroke #43. One of the last things Slade says to Red Arrow is, "We all become our parents eventually, kid." Unfortunately for Deathstroke, he couldn't have been more right.
Teen Titans #30 acts as an epilogue for the "Terminus Agenda," with the team coming to grips with not only Robin's secrets, but one of their own acting as judge, jury and executioner. Will the team decide to stay together, or will this be enough fracture the Teen Titans permanently? Perhaps more importantly, is Deathstroke really dead? We'd put our money on things being more complex than they seem.