Slade Wilson, also known as Deathstroke, has been around for decades. If you weren’t into comic books during the early 2000s, you most likely discovered Slade for the first time through Teen Titans the animated series featured on Cartoon Network and Kids’ WB! In the animated series, Slade was the only main antagonist featured in the first few seasons. He tortured Robin and forced him to do his bidding while he turned the Teen Titans against one another. He also infiltrated their group, finding out everything about them through Terra.
When the comics first came out, science was not at the same point it is today. One of Slade Wilson’s gimmicks was that the scientific experiment he volunteered for increased his brain power to 90 percent, as opposed to the 10 percent normal humans used. Unfortunately, these stats were incorrect. That humans only use 10 percent of their brains has been proven to be nothing more than a myth.
This led DC to adjust Deathstroke’s character by turning him into a version of the Punisher. Along the way, he became his own unique character, even earning himself his own series of comic books. He’s seen plenty of adaptations over the years, and the one presented in Teen Titans the animated series is one of a cunning evil character bent on ruining the Teen Titans. In the comics, he is also presented this way, but in a much more extreme manner that wasn’t suitable for kids programing in the early 2000s.
So, who is Slade Wilson (A.K.A. Deathstroke)? From the comics and animated series to video games, here are 20 mind-blowing things you might not known about Slade.
20 Censorship Strikes Again
The animated series had yet to launch in 2003 and Glen Murakami was already facing issues of censorship. Because Teen Titans was being aired on Cartoon Network and Kids' WB!, it was decided that Deathstroke was an inappropriate name due to the target audience. Since death wouldn’t fly, Murakami tried Terminator which was also shot down by the censorship committee. Which led the writers back to Deathstroke’s birth name in the comics, Slade Joseph Wilson.
By the time Teen Titans Go! Aired, the rules had become slightly more relaxed with his original name of Deathstroke being mentioned several times. Various countries around the world refused to use the Slade name and kept it as Deathstroke despite the western censorship. The name change took away part of his evil villainy and left some audiences confused.
19 Hardcore American Soldier Trained By Ex-Wife
Slade Wilson joined the United States Army when he was 16 because he lied about his real age. After a short tour in Korea, he was assigned to Camp Washington, having been promoted to the rank of Major. It would be at Camp Washington where he would catch the attention of Captain Adeline Kane, charged with training young fighters with new techniques to prepare for Vietnam. Slade mastered everything Adeline threw at him and the two got hitched in just under a year-and-a-half later.
Things wouldn’t go as planned
Vietnam began to escalate and Slade, now a Lieutenant Colonel, was shipped out for another tour. While on tour he volunteered for an experimental procedure that would help soldiers resist truth serums. Things wouldn’t go as planned, bringing about Slade Wilson’s new life and path.
18 Act Of Mercy By Starfire Leads To Betrayal
Slade chose to undergo a process that would give him regeneration powers, so long as his brain was still intact. The experimental procedure was a success, but couldn’t heal old wounds — only ones received after the procedure. Shortly after receiving his regeneration powers, Adeline needed a blood transfusion to save her life. Slade donated, but in the process made his ex-wife mostly immortal too.
Adeline would go insane, causing Slade to team up with the Teen Titans to defeat her and The H.I.V.E. During the battle Adeline’s throat was slit, but the wound couldn’t defeat her. She begged Slade to end it all for her, wanting peace. He refused to do it, which led to Starfire stepping in and disintegrating Adeline from existence with a starbolt blast.
Because of Starfire’s mercy, Slade renounced all ties with the Teen Titans.
17 Striking Batman And Joker Similarities
Like the Joker, Slade is cunning and calculating. He enjoys hanging in the shadows, manipulating events in a way where he only has to come out when he feels confident and in full control of the situation at hand. Slade finds a personal joy and amusement in baiting others, especially Robin.
"It's what I do best"
He takes advantage of Robin’s weaknesses, just like the Joker does so often with Batman, by manipulating or blackmailing him into a form of submissiveness. In Teen Titans “The End, Part 2” Slade tells Robin, “It's what I do best,” regarding making others suffer. Overall, Slade is ruthless, unemotional, and slightly sadistic when he hangs around Robin too much.
In Batman: The Animated Series, there is a scene between Batman and the Joker at the end of “The Last Laugh,” which could easily be Robin and Slade. Despite being complete opposites, they're naturally pulled towards one another. Each is determined to accomplish their own goals and neither wants to lose.
16 Shifting Alignments Is Par For The Course
Slade Wilson A.K.A. Deathstroke or Slade the Terminator looks out for himself first and foremost. This is especially true when he picks which side to fight on. He has teamed up with the Teen Titans — and he’s attempted to wipe them off the face of the planet. Slade is a true villain in the sense that he can fool others into thinking he cares about their fight.
When the truth is he only cares about himself
When the truth is he only cares about himself. This is a form of evil that goes beyond scary, it’s terrifying. Which is why Slade Wilson is renown in the DC comics world as being one of the greatest villains ever created.
From preventing an assassination attempt on the President of the United States to nearly destroying half-a-dozen Justice League members, Deathstroke sets himself apart from the pack.
15 Fury From A Woman Scorned
Slade and Adeline’s relationship went south quickly, starting with the kidnapping of their second son Joseph. Until this point, Adeline thought Slade was a retired army man who had become a famous safari hunter. Joey’s kidnapping forced him to confess to her he was really the world's deadliest and most highly sought after assassin — Deathstroke the Terminator.
In her anger, Adeline blamed Slade and shot him in the face.
Together they confronted Joseph’s kidnapper, a rival mercenary known as the Jackal who wanted information from Slade regarding a client. Wilson took a gamble and attempted to save Joey as opposed to giving out information. Things didn’t go as planned and Joseph’s throat was slashed, leaving him a mute.
In her anger, Adeline blamed Slade and shot him in the face. Or to be more specific, his right eye.
14 Robbing The Cradle For Information
Prior to meeting and joining the Teen Titans, Terra (in the comics) had a relationship with Deathstroke while being only 15 at the time. Their relationship details are never explored in the Teen Titans animated series for obvious reasons, but it explains why she initially chooses Slade over Beastboy and the rest of the Titans.
Excelling at what he does best, Slade manipulates Terra to join him by teaching her how to control her powers. But it goes deeper than that. Deathstroke intimately knew Terra (because he thrives of manipulating others), so he knew what buttons to push in order for her to betray her new-found friends (especially Beastboy).
While it would be Terra who destroys Slade (he gets resurrected in season 4), Deathstroke is ultimately the reason behind her instability. So, it only seems natural that she would be the one to take him out.
13 Fathers Make Poor Idols
Grant Wilson, Slade and Adeline’s first-born son, always idolized his father. He supposedly never knew about his dads “mercenary work,” and followed in his path by attending military school. Grant Wilson then moved to New York where he got involved with H.I.V.E.
After Starfire crashed through his apartment, he blamed her and the Teen Titans for ruining his relationship with girlfriend Carol Sladky. He took on the persona Ravager, allowing H.I.V.E. scientists to give him powers identical to Slade’s.
Grant ended up passing away in his fathers arms
Bent on taking out the Teen Titans permanently, Deathstroke warned his son that his powers were unstable. Grant refused to listen, wanting to be just like Slade or better. The warnings from Deathstroke were valid and Grant ended up passing away in his fathers arms. Unsuccessful in his task of eliminating the Teen Titans.
12 Robin Ain’t Got Nothing On Slade
During season one of Teen Titans, Robin was trolling around as Red X. Slade was on to his alter ego immediately and used it to his advantage. Implanting nanobots in all the Teen Titans, Deathstroke had the upper-hand, and he planned to use it for his advantage.
After confessing to the team about Red X, Robin was able to overcome Slade with the others help. But Slade could have ended the Teen Titans at any time with the nanobots if he chose to do so. Instead, he let them live. Was it an act of mercy? Most likely not. Slade enjoyed using and manipulating others, so he most likely saw the benefit of leaving them alive. It was a gamble, but that was the type of environment that Slade Wilson thrived on.
11 Keeping It All Within The Family
In the comic books, Slade and the Teen Titans often worked together if it meant the acts benefited Deathstroke in some form. He was assigned to take out a group of biologically engineered beastmen, where he ran into the Titans while they were investigating the same group. Slade would assist them, which would eventually lead them to the leader of the beastmen — a man who went by the name of Jericho.
Jericho was none other than Slade’s son Joseph, who had been possessed by the corrupted souls of Azarath. Ironically, before becoming possessed, Joseph had aided the Teen Titans by helping them escape from his father’s grasp.
Joseph begged Slade to take him out
Joseph begged Slade to take him out, to which he complied, driving a sword through his heart. But Joseph survived, transferring his mind into his father's body seconds before perishing.
10 A Face Never To Be Seen
In the animated Teen Titans, the face of Slade is only revealed in partiality one time. One of his most notable features, on screen or in the comics, is his mask. The mask of Deathstroke is legendary item amongst heroes and villains alike. Slade's left side of his mask is orange, containing a single black outlined eyehole. The other side is solid black with no eyehole, thanks to Adeline’s shot which took out his right eye.
The right side of his face is primarily skeletal, containing no flesh. While Slade could have used these imposing features for intimidation, his pride wouldn’t let him. Hence the infamous mask was born, creating mystery and intimidation at the same time.
Like any comic book character, Slade has various adaptations and looks. In Teen Titans Go! #49, Slade is featured with white hair, and eye-patch, and a beard.
9 Unique Powers In Animated Series
While serving as Trigon's second in command in the fourth season of Teen Titans, Slade was gifted the ability to fly, teleport, phase, and generate demonic fire blasts. He also didn’t experience pain anymore since he was effectively a non-living entity at the time. The benefit to this was that he could take on massive amounts of damage without even flinching.
In Teen Titans episode "Forces of Nature", Slade disguises himself as an old sage. He could also summon a monster through burning scarecrows. While being disguised, Slade could use telekinesis in retrieving his staff, after Robin had knocked it out of his hand. He could also alter his physical shape, reducing his muscular frame to that of a small old man.
8 Fighting Superhero’s Without Super Human Powers
Despite his regenerative and “brain” powers, Slade didn’t have godlike add-on's like the opponents he often squared up against. He often relied on his martial arts skills like heightened speed, strength, reflexes, and agility. In using these simple techniques, he once had all five Teen Titans looking like toddlers while he ran circles around them. He possesses the knowledge of minor magic (spell casting) which he used from time to time. Often though, he relies on technology to gain an upper-hand on his opponents.
Slade had a vast number of secret hideouts, advance technology, unlimited resources, and a robot army at his disposal. Using these tools allowed him to capitalize on his strengths of laying traps, orchestrating schemes, and manipulating others to do his dirty work.
7 Taking On The Justice League
Featured in the comic Identity Crisis, Deathstroke is hired as a bodyguard for Doctor Light, who was being hunted down by the Justice League. In the battle that would take place, Deathstroke nearly beat the team of Elongated Man, Flash, Zatanna, Hawkman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Atom, and Green Lantern to a pulp.
Slade systematically took out every member except for Green Lantern
Slade systematically took out every member except for Green Lantern. Arrow would eventually get a shot in by driving an arrow through the empty right eye socket of Deathstroke. Slade ended up losing his mind over the act, taking all his frustrations out on Green Arrow. This provided the rest of the Justice League time to regroup and tackle Slade to the ground.
Dr. Light would use his powers, allowing them to escape. But Slade left behind a personal touch for Green Arrow. Using the same arrow that was stabbed through his eye, Slade wrote a note which said, “This is yours, we’re not done yet,” and drove it into a wall for Green Arrow to find.
6 Insane Family Drama
In the Teen Titans volume 3 tie-in to the Blackest Night crossover, Deathstroke is attacked by Rose. Rose is his daughter form a relationship with Sweet Lili, following his divorce with Adeline.
During their battle with each other, they’re attacked by their deceased relatives — Grant, Wade, and Adeline, who had been reanimated as Black Lantern’s. This forces Deathstroke and Rose to work together and fight for their lives.
Jericho arrives on the scene and Slade confesses during the battle why he tortured the Teen Titans for so many years. His logic was that if his children hated him, they would never lead the same life he chose. Not that this logic makes much sense in the real world, but it continued to drive drama and family battles within the Wilson family line.
5 Too Many Names To Keep Track Of
More often than not, Slade Wilson is known as Deathstroke within the geek world. But he originally went by another name. In 1980, Slade joined the DC universe as Deathstroke the Terminator. He earned the name Deathstroke during a card game with a Croatian. Accused of cheating, the Croatian attempts to take out Slade with a sword named “Deathstroke” (from the 17th century British Civil Wars). Slade takes it instead and eliminates his opponent, earning him the nickname.
Slade enjoyed the name of Deathstroke the Terminator and allowed it to spread. Ironically however, the release of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator movies forced DC to alter his name. The last thing the comic book giant wanted was a legal battle or confusion regarding either character.
4 Hailed As Worlds Deadliest Assassin
Despite the resurgence of Deadshot, thanks to the S-Squad movie, DC has claimed Slade Wilson as the world’s deadliest assassin on multiple occasions. Known for completing just about every contract he takes, there are over 600 eliminations associated with his name. Every government agency, hero, and villain in the world knows of his existence.
Slade Wilson provided inspiration for the iconic Deadpool character
In a weird and psycho kind of way, Slade enjoys these accolades. To him, they are like trophies on a wall. This is the life he ultimately wanted, an enviroment where he finds his sick and demented joy. Despite his numerous adaptations, his mental joy in being who he is will never change. Slade Wilson is a merc for hire, not the merc with a mouth. Although, Slade Wilson provided inspiration for the iconic Deadpool character.
3 Creating Nemeses Is Slade’s Specialty
Robin is Slade’s biggest nemesis, but there is another following behind him in second place. Rose Wilson, Slade Wilson’s daughter by Sweet Lili, has been through the ringer and back. At one time she was determined to carry on her father’s legacy and defeat the Teen Titans once and for all. She adapted the name Ravager, a name that previously had belonged to her half-brother Grant.
The Titans however changed the course of her life. They offered her a home and family, allowing her to be free and chose her own path in life. Touched by the Teen Titans compassion and friendship, she trains (but doesn’t officially join) with them. All in the name of building a better future for herself by becoming a better person.
2 Video Games Leave His Appearance Alone
Every comic book and video game fan knows Arkham Knight and Batman: Arkham Origins. Despite the games being ten years apart, Slade Wilson appears as Deathstroke, wearing the same iconic black and orange in both games. Of all the characters featured in the games, Slade is the only one who didn’t undergo a major costume or appearance change.
Some minor changes were made, however. His look is slimmer with shoulder pads that bulge up towards his head. The Deathstroke DLC also offered two additional skins known as the Judas Contract and Injustice and Gods Among Us skins.
Mark Rolston is the voice actor for Deathstroke in the games. He also voices Firefly and Lex Luthor in Batman: The Animated Series. Mark is also a playable character in Batman: Arkham Origins if the game was pre-ordered.
1 Slade Is Ruined In Teen Titans Go!
Fans of the original Teen Titans animated series rarely associate with Teen Titans Go! The two adaptations differ vastly from one another, mostly because of the audience that is targeted, but also through animation style and writing. While his appearance remains mostly unchanged (a common thread no matter what adaptation Slade is in), most fans would agree that Teen Titans Go! ruined Deathstroke, along with all the other Teen Titan members.
In season one he is a punching bag (literally) while in season two he’s given a small cameo in “The Return of Slade.” But in season three he is simply a joke again, featured as a stick figure. In season 4, Slade is a costume (a mask worn by Ravager). And in the new movie coming out, he only has a speaking role. Thanks Teen Titans Go! for messing up one of the coolest villains in the DC universe.