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Why Deathstroke Deserves an Ongoing Series

Slade Wilson has been appearing in video games and TV shows, but unfortunately, he doesn't have his own title. We explain why that needs to change.

Deathstroke has become quite popular over the last several years. In fact, he's generated so many fans that he recently beat the likes of Mystique, Bane, Boba Fett, and six other mercenaries to become our latest Character of the Month. His numerous comic appearances and cameos in earlier shows (e.g. Teen Titans, Smallville) generated a good amount of interest in the character, but it feels like the he's been receiving an especially big push over the last few years. From video games to TV shows, Slade Wilson's face has been all over the place. Even if a person has never picked up a comic before, odds are they now know who Deathstroke is if they watch Arrow or played Batman: Arkham Origins. It's very possible this large group of people have been turned into fans of the character, as well. I mean, it's tough not to find the guy appealing. He's portrayed as ridiculously badass and has a very cool costume, after all.

Slade's appearing in so many popular projects, so you'd think an effort would be made to capitalize on this and attempt to bring in new readers. But the odd thing is he's not getting a whole lot of attention in the medium where it all started for him: comic books. Sure, he's part of the roster in the upcoming volume of SUICIDE SQUAD -- something which definitely has our interest -- and he played a small role in FOREVER EVIL, but many of us were majorly disappointed when his solo series was cancelled. Well, we believe Deathstroke has what it takes to hold his own comic and we think he should get another shot.

Slade's response after hearing his New 52 series ended with issue #20.

Many love the mercenary because he's a formidable badass with an incredibly cool costume, but there's so much more to the character than just being really good at killing people and looking awesome during all of the chaos. Deathstroke has a, well, let's just call it an "interesting" set of morals and this opens the door to a whole variety of stories. We've seen Slade do some absolutely despicable things, but we've also witnessed him do the right thing and, of course, fall somewhere in the middle countless other times.

His mentality is often a case-by-case basis. One moment we could see him as a caring father and a man refusing to kill a specific hero that's getting in his way (you're lucky he thinks you're alright, Nightwing), and the next he could be doing something so heartless that'll it'll shock you. Both Kyle Higgins and Justin Jordan displayed these attributes during their time with the character and hit us with emotional twists that were simply jaw-dropping. It's also worth noting that some of Wilson's relatives are floating around in The New 52's universe. Let's just say the relationship he has with these individuals possesses a lot of potential for conflict and drama.

In Tony "G-Man" Guerrero's article called "Deathstroke the Terminator, One of the Most Ruthless Villains in the DC Universe," the Editor-in-Chief of Comic Vine says Deathstroke is "a great character and is a worthy opponent for even the best heroes in the DC Universe." It's a statement I'm sure many of us would strongly agree with. We know the mercenary holds the potential for emotional twists and turns and character-driven story arcs, but his "career" means he can bump into just about anyone and everyone in the DC Universe.

Slade Wilson may not be able to destroy a mountain with his fists, but his gifted intellect, commendable physicals, wealthy supply of weaponry, and impressive level of skill means he has what it takes to pose a threat to such a wide array of characters (remember IDENTITY CRISIS #3?). Now, that's not to say he has what it takes to beat all who dare to challenge him or stand in his way, but he's one of the world's most dangerous mercenaries for a reason, folks. This gives writers the chance to have Slade encounter a massive amount of characters. Obviously, his title shouldn't rely on cameos, but if it's done well, who can resist a good tale of Deathstroke and Batman being at odds or Slade doing his best to avoid immensely powerful heroes as he tries to go for his latest kill? There are so many rivalries just waiting to happen and I'm sure we all have a handful of characters we'd love to see the Terminator battle.

As stated above, the lethal dude has enhanced intellect. This means the kinds of challenges we could see him face are basically unlimited. We all love to watch him slice and dice and duke it out with famous heroes and villains, but it's great seeing his tactical side being placed front and center. This is something Jordan focused on when Deathstroke was tasked with killing a seemingly unkillable man. What can Slade do when his target can survive having his head blown apart? We all know he's formidable and can give so many individuals are run for their money with just his skill as a combatant, but it's important to show that he also has one of the sharpest minds around, too.

Deathstroke has the opportunity to appeal to a fair variety of readers. If you want to enjoy crazy action, you know a book revolving around DC's most talented mercenary is going to deliver plenty of it. If you want emotion, there's so many gripping stories the right creative team would be able to produce. He's not simply just another hired gun. And if you just want pure fun and entertainment, his profession means he has the potential to bump into all of your favorite heroes and villains in the DC universe. Green Arrow? Batman? Wonder Woman? The sky's the limit. There's so much more to this character than just "he looks cool and he's really good at fighting." He's getting a chance to shine in TV shows and video games, so why not in comic books? He really deserves the opportunity to grow in The New 52 timeline and we hope he eventually gets another shot at having his own ongoing series.

Do you think Deathstroke deserves his own series, Viners? Let us know below!

Want to continue celebrating our latest Character of the Month? He's currently battling Boba Fett (click here to vote!). Also, two video games he's appeared in -- Injustice: Gods Among Us and Batman: Arkham Origins -- are featured in the latest edition of Favorite Comic Book Video Games (click here to vote!) and our latest Question of the Week is all about his costumes (vote here!). We'll post his best covers this Friday, too!

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Posted by redhood21

his series was great until liefield got his pouches all over it....took a great costume and 90stized it

Posted by NightFang

With all the villains currently getting their own ongoing series lately, Deathstroke should be a no brainer.

Edited by longbowhunter

I read several issues of his series from the late 80's/early 90's. Never read any of Kyle Higgins or Justin Jordan's New 52 stuff. Given the right creative team, I'd pick up a Deathstroke solo book.

Posted by RatNose

Really well written article. Love it! Deathstroke simply deserves an ongoing comicbook series. He's got all a any writer could wish for. So many opportunities...

Posted by daredevil21134

I would like an anti hero Slade

Posted by The Stegman

Hopefully he sticks around in Suicide Squad

Posted by Outside_85

I have to be honest, I find it incredibly irritating that of the massive 80'ties hit that was New Teen Titans, the only two characters from that run that's been allowed to have their own series (or even just a shot at one) is Nightwing, who was practically destined for one after leaving Batman, and their greatest enemy.

Anyways /endrant; I don't really see why Deathstroke needs or should have a series of his own. While he does technically live in the grey-zone of morals, he is more often than not the villain. He's the sort of character you cant really pit against big name heroes without either him loosing in his own book or the hero ending up looking foolish or dead. And actual foes created for him tend to wind up dead and forgotten sooner rather than later.

Best use I can really think for him is an asset that various villainous characters (or even heroes) hire for jobs that puts him in the way of other heroes, alternatively do what the TT cartoon did and have him be a shady mastermind that just happens to be as great a fighters as he is a planner.

Posted by patrat18

his series was great until liefield got his pouches all over it....took a great costume and 90stized it

@ratnose said:

Really well written article. Love it! Deathstroke simply deserves an ongoing comicbook series. He's got all a any writer could wish for. So many opportunities...

With all the villains currently getting their own ongoing series lately, Deathstroke should be a no brainer.

These.

Posted by cdw101

@redhood21:

I totally agree-his new 52 series was great until you know who took over n ruined it!!!

Posted by Oscars94

Was his solo series any good?

Posted by micah

I enjoyed his New 52 series alot.

Posted by Winter_Kills

I agree with this article and all its points. Deathstroke should have an ongoing series- there are many other popular characters like him that make you question: "Why the hell don't they have a series?" at both DC & Marvel. For anther example, Winter Soldier. I find it irritating that both Deathstroke and Winter Soldier had books, but despite their popularity, they were both cancelled. (Though, in Deathstroke's case, I blame Liefeld. Like Michael Bay, Liefeld is the destroyer of worlds & childhood dreams.)

Posted by The Average Bear

There can basically be a storyline about him going after anyone from DC and it'll be tangible. This is untapped potential, DC! C'mon!!

Posted by ScouterV

@outside_85: That's because he's greedy and loves his job. That said, I feel as though he could easily be on the payroll for someone like Bruce Wayne as a member of Batman Incorporated (though without changing any of his own gear or motif.) The end game has always been money for Slade. It's why he joined up with Lex in Forever Evil, despite first showing up to kill the "heroes."

All they need is some wealthy benefactor who is actually good to front Slade and he's a pure anti-hero. The one problem would simply be him killing, but I don't think people would have a problem with that, plus if he can't kill he can't really be called Deathstroke or even The Terminator, and for a guy like Wilson, I doubt he'd be 100% on just using his first name, despite the fact it actually sounds kind of cool, even compared to his normal moniker. Slade~

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Deathstroke's New 52 series was sooo good until Liefeld ruined it. It got good again with Justin Gray then it got cancelled --_--

Posted by tensor

Series was good.Want more of him.

Posted by dimitridkatsis

Villain/antihero books are the most fun.

Edited by Ostyo

I would rather they gave other characters a chance before going back to someone who already had their chance in the New52.

Posted by Ultron345

Honestly don't care much for DS at all. However I agree. He is a solo series waiting to happen. DC needs to put a proper creative team on it and he will shine. Starting with retconning everything that liefeld did.

Posted by GraniteSoldier

It seems like he'd have the most potential because as a whole he falls into the grey area of hero/villain. He really is case by case, job by job, check by check. He could be hired to kill a hero one arc and next be trying to protect a child, then hired by police "off the books" to take down a criminal mastermind using legit business fronts and public personas that make him untouchable by law enforcement.

I'd read it.

Posted by LyraFay

My only issue that they are turning him into the Anti-Batman. That's good and all but he should be his own character.

Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

@winter_kills: Maybe they just weren't popular enough to sell enough copies to be financially stable. This seems like a decent time to try again though.

Posted by Novemberx2

Deathstroke is very similar to Venom, looks cool, but actually beyond that there is nothing more to character.

best used sparingly

[awaits a queue of people trying to explain why a character is "friggin awesome" and should have their own series and appear all the time]

Posted by tupiaz

I think the article has an error. Just because Deathstroke has become popular with the Arrow shown and Batman: Arkham Origins doesn't mean you can transform that into comic book popularity. The comic book industry is a niche industry and is not necessarily for the people watching TV shows or playing video games.

@scouterv said:

@outside_85: That's because he's greedy and loves his job. That said, I feel as though he could easily be on the payroll for someone like Bruce Wayne as a member of Batman Incorporated (though without changing any of his own gear or motif.) The end game has always been money for Slade. It's why he joined up with Lex in Forever Evil, despite first showing up to kill the "heroes."

All they need is some wealthy benefactor who is actually good to front Slade and he's a pure anti-hero. The one problem would simply be him killing, but I don't think people would have a problem with that, plus if he can't kill he can't really be called Deathstroke or even The Terminator, and for a guy like Wilson, I doubt he'd be 100% on just using his first name, despite the fact it actually sounds kind of cool, even compared to his normal moniker. Slade~

Batman/Bruce wouldn't hire Deathstroke.

Posted by joaoanjos

Liefeld killed Deathstroke New 52 series, that's why

Posted by CF12793

I have to be honest, I find it incredibly irritating that of the massive 80'ties hit that was New Teen Titans, the only two characters from that run that's been allowed to have their own series (or even just a shot at one) is Nightwing, who was practically destined for one after leaving Batman, and their greatest enemy.

Anyways /endrant; I don't really see why Deathstroke needs or should have a series of his own. While he does technically live in the grey-zone of morals, he is more often than not the villain. He's the sort of character you cant really pit against big name heroes without either him loosing in his own book or the hero ending up looking foolish or dead. And actual foes created for him tend to wind up dead and forgotten sooner rather than later.

Best use I can really think for him is an asset that various villainous characters (or even heroes) hire for jobs that puts him in the way of other heroes, alternatively do what the TT cartoon did and have him be a shady mastermind that just happens to be as great a fighters as he is a planner.

This man speaks the truth (And by the truth I mean the way I feel).

Edited by k4tzm4n
@tupiaz said:

I think the article has an error. Just because Deathstroke has become popular with the Arrow shown and Batman: Arkham Origins doesn't mean you can transform that into comic book popularity. The comic book industry is a niche industry and is not necessarily for the people watching TV shows or playing video games.

I'm not saying it's guaranteed to lure in new readers, but the simple fact is Deathstroke is very popular right now and the boosted appearances across various forms of media could benefit him if he was given a title at this point in time. Comic readers who are also fans of Arrow, Injustice: Gods Among Us or Arkham Origins may be more interested in giving the character a chance if a new series popped up.

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Edited by Winter_Kills

@winter_kills: Maybe they just weren't popular enough to sell enough copies to be financially stable. This seems like a decent time to try again though.

Oh definitely. Both characters are more popular than ever- Deathstroke from tv/video game exposure, Winter Soldier from the movie...both are at the level of popularity that warrant them readership. I mean, I hear people talking about DS & WS all the time! If both had books right now, they would be successful, especially if they have quality creative teams(no Rob Liefeld & no Rick Remender!)

Posted by tupiaz

@k4tzm4n said:
@tupiaz said:

I think the article has an error. Just because Deathstroke has become popular with the Arrow shown and Batman: Arkham Origins doesn't mean you can transform that into comic book popularity. The comic book industry is a niche industry and is not necessarily for the people watching TV shows or playing video games.

I'm not saying it's guaranteed to lure in new readers, but the simple fact is Deathstroke is very popular right now and the boosted appearances across various forms of media could benefit him if he was given a title at this point in time. Comic readers who are also fans of Arrow, Injustice: Gods Among Us or Arkham Origins may be more interested in giving the character a chance if a new series popped up.

Fair enough, that is a valid point.

Posted by Teerack

I wish the Deathstroke book was still a thing. DC would be in a lot better shape right now if they didn't cancel a lot of their old books. They had to change the writer on Detective Comics like 5 times before it stopped sucking. Yet they canceled Static's book in less then a year, and ripped all of the better writers off their books and put them onto something involving the trinity. It's like they just have no idea how transparent their lack of caring of other characters is. DC needs new leadership who actually cares about their entire universe, because once upon a time DC was more expansive then Marvel or any other comic universe.

Edited by ScouterV

@tupiaz: Hence I mentioned someone like Wayne would be fine. Maybe Steve Trevor, or some other government official in Checkmate or something like that. He could easily be drafted into Justice League International, I think. He recently had his record erased following Forever Evil so that's a point in his favor.

Edited by tupiaz

@scouterv said:

@tupiaz: Hence I mentioned someone like Wayne would be fine. Maybe Steve Trevor, or some other government official in Checkmate or something like that. He could easily be drafted into Justice League International, I think. He recently had his record erased following Forever Evil so that's a point in his favor.

Huh? I don't think Bruce Wayne/Batman wants any connections with Deathstroke whatsoever.

Posted by ScouterV

@tupiaz: Well, if Bruce has him on retainer, then Deathstroke has no reason to kill. He can get money for just sitting around and not killing people. Really, anyone with Wayne money (Luthor, for example,) could pay Slade, and that's the kicker.

Posted by NukeA6

Deathstroke has the potential to have the best villain book in Marvel/DC. Just keep Liefeld away.

Posted by tupiaz

@scouterv said:

@tupiaz: Well, if Bruce has him on retainer, then Deathstroke has no reason to kill. He can get money for just sitting around and not killing people. Really, anyone with Wayne money (Luthor, for example,) could pay Slade, and that's the kicker.

Exactly and that is why I don't see Bruce would work with Deathstroke.

Posted by JakeN7

They tried that already. Sales weren't there. That's that.

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Posted by ULTRAstarkiller

Great article.

Edited by JoshuaDBr

What sickens and saddens me is that Liefield created Deadpool because he couldn't do Deathstroke's art in the first place. And then when Deadpool is hugely popular and Deathstroke is getting there, he comes to DC and ruins many titles including Deathstroke's series with his poor art and his writing (Though I'm not sure if I like his writing or not. But it did seem to get a lot of books canceled.). It almost seems like sabotage.

Edited by V_Scarlotte_Rose

@v_scarlotte_rose said:

@winter_kills: Maybe they just weren't popular enough to sell enough copies to be financially stable. This seems like a decent time to try again though.

Oh definitely. Both characters are more popular than ever- Deathstroke from tv/video game exposure, Winter Soldier from the movie...both are at the level of popularity that warrant them readership. I mean, I hear people talking about DS & WS all the time! If both had books right now, they would be successful, especially if they have quality creative teams(no Rob Liefeld & no Rick Remender!)

I'm not totally sure if Winter Soldiers' success has been enough. If the sales of his mini series that ended last month, and All-New Invaders which he's in are anything to go by, an ongoing wouldn't last, if the under 20,000 issue danger point is true:

However, I've heard(but not yet researched to confirm) that mini/limited series usually sell less, so maybe an ongoing could do better. The fact that he was able to hold an ongoing for 19 issues between February 2012 and June 2013, but have a mini series that hit supposed cancellation numbers at #4, after getting a publicity boost may confirm that. Other factors like creative teams and plot direction could be factors though.

Maybe an ongoing may have done better, with a different writer if Rick Remender is considered to be a bad fit for him. With no sign of an ongoing starting any time soon, I wonder if the popularity boost could have passed by the time of October and afterwards. Marvel seem to be doing more solo titles at the moment though, so maybe you'll get some luck later in the year. :)

Posted by bloggerboy

Deathstroke is very similar to Venom, looks cool, but actually beyond that there is nothing more to character.

best used sparingly

[awaits a queue of people trying to explain why a character is "friggin awesome" and should have their own series and appear all the time]

The best stories I've seen done with both of the characters are them being in villain/supporting roles to the main characters.

Posted by gridlock464

He definitely deserves an ongoing monthly. I loved Kyle Higgins take on the character, I thought him back to his roots as the hardcore, badass merc. The minute Liefeld took over the book just nosedived! I’d love for Higgins to take the book back over, find a writer that likes the character and turn him/her loose. Look at what Brubaker & Fraction did with Iron Fist, you could tell they genuinely liked/loved the character and it showed in the stories

Posted by AmazingWebHead

"He's getting a chance to shine in TV shows and video games, so why not in comic books?"

Maybe because comics today are a tangled mess of continuity that's dark and angsty just for the sake of being dark and angsty, whereas the video games and TV shows occasionally remind us why we used to tie bathroom towels around our necks and run around pretending we could fly when we were kids?

...I'm sorry. Damn summer heat is getting to me. But still, you make an excellent point.

Posted by Winter_Kills

@winter_kills said:

@v_scarlotte_rose said:

@winter_kills: Maybe they just weren't popular enough to sell enough copies to be financially stable. This seems like a decent time to try again though.

Oh definitely. Both characters are more popular than ever- Deathstroke from tv/video game exposure, Winter Soldier from the movie...both are at the level of popularity that warrant them readership. I mean, I hear people talking about DS & WS all the time! If both had books right now, they would be successful, especially if they have quality creative teams(no Rob Liefeld & no Rick Remender!)

I'm not totally sure if Winter Soldiers' success has been enough. If the sales of his mini series that ended last month, and All-New Invaders which he's in are anything to go by, an ongoing wouldn't last, if the under 20,000 issue danger point is true:

However, I've heard(but not yet researched to confirm) that mini/limited series usually sell less, so maybe an ongoing could do better. The fact that he was able to hold an ongoing for 19 issues between February 2012 and June 2013, but have a mini series that hit supposed cancellation numbers at #4, after getting a publicity boost may confirm that. Other factors like creative teams and plot direction could be factors though.

Maybe an ongoing may have done better, with a different writer if Rick Remender is considered to be a bad fit for him. With no sign of an ongoing starting any time soon, I wonder if the popularity boost could have passed by the time of October and afterwards. Marvel seem to be doing more solo titles at the moment though, so maybe you'll get some luck later in the year. :)

Well, the probably with the mini-series is Remender. Even I dropped the book because the Winter Soldier seemed like a secondary character in his own book. As for All-New Invaders, I haven't been digging it either, Bucky's just a secondary character in it. I've talked to other Bucky/WS fans who also acknowledge this, and I think an ongoing series with a good creative team would be successful. Black Widow has a series- so why can't Bucky? The Bitter March & All-New Invaders just aren't the ideal showing for Bucky/WS, & fans realize it.

Edited by Jayc1324

It got canceled... For a reason.

Maybe they should try again since he's gotten more exposure since then though, I love Deathstroke

Posted by patrat18

Someone tweet this article to Dc.

Posted by Young_Murloc

If everyone loves him so much they would have read his last series and it wouldn't have been canceled :P

Posted by daredevil21134

@tupiaz said:

@scouterv said:

@tupiaz: Hence I mentioned someone like Wayne would be fine. Maybe Steve Trevor, or some other government official in Checkmate or something like that. He could easily be drafted into Justice League International, I think. He recently had his record erased following Forever Evil so that's a point in his favor.

Huh? I don't think Bruce Wayne/Batman wants any connections with Deathstroke whatsoever.

It's already hard enough for him to work with Jason Todd lol

Posted by Wolverine08

I'll be completely honest in that I don't care for Deathstroke's character at all, but this is a very nice article. I hope Slade fans get the ongoing they deserve.

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