Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke, is one of DC's most formidable mercenaries. Sporting enhanced physicals and a gifted mind, he's gone face-to-face with some of the most challenging characters and teams on the planet. From the absurdly powerful Superman to the swift and precise Cassandra Cain, Deathstroke has had his abilities tested against a whole slew of individuals time and time again. This week, we decided to reflect on Slade's long history of brawls and pick ten of our favorites. If your top Deathstroke melee isn't on the list, go ahead and share it below. Now, let's see why Deathstroke is feared by so many!
Deathstroke vs. Batman (DEATHSTROKE #7 1991)
Yes, the image above isn't the most flattering one around for Batman, but trust us, Marv Wolfman gives both of these characters proper credit. They're both looking for the same target in Gotham City and, obviously, they both have a different idea on how said target should be handled. This brawl gives Wolfman a chance to show off just how menacing and formidable Slade really is. The Dark Knight gets some hits in, but it's made perfectly clear that the Terminator is his physical equal and, if push comes to shove, he has what it takes to bring down Gotham's hero. Now, the subject of Batman vs. Deathstroke is obviously up for more discussion if Wayne decides to use his gear instead of just slugging it out, but Wolfman used this brawl to showcase Wayne's resilience and drive. Even against an enhanced and deadly character, Batman refuses to give up.
Deathstroke vs. Azrael (AZRAEL #45)
"Flaming blade. Nice touch. Might impress somebody. Somebody else." And with that stated, we're treated to a sword fight between two of DC's coolest characters. The two dangerous dudes go strike for strike as they agree to fight with their just blades. Wilson comments that Jean-Paul Valley's technique isn't quite up to par, but he compensates for that with his physicals. A third party unfortunately cuts the fight short, but it's a memorable ride while it lasts and Roger Robinson's art certainly helps!
Deathstroke vs. The Sukesada Clan (DEATHSTROKE #17-18 2011)
Have you ever wanted to see Slade Wilson fight a whole bunch of ninjas? Odds are the answer is yes, and if the idea never crossed your mind, we bet you're thinking it sounds pretty cool, yes? Well, writer Justin Jordan and artist Edgar Salazar have you covered! Jordan's time with the Terminator was short-lived but he sure made it memorable. First, they tested Slade's intellect against Koschei, a man who's seemingly unkillable. Then, they let Deathstroke show off his deadly abilities as he kept running into the Sukesada Clan. First he fought a bunch of ninjas in a train and then he fought a bunch of ninjas in a building. And yes, it's just as awesome as it sounds. To top it off, Slade's then tested against an enhanced combatant and the melee ends up on the side of the building. If you love seeing Deathstroke in action, you've got to read this story.
Deathstroke & Ravager vs. Teen Titans (THE NEW TEEN TITANS #2)
It all started here, Deathstroke fans! Marv Wolfman and George Perez's first issue with Deathstroke kicks off with a display of Slade's speed and skill, but the two creative minds really give him a chance to shine when he runs into the Teen Titans! He'll have a long and rocky history with his team, but this conflict is a huge moment in his life. The fight isn't too long, but Slade teaming-up with his son,Grant, to battle the group displays why this character becomes a major threat in the DC universe and ends on one heck of a strong note.
Deathstroke vs. Cassandra Cain (BATGIRL #63)
Deathstroke underestimated Cassandra Cain the first time they faced -- he assumed Batman trained her and quickly saw that wasn't the case -- but Slade isn't the kind of guy that makes the same mistake twice. What makes this encounter special is the fact Deathstroke's manipulating his talented opponent the entire time. Batgirl's internal dialogue is constantly praising Slade's movements and eventually she realizes he's toying with her. So, she then takes action and aims to change the direction of the fight. However, she's still playing right into Slade's hand and ends up exactly where he wants her to be.
Deathstroke vs. Ravager (DEATHSTROKE #3 1991)
The Ravager has returned and he has one simple objective: to make Deathstroke suffer. The costumed mercenary gives opens the battle by shooting the Terminator at point blank range over and over again. What follows is a savage and unforgettable battle as these two eventually toss aside the weapons and turn it into a punch brutal fest. Wolfman's first volume is loaded with action, but this vicious encounter is one that's sure to standout.
Deathstroke vs. Superman (SUPERMAN #62 1987)
Look, we all know Superman could squish Slade in a second if he really wanted to and this is something Slade Wilson -- an intelligent and tactical man -- clearly understands. Instead of being stubborn and attempting to best the Man of Steel, Slade realizes his best course of action is to elude the Kryptonian. This gives the mercenary the opportunity to show off his quick thinking, agility, and reflexes. Kal-El eventually gets his durable hands on Deathstroke, but Slade still manages to impress him during the chase and that's hugely commendable considering Clark's abilities.
Deathstroke vs. a bar full of mercenaries (DEATHSTROKE #2 2011)
Deathstroke's opening story in the New 52 was all about big, crazy, bloody action. Every issue presented something that dropped our jaws and displayed just how insanely lethal Slade can truly be. There's plenty of awesome fight scenes for our eyes to appreciate during this run, but witnessing Slade slaughter a bar full of mercenaries was pure excellence. He's completely surrounded by competition, yet Deathstroke effortlessly rips through all of them and looks great while doing it. This is worth a look if you ever wanted to see Slade slicing and dicing like a total boss.
Deathstroke vs. Justice League (IDENTITY CRISIS #3)
If you ever questioned Deathstroke's sheer badassery, you seriously need to read IDENTITY CRISIS #3. Sure, we can debate all day about how some of the heroes were downplayed, but still, this is a phenomenal example of why Deathstroke's considered to be one of the best. Not only does he know how to take down several heroes, but he's able to implement these tactics while facing overwhelming odds, too. It's a great experience for any Deathstroke fan, that's for sure.
Deathstroke vs. Teen Titans (TEEN TITANS #46 2003)
This is yet another great example of the one-eyed mercenary's ability to humiliate an entire crowd of opponents. Cyborg, Beast Boy, Batgirl, Nightwing... a team that consists of these characters and more isn't easy to overcome, yet Slade manages to systemically handle them and slip away. And the best part of it all? The entire fight and storyline is actually his way of assuring his kids are with the right people.