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mygif

Not sure if the timing works out, but his sudden change might be due to his appearance on the Teen Titans cartoon. Where he was a completely different character who basically was a kind of Supervillain Batman. And was voiced by Ron Perlman, which meant he stayed credible no matter how stupidly evil he was.

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mygif

What Phil said (and yes, the timing does work out.) Slade in Teen Titans got a HUGE fan response, and for good reason; he was fucking awesome. And lord knows DC has never been shy about trying to leverage really popular things.

That said, Slade was a different animal from Deathstroke; there was a lot of surface similarity (the hypercompetence being the main thing) but under the hood he wasn’t the same thing at all.

Basically I think Deathstroke fell into the problem of being a victim of the path of least resistance.

So they decide to kick Deathstroke up to the A-list. That means he needs his own plot-driving agenda. This is the DCU. Supervillains do what they do; I don’t think anyone needs mean to go over the well-established tropes, right? So they take Deathstrokes main strengths (badass, hypercompetent, knows how to plan) and kick them up a notch (Evil Batman) then give him a shadowy agenda. I can practically HEAR in my head how that editorial meeting went; they were probably done by eleven and took an early lunch.

Lord knows I’m okay with characters evolving, but it… uh… didn’t work out all that well.

I -do- think Deathstroke (1.0) is capable of carrying major plots by himself in a book in which he is the protagonist. Mercenary work in the DCU is -interesting-. I mean, how do you negotiate a contract with Luthor, then do due diligence to make sure you’re not just a disposable sacrificial pawn to him, then do the actual job, THEN avoid the potential for a double-cross, then get paid? He’s having a year-long feud with Green Arrow? That had better be because he’s got an extended contract job to do in Star City, he’s taken the cash, and now he has to deliver and Oliver Queen WILL NOT STOP fucking up his plans. That’s GOOD STUFF.

But he wouldn’t really be the driver (that’s sort of the job of whoever HIRED him and/or stabbed him in the back and/or is picking a fight with him because if you can beat up Deathstroke you’ve made your rep) and I don’t know that it could support an INDEFINITE ongoing. A long-running ongoing, like Hitman was, where you had individual arcs but there’s kind of an overall thing and it comes to a definite end once that ends? Yeah, maybe. But current Deathstroke is… well, MGK said it.

Oh, and in closing; we HAVE an insane supervillain who is an Evil Batman. His name is Prometheus. Anyone at all give a damn about him? Thought not.

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mygif

He was sort of evil Wolverine before. There was always an underpinning of nobility that he tried to hang on to in the face of shame, grief, and an unbalanced mental state.

My favorite issue with him was the one where Gar Logan tries to kill him and then they have coffee. That was great stuff. He was personally horrified by Terra and her actions. That was great stuff too.

They’ve just made him into a psychopath now.

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Matthew Johnson said on July 8th, 2010 at 10:26 am

I blame Meltzer. AFAIK, it was his Justice
League takedown in Identity Crisis that really sent him p to the big leagues (absurd though it was.) The irony is that it was Meltzer’s love of Perez/Wolfman-era Titans that led to the ruining of one of the book’s best characters…

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Marionette said on July 8th, 2010 at 11:10 am

I’d guess his big comeback has as much to do with DC’s current fetish with its “classic” history as it is with the TT cartoon. Especially given that the cartoon did its own version of the hugely popular Terra story arc that made Deathstroke the first time around.

Personally I’ve never been able to work out how he can be such a badass assassin when he has no depth perception.

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Kid Kyoto said on July 8th, 2010 at 11:39 am

“Oh, and in closing; we HAVE an insane supervillain who is an Evil Batman. His name is Prometheus. Anyone at all give a damn about him? Thought not.”

I thought it was Wrath? Or was it Owlman? Or Bane…

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mygif

But he was portrayed as a master planner even during the Wolfman/Perez era on NTT. The Judas Contract was one gianaster plan that ended up backfiring because Deaqthstroke was fraying at the edges. He never really mounred for the death of his osn after all and relied on someone who was completely unstable to help him take down the Titans (something he actually comments on himself after he fails to capture Dick Grayson during that story).

I agree he is overexposed now and would be great if he was used strictly as a mercenary that shows up once every 2 years to fuck with th Titans or just Dick (because the rivalry is really between Slade and Dick after all)…

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mygif

I actually blame Johns more than Meltzer. Johns wanted to use him as a way to turn Rose into Ravager who was absolutely a pet character to him. Yes, Meltzer was the springboard in Identity Crisis, but Johns was the one who had him go nuts shortly thereafter.

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John 2.0 said on July 8th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I’ve always hated that outfit. The dark/navy blue armor and mail works well, but bright orange swashbuckler boots? Only Cap can pull off the swashbuckler boots, and I don’t think he could pull off orange ones.

I followed the early issues of his series and it was pretty bad. I remember he had this tiny little pistol that was supposed to become a sniper rifle with the benefit of a few attachments. I never figured out how that worked.

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mygif

Too bad, because I thought he was great in his original appearances too.

Did they ever do away with that “uses 90% of his brain” bullshit? That old bit saying we only use 10% of our brain has been debunked numerous times: http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percent.asp

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mygif

I actually liked the New Tattooed Man when it looked like he was going to pull off his heel Face Turn. Backsliding him into the New Teen Terminators is just lazy.

That said — Every supervillain would be better if we saw less of them.

… I started to elaborate on that, but it got lengthy enough that I decided to turn it into a KDDR post.

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mygif

I actually liked the New Tattooed Man when it looked like he was going to pull off his heel Face Turn.

I never really thought his Heel Face Turn made sense in the first place. As presented in Final Crisis, the new Tattooed Man was deluded about what being a hero meant and had this whole lack of respect thing going on, and hanging out with the Justice League for an hour or so during the end of the world shouldn’t really be enough to break that delusion.

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mygif

Having only been exposed to the recent incarnation of Deathstroke, I’m kind of shocked that he scored more than 30 per cent Rex.

Still, if you say he used to be awesome, I guess he used to be awesome.

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mygif

The real height of Deathstroke overexposure was the early 90s circa “Titans Hunt” when he was in every single issue of Titans for about 2 years straight as well as appearing in his own title. Wolfman turned his own character from a fairly interesting (though obviously colorblind) bad guy into a boring-as- hell almost-hero. The Meltzer/Johnsification of Slade was really a return to form for the character, bringing him back to his roots as a villainous assassin. Of coure, being Meltzer and Johns, they took it to ridiculous extremes and pretty much ruined him, but there you go.

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Doug M. said on July 8th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I think Phil got it right in the first comment.

Slade in the Teen Titans cartoon was awesome. He was a match for all the Teen Titans and, yes, he was totally Evil Batman. Hell, there was a whole plot arc where Robin turned into Evil Robin, I mean Red X, to become his sidekick.

And, yes, the voice of Ron Perlman. Husky, slightly mocking, emotionally detached. Cartoon Slade never ranted and never yelled. He was awesome.

The other really good version of Slade is, of course, Principal Slade from Tiny Titans.

Doug M.

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Uber Geek said on July 8th, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Has MKG ever thought about doing this type of topic with characters from the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe? The new series especially has all kinds of obscure characters.

Anyway, more on topic, the ’90’s Deathstroke series basically turned him into DC’s Punisher. Sigh, another eason to hate the ’90’s.

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Citizen Bacillus said on July 8th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

It sounds like a Deathstroke book COULD work but only if the titular character shows up as little as possible. Like Golgo-13 but with capes.

And less sex with prostitutes.

Unless J.T. Krul is writing it.

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mygif

@Doug M.

He did yell very occasionally. Like, twice. And it kind of made me worried for a second that I could get punched by a cartoon character.

Basically Ron Perlman can be a very scary man when he wants to be.

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mygif

Garth Ennis could write a bad ass Deathstroke I bet.

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Discount Lad said on July 8th, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Seconding both the love of the new Tattooed Man in his Final Crisis/Aftermath books, and Deathstroke as a kind of Golgo 13 character. The problem with the latter being that’d he’s too pompous enough to not be strong and silent like Golgo is.

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FifthSurprise said on July 9th, 2010 at 2:24 am

All this just reminded me again that Ryan Choi is dead…

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Garfield said on July 9th, 2010 at 2:41 am

I agree that he would take on Grayson for very little; that’s one of the few interesting angles for the character. Done right, he’s a hugely competent antagonist who is NOT a Batman villain, but rather a Dick Grayson one. That’s rare enough to treasure on its own terms, but consider why he’d hate Dick:
a. Dick keeps winning in their confrontations (not all the time, but far more than Slade can accept, given his innate advantages), and
b. Dick has also lost his family but formed a new one, which is more than Slade has ever managed to do. In fact Grayson has more important friends than almost anyone in the DCU — he’s a linchpin, the superhero Kevin Bacon. (This was used to good effect in a Waid/Kolins Brave & Bold not so long ago; basically the whole DC superhero community went off into a strange dimension, because Trigon was coming. How did they know? Dick told them, and off they went. It was an explicit part of the story that they all just took his word. He was lying, but anyhow.) In a weird echo of The Killing Joke, it must bother Slade that Dick can move on and be happy but Slade stays corrupt and miserable and has to kill his own kids once every few months.

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mygif

+1 Garfield

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mygif

Between Phil / Garfield’s comments I think DC missed what both their comics and the Teen Titans cartoon were telling them, which is that Deathstroke is awesome, when you make him the antagonist to a Dick Grayson who is also allowed to be awesome.

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Doug M. said on July 9th, 2010 at 8:04 pm

DC missed it, but Grant Morrison did not.

Doug M.

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NCallahan said on July 10th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Dan:

You seem to be implying that the general purpose — the reason d’etre, if you will — of superhero stories is people being awesome, rather than people being pathetic, useless, naive, and pitiable. I’m not sure what kind of sick twisted world you think we live in, but it must be a disgusting one.

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Tales to Enrage said on July 10th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Uber Geek: That question has been asked before, and if I remember correctly, MGK basically said he might do it if he had copies of the Marvel Handbook, but he does not.

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Mad Scientist said on July 10th, 2010 at 5:54 pm

IMO, the best version of Deathstroke is, of course, Deadpool.

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mygif

Tales: Also, the House to Astonish podcast has that ground covered. Quite well, in fact.

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mygif

Mad Scientist beat me to it. (Slade/Wade Wilson? Swords + guns? Check. Skin-tight facemask with no nose? Check. Belt pouches all the way around? Check. Mercenary/Assassin? Check. The checklist just keeps on going…)

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mygif

Joe Kelly wrote a Batman/Superman annual where the antimatter-universe version of Deathstroke wouldn’t stop talking and kept getting interrupted before he could introduce himself. So, yeah, the first guy to write the character in an ongoing acknowledged that he was building on a rip-off. Related to another post on this site, he wrote a story in Deadpool 900 drawn by Rob Liefeld (shudder).

Teen Titans always seemed awesome when I caught the last few minutes before Megas XLR, but I couldn’t watch an episode from the beginning; there’s just something about an American show with chibi faces.

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mygif

You seem to be implying that the general purpose — the reason d’etre, if you will — of superhero stories is people being awesome, rather than people being pathetic, useless, naive, and pitiable. I’m not sure what kind of sick twisted world you think we live in, but it must be a disgusting one.

I also like happy endings :O

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mygif

Slade wilson is damaged goods nowadays As a villain you’ve written pretty much everything in the terra betrayal storyline. unlike luthor joker darkseid or two face , he doesn’t cut it as avillain anymore ,as a morally grey adversary yes,but as a teen titans villain he made his time, MOVE ON dammit!( besides teen titans itself blows chunks compared to young justice which to this day i can’t figure out how they could butcher impulse & kon-el so we can have connor kent (complete with emoness) & kid (have nothing to do with bart allen at all)flash)
& really deathstroke with a team ? making evil juice? beating the entire fucking league all by himself? BULLSHIT that’d be like joker drinking poison unharmed & talking without lips or batman not reacting when his “son” beats alfred & tim & bringing a decapitated head…oh wait morrison,nevermind
Srsly though there’s suspension to disbelief,Deus ex machina & pulling shit out your ass!!

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mygif

It says a lot about DC that, when they were looking over Teen Titans and choosing what to add to the comics, they took “overexposed super-mastermind Deathstroke/Slade”, but not “lighthearted tone”, “influence from anime and classic TV”, “willingness to innovate”, “protagonists playing off one another rather than attacking one another”, or “those once-a-season episodes where the plot is now about Terry Gilliam and the Muppets”.

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