Deathstroke is a skilled warrior and ferocious killer, but he suffers from a debilitating cliché that throws him off course, one he is outgrowing.
Warning! This article contains spoilers for Deathstroke Inc. #7
Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke has long suffered one particular cliché that was just called out by DC Comics, and while this could be viewed as a dig at his character, it actually proves that Deathstroke can outgrow it. While Deathstroke has always been known as a deadly killer whose skills are matched only by his drive, he has one weak point that consistently knocks him out of the fight any time he takes things too far. But based on his recent attitude change, it seems that plot point will soon no longer be used.
In Deathstroke Inc. #7 by Joshua Williamson and Stephen Segovia, Slade is confronted by a ninja called Respawn, a clone of Deathstroke who was created by Ra’s al Ghul through the combined DNA of Slade and Talia al Ghul. Upon meeting Respawn, Slade immediately accepts him as his son and incorporates him into his newly established criminal enterprise, much to the surprise of his daughter, Rose.
Rose is shocked by Deathstroke’s response to meeting his son not because of his acceptance of him, but because he doesn’t immediately reevaluate his life to focus more on family. Rose observes Deathstroke taking his villainous operation way too far and figures she’ll use his biggest cliché to pull him back from the edge. In the previous issue, Rose says to Respawn, “Every once in a while Deathstroke goes a little nuts… and he needs his family to pull him back from the edge.” Rose is obviously hoping that will be the case in this instance, and that when Deathstroke meets Respawn he will commit himself more to his family and pull away from his life of professional supervillainy, which has now reached the same level as the Legion of Doom. However, Deathstroke proves here that his character is experiencing some dramatic changes as he doesn’t lose his focus or change his direction because of his family.
There are a few examples of Deathstroke being thrown off course because of his family, with the prime one being shown in the finale of The Lazarus Contract crossover storyline by Christopher Priest, Ben Percy, Dan Abnet, and Brett Booth. In that storyline, Deathstroke steals access to the Speed Force to increase his power exponentially, but upon spending extensive amounts of time within the Speed Force, he is shown visions that completely remove his desire to kill the heroes who oppose him. He leaves and forms his own version of the Teen Titans with his daughter Rose as a prime member. Another example of Deathstroke abandoning his ambitions for family is shown in Faces of Evil: Deathstroke #1 by David Hine and Georges Jeanty, in which Deathstroke seemingly decides to give up on life until Rose snaps him out of it and pulls him back from his suicidal path and onto one that is entirely brand new. After Rose’s intervention of sorts, Deathstroke leaves his old life behind and begins his life anew, all because of the push he gets from his family.
Rose has been able to keep Deathstroke from going off the deep end over and over again throughout DC Comics, but this time she fails miserably. When Deathstroke invites Respawn to join his criminal organization, Rose freaks out as she was hoping all of them could simply be a family and Deathstroke would leave this ambition behind as he had done so many other times in the past. Instead, Rose is cast out by Respawn, which only makes Deathstroke more proud of his newfound offspring. Family isn’t enough to steer Deathstroke off course, even though his daughter thinks he needs a change in direction, proving that Deathstroke can outgrow his biggest cliché.
Next: Deathstroke Gets His Own Unkillable Robin in Tribute to Iconic X-Men Art
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