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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Deathstroke Key Issue Comics Part 2

We're rollin' into Part 2 of this Deathstroke key comics series, and even though Deathstroke is a character deeply associated with the Teen Titans, we're gonna start hittin' up keys from his actual first comic series. I do believe Deathstroke was popular enough that they didn't need to try him out in a limited series deal.

He just got an on-going series. Let's get to the goodness, but if you missed Part 1, you can click that link to go back. Enjoy!

Origin of Deathstroke
1st appearance of Joseph Wilson as Jericho 
1st appearance of the Jackal (Bill Walsh)
1st appearance Dick Grayson as Nightwing

This comic saw heat when the Teen Titans was supposed to get their own TV show on TNT before the station backed out, and the reason it was fussed on then was because of the 1st appearance of Dick Grayson as Nightwing that this issue holds. However, this is an important key for Deathstroke for two reasons.

First, it holds his origin which is told by Adeline to Dick Grayson, and it is a pretty detailed origin. It covers how Slade and Adeline met in the military, how Adeline trained him, fell in love, married and had a baby during the Vietnam War era. This origin also covers how Slade underwent an experimental procedure to resist truth serums that went wrong and ended up enhancing him instead.

The origin also reveals that Slade left the military and ended up becoming a socialite due to Adeline's rich parents. He became a hunter, but his wife would soon learn that Slade used his hunting trips as a cover to moonlight as the mercenary named Deathstroke.

Because of his actions as Deathstroke, Adeline reveals that Joseph was kidnapped by a group not revealed in this issue. Bill Walsh is revealed to be behind the kidnap and his 1st appearance as the terrorist known as Jackal is in this comic.

The origin also tells how Joseph's throat was cut and rendered him mute when Slade went to meet with the Jackal. Adeline reveals her grudge against Slade and his ego that almost cost Joseph's life. Grant is revealed to be Adeline's son as well.

After the incident with Joseph, Adeline actually tried to kill Slade. Homeboy actually tells her that he couldn't compromise his professional standing as Deathstroke over the well-being of his own son.

She reveals that she shot him, but due to his super speed, she only shot out his right eye instead of killing him like she intended. This issue ends with the 1st appearance of Dick Grayson as Nightwing and Joseph Wilson as Jericho.

The comic reveals that Joseph has the power to possess people. He is a mutant, and Adeline explains that the what happened to Slade affected the genes of Joseph.

Important Deathstroke key issue for sure, but as I've said, there's a lot more goodness happening with this issue as well. If Deathstroke is in the new Batman movie, I'm hoping that Nightwing might have a good chance of finally popping up in the DCEU also.

Deathstroke has been a long-time and well-known adversary and sometimes ally of Nightwing. We'll have to see if Nightwing gets some play and if he helps Batman defeat Deathstroke in the new Batman film.

Tales of the Teen Titans #44 has the cover date of July, 1984.

1st self-titled comic series
1st appearance of Bill Walsh as Ravager
1st appearance of Philip Lockwood
1st Mike Zeck work on Deathstroke 

Because of his growth in popularity, Deathstroke became more of an anti-hero and got his own comic series back in the 90s. This series was his first and was on-going.

Through Wintergreen's journal, we find a recap of Slade's origin, how Adeline and Slade met in the military, started a family, and Slade's experiment that turned him superhuman. This origin was 1st told in Tales of the Teen Titans #44 by Adeline.

I don't think this retelling is anymore detailed than the one told in Tales of the Teen Titans #44, but this issue does have the 1st brief appearance of Bill Walsh as Ravager. He would not last long as the character and his identity isn't revealed.

Philip Lockwood makes his 1st appearance briefly in this issue. He was hired by Slade to spy on Adeline Kane or keep an eye out for her.

Although Kane had grudges against Slade, he never held any towards her. Actually, he still cared for his ex wife, and even though she is a well-known villain of Deathstroke, she is also a love interest as well.

The goodness doesn't stop there for this key issue. In an artist sense, this issue has the first published Deathstroke art by Mike Zeck.

Yep, that Mike Zeck who also had a kick ass work on the Punisher. Zeck only did the cover for this issue and would produce only the covers for much of the early issues of this series. I think it's up to issue #28 and annual #1.
Deathstroke The Terminator #1 has the cover date of August, 1991.

Death of Bill Walsh as Ravager
1st appearance of Squirrel

It is revealed in this issue who the new Ravager is, and it happens to be Bill Walsh. Of course, Bill Walsh's origin is also revealed and why he has a major grudge against Slade Wilson.

Apparently both were in the military and trained together. While Slade thought they were friends, it turns out that Walsh considered him a rival for everything, even the affections of Captain Adeline Kane.

Other than that, Walsh resented Slade for being better than him at everything and considered it "humiliating" him. This issue also reveals that Walsh was the Jackal in Tales of the Teen Titans #44 and kidnapped and slit the throat of his son Joseph.

Walsh also recruited his son Grant for H.I.V.E., and Walsh also knew that the experimental procedure that gave his son powers to become the Ravager would have a biological side effect that would destroy his body every time he used his newfound powers.

So, Walsh is the one who is directly responsible for Grant's death. This enrages Slade and he ends Walsh in this issue. This comic also sees the brief associate of Deathstroke named Squirrel. He is Jasper Evans and fixed and upgraded Deathstroke's weaponry. Sometimes he even created weapons for Wilson.

I don't think Jasper has that many appearances until he dies in Deathstroke The Terminator #41 in 1994. I could be wrong though.

November, 1991 is the cover date for Deathstroke The Terminator #4 of the 1st on-going series.

1st appearance of Patricia Trayce

Known as Pat Trayce, she is a rogue detective in Gotham and was tired of crooks slipping through the cracks. She makes her 1st appearance in this issue...not the Deathstroke The Terminator Annual #1, which clearly established that the two have met before in that annual.

This is a 1st appearance. No cameo, no brief, as she shows up often in this issue, but just as Patricia Trayce. She would later assume the identity of the Vigilante and become the character's 3rd person to take up the mantle.

Trayce eventually was trained by Deathstroke and she became a romantic interest for Slade Wilson as well. This issue marks the beginning and lead up to a Batman and Deathstroke team up outside of a huge comic event where Deathstroke is either a back ground character or is pretty insignificant in the over-all story event.

Pat and Slade do not meet yet. Batman and Commissioner Gordan are in this issue, but Batman does not cross paths with the lethal assassin just yet in this comic.

January, 1992 is the cover date for Deathstroke The Terminator #6.

1st battle with Batman

This one here is definitely under the radar, and with Deathstroke going up against Batman in the rebooted franchise, I think this one might heat up when more word gets out on it. I am not sure if this is the 1st meeting of Batman and Deathstroke, but it is most likely their first battle or confrontation.

In this comic, we see Bruce Wayne asking Dick Grayson about Deathstroke because his ward has fought the mercenary several times, which implies that Batman has yet to go toe-to-toe with him in the comics. Here's the page that hints that Batman knows little about Deathstroke.

Even during the fight, Deathstroke explains to Bats that he's good but not enhanced. I'll let the comic do the explaining for itself here. If you're on a mobile phone, you can click the images to enlarge them. Well, if you can't see them on a puter, you can click the images as well.

While digging around, Deathstroke does show up in at the very last page with Batman and other heroes in Wonder Woman #61 volume 2, but it's a splash page type deal. They're not side by side nor interact in any way, and, actually, Deathstroke doesn't interact with anyone or anything in that comic issue.

It's like they just threw him there for the hell of it. In War of the Gods #4, Deathstroke shows up in a five panels and is in the fight but is nowhere near Bats. He does share the same panel with Deadshot in War of the Gods #4, but neither speak. They're just standing there while Hawkman yabbers on.

At least, he does actually speak in that issue. First, he interacts with Peacemaker and with the Crimson Fox each in one panel in War of the Gods #4, but he has a very minor appearance and actual reason to be in that comic.

He just seems like he was thrown in War of the Gods #4 as well, but it is better than the Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 appearance he has of just his boot in the actual story. In that issue, his boot is shown in one scene and you can assume he is standing alongside other heroes and is yet another cardboard cut-out appearance of the character.

I'm assuming that the pair had to have met somewhere off panel before this time, but this comic has a very good chance of them actually interacting for the first time in a comic at least publishing-wise. Not sure about any retcons that place them meeting prior chronologically after this issue.

For the most part, Deathstroke was relegated to the pages of the Teen Titans or stories involving the team. He wasn't really used outside of that team's stories during the 80s.

Anytime Bats shows up in the Teen Titans comics prior to this issue, he's seen in flashback or an illusion or not much in the stories at all, like the funeral scene at end of Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3. Anyway, the Dark Knight is nowhere near the Terminator in comics before this one.

This one might still be in bargain bins at your local stomping grounds at the time of this writing or publishing. Might be a good flipper. As an actual long-term comic investment hold, it's questionable.

Deathstroke was pretty popular at the time he got his own comic series, so it might have a larger print run. I'm not totally sure, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

Looking up the CGC Census for this issue is pretty useless now since not too many people know of this issue yet, but I am pretty darn sure this is the 1st Deathstroke and Batman battle. Deathstroke does hand Bats his ass to him.

February, 1992 is the cover date for Deathstroke The Terminator #8.

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1st Batman & Deathstroke team up?
1st appearance of Patricia Trayce as Vigilante
1st Vigilante and Deathstroke team up

Batman helps Deathstroke twice in this issue. When I mean team up, I mean outside of some big story event where the two are never seen interacting or where Deathstroke is just in the back ground.

The Panic in the Sky cross-over event that ran through Superman's titled comics did see the two standing pretty close in some panels.

In that event, Deathstroke and Batman are in the same page standing pretty close in Adventures of Superman #488 and Superman #65. That story event does precede this issue and Deathstroke does actually interact a hell of a lot more, but never with Bats.

I don't even think they acknowledge each other in the story event which came out in March of 1992. Deathstroke definitely interacts with Superman in the Panic in the Sky event and with Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Guy Gardner as well.

Batman, though? Never seen actually fighting a long side of each other even though a huge amount of DC heroes team up for that event. The two are actually seen whomping bad guys together in this issue, but that's not all.

Patricia Trayce finally dons the costume of Adrian Chase, the 2nd Vigilante, in this issue. As the Vigilante, she also teams up with Deathstroke and Batman in this issue.

This would mark her path on becoming the character and would get her own costume and be trained by Wilson in the next issue. Her appearance in this issue in the Vigilante costume is a full one, and I have no idea why Overstreet notes it as a brief appearance of her as Vigilante

She shows up in costume in more than 20 panels and on 12 whopping pages. Perhaps, it's because she doesn't fully adopt the mantle until the next issue and has her own costume?

No idea, but if that's the case, then issue #10 is her first full appearance. The cover of issue #10 does introduce Pat Trayce as the "All-New Vigilante".

CGC also notes this, but I don't understand this bit of shizzle. Here's my argument: So Hawkgirl basically does the same thing and impersonates Hawkman in All-Star Comics #5. She becomes the character of Hawkgirl in Flash Comics #24.

However, Shiera Sanders as the Golden Age Hawkgirl and her first appearance is noted as Flash Comics #5. When she actually takes on the mantle of Hawkgirl in Flash Comics #24, it's widely noted as a 2nd appearance of Hawkgirl.

Doh! I think it's a bit contradictory when compared to 1st appearances of Pat Trayce as the Vigilante and Shiera Sanders as Hawkgirl. In order for this conundrum to make since either Pat Trayce as the Vigilante and her 1st appearance needs to be in this issue and her 2nd appearance in next issue, or Shiera Sanders 1st as Hawkgirl in Flash Comics #5 needs to be considered a "1st brief" and her 2nd appearance in Flash Comics #24 a "1st full".

Whatever! No shock about appearance contradictions here in the world of comics. 

Deathstroke The Terminator #9 has the cover date of April, 1992.

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I'm hard pressed to say that Crisis on Infinite Earths is Deathstroke's 1st crossover event in DC continuity. His boot shows up one time in the entire thing in issue #5, and he's only on the cover of issue #9. If he is in that issue, he's barely identifiable.

As for the 1st battle with Batman in Deathstroke #7, I'm pretty sure it's the first published fight between the two in comics. If anyone can find a comic where they duke it out prior to that one, do let me know.

Most of these Deathstroke key comics in Part 2 aren't expensive finds at all with the exception of Tales of the Teen Titans #44, but even that one in CGC 9.8s aren't crazy up there or even near the $1,000 mark.

Might be hard for that one to get close to there unless really crazy demand hits for that issue for some reason. Nightwing being in the Batman movie might push it even more, and it's plausible.

I mean, I think Batman would need a bit of help with Deathstroke. After all, Deathstroke is like Captain America being that he is a super soldier. 

Like Deathstroke implies in issue #7, Bat's is still a normal human. Would be a very good reason to have Nightwing finally pop up live-action in the DCEU, but who knows what their plans are.

I guess you can count the first meeting of Deadshot and Deathstroke in War of the Gods #4, but even though they're standing next to each other, they don't ever interact. I don't think Deadshot was in the Panic in the Sky Superman event story, or I couldn't find him in those issues.

Anyway, there's more Deathstroke key issues for sure and coming up in the next part. See ya then and hope you ladies 'n gents are having a good weekend so far.


  1. Great report so far. Key' s galore! Hey, anybody know why the character Black Lightning from DC is the talk of the day? Is he DC' s Luke Cage? Gotta catch up on this one...


    1. There are reports of a Black Lighting TV series coming to FOX.

  2. Wowza! Thanx for the information. Maybe Mayhem can give us a Black Lightning special. Know next to zero about this dude.


    1. Not a major character in the DC Universe. Maybe a C or D list character. As with the TV show announcement his 1st appearance is already selling pretty well on EBay.