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Friday, September 9, 2016

Deathstroke Key Issue Comics

With Ben Affleck and actor Joe Manganiello both confirming that Deathstroke will be a villain in the new Batman movie, it's time to take a look at some Deathstroke key issues and comics. Fans have sorta been anticipating this move, but it does come as a surprise.

Although the Dark Knight has faced the lethal assassin on various occasions, Deathstroke is often more connected to the Rogues Gallery of Nightwing and Green Arrow. We've already seen the character on Arrow, so now we'll get a big screen version.

I think it's different and pretty cool, someone we haven't seen Bats go up against live-action before. Ben Affleck teased this video on his twitter account which got quite a bit of attention.

Looks pretty badass to me, and Deathstroke should be able to give Batman a good run for his money. Since Justice League is currently filming, I think we may see the villain introduced there.

Alright, let's get on with Part 1 of this Deathstroke key comics series.

1st appearance of Grant Wilson
2nd appearance of New Teen Titans
Origin of New Teen Titans
1st issue to new on-going series

Preceding even the 1st appearance of Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) is his son Grant Wilson, who did not know his father was the legendary mercenary at first. Grant Wilson is known as the 1st Ravager.

The subsequent characters who would eventually take up the mantle of Ravager would be foes for Deathstroke except for one who would be a hero. Three of the  characters that take up the mantle of Ravager do have a blood connection to Slade Wilson.

Grant Wilson makes his 1st appearance in this issue here and would become the Ravager in the next issue. In terms of the 2nd appearance of the New Titans, it's debatable but DC Comics Presents #26 is still tagged as Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire's 1st appearance.

Since that story had the New Titans in a premonition, it could be argued that this appearance of the team is the 1st chronological appearance, but I don't really think that holds much water. CBCS is noting this issue as the 2nd appearances of Raven, Starfire, and Cyborg and even notes this key issue as having the origin of the New Titans.

1st appearance of Deathstroke
1st appearance of W.R. Wintergreen
1st Grant Wilson as Ravager (death)
1st full appearance of H.I.V.E.

Although this comic is sought-out because it holds the 1st appearance of Deathstroke, there's more than meets the eye than just that to this key issue. This issue also has the 1st appearance of W.R. Wintergreen, a long supporting character and close friend of Slade Wilson.

Who says mercenaries don't need man servants also? W.R. Wintergreen is like an Alfred to Slade and  was in the British Army. He is an important character in the Deathstroke mythos.

Grant Wilson becomes the 1st Ravager in this issue, and H.I.V.E. is the organization that turns him into the super-powered villain. Unfortunately, the experiment does have a side effect that takes Grant's life, so he dies in this issue as well.

As most of us already know and probably the most important 1st appearance in this comic is that of Deathstroke. He would become a memorable foe of Dick Grayson and the New Titans as well as a comic book hero of sorts himself.

Deathstroke was created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and this comic has seen heat once again due to the Batman movie confirmations. Before, it got a slight bump for the character being on the Arrow CW show.

Not the first time this comic was talked about on Total Comic Mayhem, and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last either. I'm expecting nothing but a killer portrayal of this character on the big screen since he is considered the most lethal assassin in DC Comics.

We shall see, and The New Teen Titans #2 has the cover date of December, 1980.

2nd cameo or brief/minor appearance of Deathstroke

Alrighty, if Wolverine has a 2nd full appearance in Giant-Size X-Men #1 but does show up prior in Incredible Hulk #182 in a brief or minor appearance then I don't see why that shouldn't apply to Deathstroke. In all actuality, Deathstroke does appear in this comic in the actual story, but it's only in two panels and on the very last page. 

Overstreet notes this as a minor appearance on the last page, but, hey, if you believe a cameo or brief constitutes as an appearance plain and simple, then you can ignore what Overstreet or anyone else has to say. Up to you, and it's not like appearances notations aren't kind of screwy to begin with.

Anyway, here's the page where we see Deathstroke for the 2nd time:
Then again, Incredible Hulk #182 is just noted as a Wolverine cameo by Overstreet and CGC. However, since is the 2nd time we see the character briefly, I'm just gonna note it a 2nd cameo appearance here even though I just noted it a "cameo appearance" prior.

Anyway, this comic was also featured in the Teen Titans key issues list done prior, and has the cover date of July, 1981.

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2nd appearance of Deathstroke

Deathstroke definitely shows up more fully in issue #10 than he does in issue #9. Like mentioned before, Wolvie shows up in Incredible Hulk #182 in 3 panels on one page and it's simply regarded as a cameo in Overstreet.

Well, Overstreet has clocked this issue as the 2nd appearance of Deathstroke though CGC doesn't note it just yet at least that I know of. I'm sure they'll come around.

This comic is still pretty much flying under the radar. I don't see it going too crazy just yet, and I have no idea if it will or not.

Regardless, if you're a fan of Deathstroke, you might want to consider snagging a copy if you haven't already. Cover date is August, 1981 for The New Teen Titans #10 volume 1.

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3rd appearance of Deathstroke in comics
1st Deathstroke intercompany cross-over
1st one-on-one fight with Dick Grayson as Robin
Deathstroke battles the X-Men
1st meeting of Deathstroke and Darkseid

Strange that this one made this list of Deathstroke key issues? Well, it has and that's because it's the 3rd appearance of Deathstroke in comics even if it isn't really part of canon or continuity for either publisher.

This is the 1st intercompany cross-over for the character and the Teen Titans as well. The two worlds of Marvel's X-Men and the Teen Titans come together in this comic, and Deathstroke has a battle with the X-Men in it.

He also has a very brief fight with Robin one-on-one. Very brief as in Deathstroke knocks him out pretty easily.

As most comic fans know, Deathstroke would be one of the most enduring villains for the Titans and later on be a nemesis for Grayson as Nightwing also. Not sure if this is a big deal or not, but The Terminator actually meets Darkseid for the 1st time in this issue as well.

Still an under the radar key issue on many levels. Even though I did not note it, this comic also holds the 1st intercompany cross-over for the X-Men.

So, this has a lot of good stuff going for it for quite a few comic characters. As a Deathstroke key, it's a whole bunch of fun.

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 4th appearance Deathstroke in comics
3rd appearance Deathstroke in continuity
Cameo of Adeline Kane (photo)
Death of Adriane Chase family

Alright, when it comes to Adeline Kane, she is the ex wife of Wilson Slade or Deathstroke. She's also the mother of Joseph Wilson, who becomes Jericho later.

Adeline is only shown in a photo in this issue, but she is called by name by Slade Wilson. I'll feature the panels that reveal this.

So we learn in this issue that Deathstroke had a wife named Adeline, and that she was a good marksman. Actually, Adeline joined the military and met and trained Slade Wilson.

They married and had two sons Grant and Joseph Wilson. Slade underwent the experimental military operation that enhanced his strength, reflexes, speed and endurance, and he eventually quit the military and became a mercenary.

They divorced when Joseph was kidnapped due to Slade's activities as Deathstroke and his priority as the mercenary over their own son's well-being. Adeline would be an early recurring and supporting character for Deathstroke.

She is often seen as antagonist for the anti-hero or villain and holds grudges against him, especially for the deaths of their sons Grant and Joseph, the latter Slade actually killed himself. I'm not entirely sure if a photograph counts as a 1st cameo but Darkseid appears on a monitor or screen in his 1st cameo in Jimmy Olsen #134.

As we all know by now, Adrian Chase is the 2nd person to take up the Vigilante. His reason in doing so is linked to the murder of this family in this issue.

So 4th appearance in an actual comic, and 3rd appearance in actual DC continuity. New Teen Titans #34 has the cover date of August, 1983.

Cameo appearance Adeline Kane 
Cameo appearance of Joseph Wilson

Adeline Kane shows up in the flesh in two panels on the very last page of this comic. Joseph Wilson is also in one panel but it's the back of his blonde head, so you don't really see him.

I guess that could count as a 1st cameo if characters in shadow count. Then again, he is not named in this issue and neither is Adeline.

Her and her son's identity would be revealed in the next issue, though. Even though this is the 1st cameo appearance of both characters actually being physically in a comic story, I'm sure CGC and Overstreet will just note it a simple cameo.

Tales of the Teen Titans #42 has the cover date of May, 1984.

1st full appearance of Adeline Kane & Joseph Wilson

In this issue, Adeline Kane and Joseph Wilson definitely show up fully. Adeline reveals herself and Joseph Wilson is named in this comic too.

Adeline shows up in 16 panels and on 6 pages. Joseph Wilson shows up in 10 panels on 5 pages.

Both would be supporting characters for Deathstroke, and Joseph Wilson would become Jericho and a member of the Teen Titans. Right now, this issue is definitely flying under the radar.

Overstreet does not note nor any of the third party grading companies. Even though Adeline is an important supporting character in the mythos of Deathstroke, I think comic fans don't really consider her an iconic supporting character like Alfred or Gwen Stacy.

Maybe they never will. After all, her representation in live action media so far has been completely disregarded. Although in the TV show Arrow, it is mentioned that Deathstroke does have a son named Joe.

I'm wondering if Deathstroke's back ground and cast of supporting characters will be more fleshed out in the DCEU. Maybe. Maybe not.

Adeline Kane does head the 2nd incarnation of H.I.V.E. in the comics, and we've already seen that organization on the small screen in Arrow with Damien Darhk in charge of the outfit. However, I certainly hope that Deathstroke does not end up being a one-off villain in the movies.

Tales of the Teen Titans #43 has the cover date of June, 1984. It is Part 2 of the Judas Contract story line.

Deathstroke is a strange character and has gone through quite a bit of changes from writer to writer. In his early appearances, he was a foil to the Teen Titans for sure and blamed them for the death of his son.

However, as the 80s neared the 90s, Deathstroke became more of an anti-hero of sorts. His mythos and that which included his supporting characters didn't really change after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths all that much. 

I know, we're not there yet and getting a bit ahead of myself. Deathstroke does have supporting characters, but value-wise, they're not really seen all that important or sought-out concerning their 1st appearances or keys.

A long supporting character, Adeline's 1st appearance is a bargain bin find. Grant Wilson's 1st in The New Teen Titans #1 isn't really the reason why most want that issue.

Joseph Wilson's 1st isn't all that sought-out or cared for by large in the market currently either. Actually, there aren't a whole lot of Deathstroke keys that are on the radar for collectors, speculators, and even long-term comic investors.

New Teen Titans #2 and Deathstroke's 1st appearance is a given, and the only other early key that has pretty good value is Tales of the New Teen Titans #44, an issue that 1st tells Deathstroke's origin and has the 1st appearance of Dick Grayson as Nightwing. Some of the other Judas Contract issues might have a bit of value in higher CGC grades, but I would bet 9.8s regular Universals are still in the $100 range or near it.

Although confirmed to be in the DCEU, there's really no details to the extent the villain will play in it. One-off villain? Recurring villain? Will he end up being an anti-hero or remain a foil. 

After all, Crossbones lasted a while and was offed in Captain America Civil War. We'll just have to see how Deathstroke is handled as usual.

Still, while most of these Deathstroke keys aren't seen as viable picks to speculate on or comics to invest in on a large scale currently, they are keys for the character no matter how important or not they're perceived at the moment. A lot of them will still be pretty cheap buys, but many of these later Bronze Age keys for Deathstroke and the Teen Titans don't seem to be a hard find in the secondary market at present.

I felt it necessary to include the character's family and their 1st appearances, which we will be seeing more of in the other parts to this series. Yes, we got more Deathstroke key issue comics for certain. This is just Part 1 to this series.


  1. On of my favorite Deathstroke books that has been hot recently is Deathstroke 58 from his first ongoing series with Joker on the cover. It also has a low print run as well.

  2. I hope Nr. 1 from his first ongoing series will be featured on the list. I bet it will get some love soon, like the first Wolverine limited and ongoing series.


  3. Another recommendation by Mr. Rebo: Deathstroke 15 - first Sweet Lili. The love interest of ole D. I think it is key for another reason but can' t remember. Anyway, cool cover.

    Max Rebo

  4. I've been trying to get this book for ages and now it will be more difficult with this announcement.