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The Greatest Deathstroke the Terminator Stories Ever Told!

Every day in November we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Deathstroke the Terminator Stories Ever Told!


10. Deathstroke the Terminator #27-34 “World Tour ’93”

After Slade Wilson’s ex-wife is kidnapped, Wilson travels the globe searching for her and, naturally enough, getting caught up in a global conspiracy. This action-packed romp through various intriguing locales was written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Steve Erwin and Will Blyberg.

9. DC Universe: Last Will and Testament #1

With Final Crisis approaching, Geo-Force decides to spend what might be his last days on Earth taking out Deathstroke (for both what Deathstroke did to Geo-Force’s sister, Terra, and for Deathstroke blackmailing Geo-Force in the pages of Justice League of America). To what lengths will Geo-Force go to stop Deathstroke? Find out in this one-shot written by Brad Meltzer and drawn by Andy Kubert, Joe Kubert and John Dell.

8. The New Teen Titans #2 “Today…the Terminator!”

This is where we first meet Deathstroke, and his intriguing origin. The evil organization known as HIVE tries to hire him to kill the Titans. When he turns down the offer, they hire his son, instead, and give him powers like Deathstroke’s (he takes the name the Ravager). When his son dies in battle (after Deathstroke warns him not to take HIVE up on their deal), the Terminator decides to take on his son’s contract himself, setting up years of stories to come! Written by Wolfman and George Perez with art by Perez and Romeo Tanghal.

7. Deathstroke the Terminator #1-5 “Full Cycle”

Deathstroke’s ongoing series begins with the same things that began Wilson’s comic book career – the Ravager and the death of a son. A new person is calling himself the Ravager and he tries to kill Wilson’s ex-wife. Wilson is forced to confront this new Ravager and, in turn, his own past (and his actions in Titans Hunt, which he has not yet revealed to his ex-wife)! This debuted the form that most future Marv Wolfman issues of Deathstroke took – a rollicking action-filled adventure filled with complex intrigue. The art was by Steve Erwin and Will Blyberg.

6. Deathstroke the Hunted #0, 41-47/Deathstroke #48-50 “Deathstroke the Hunted”

This is a tricky one, numbers-wise, as Deathstroke is only “hunted” through issue #46 or so (and the “Hunted” part is dropped from the title with issue #47), but the wrap-up of the story is really in #48-50, so I’m lumping it all together. The story is about a mysterious new villain called the Crimelord who frames Deathstroke for the murder of a US Senator. Deathstroke must clear his name while being hunted by superheroes. Written by Wolfman with art by Sergio Cariello and Will Blyberg (a few other inkers helped out on issues).

5. Deathstroke the Terminator #6-9 “City of Assassins”

Deathstroke ends up in Gotham City, where he confronts and then teams up with Batman (in an uneasy alliance). Meanwhile, rogue Gotham cop Patricia Trayce becomes intrigued by Deathstroke, leading to her becoming a vigilante, as well. Written by Wolfman with art by Erwin and Blyberg.

4. Identity Crisis #3 “Serial Killer”

Doctor Light hires Deathstroke to protect him from the Justice League (who think that Light killed Sue Dibny). In a memorable sequence, Deathstroke takes on a large chunk of the Justice League at once and handles himself extremely well (before they ultimately take him out). Written by Brad Meltzer with art by Rags Morales and Michael Bair.

3. New Titans #71-84 “Titans Hunt”

When the vast majority of the Titans are captured by the evil organization known as the Wildebeests, Deathstroke teams up with his former enemy, Nightwing, to save the Titans – or at least Wilson’s son, the Titan known as Jericho. However, it turns out that Jericho IS the bad guy! Someone in the voting made a great comment about this story – Deathstroke had been trying to kill the Titans for over a decade at this point, and when he finally succeeds…well…it is not the Titan he ever would have imagined that he would be killing. Written by Wolfman with art by Tom Grummett, Al Vey and some fill-in artists.

2. Tales of the Teen Titans #53-55 “The Trial of the Terminator”

Changeling confronts Deathstroke for his actions in the Judas Contract. The two surprisingly end up having a heart-to-heart conversation instead. I did a write-up on the story here, if you’d like to learn more about it.

1. Tales of the Teen Titans #42-44, Annual #1 “The Judas Contract”

Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Dick Giordano (with Mike DeCarlo) tell the story of when Deathstroke finally realized the contract his son had made with HIVE forty issues earlier! He does this through his traitor in the Titans, Terra! However, Deathstroke is undone by both Dick Grayson (now taking the name Nightwing) and Wilson’s ex-wife and his son, who becomes a hero just to stop his father. One of the most classic storylines of the 1980s.

That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!


Got to agree since I voted the judas contract and for me that is the best teen titans story period. So if we vote on a creates teen titans story I have to imagine it will be #1 again. Great thing about this poll is I can go over the list and look for great stories I wasn’t aware of.

was hoping both titans hunt and judas contract made the cut or a least top fight for both show the lengths death stroke may go to to fulfill his goal and the price he pays when he does it like killing Jerico.

They broke Deathstroke so so bad. I don’t get how someone who generally does three-dimensional villains so well in Geoff Johns made Slade into such a one-trick pony.

[…] day in November, “Comics Should Be Good” will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a […]

Deathstroke’s recent battle against a ninja-fied Green Arrow didn’t make the cut?

Or DS battling against both the Teen Titans AND the X-Men in their crossover one-shot?

I’m not a big Deathstroke fan, but I’m shocked that Identity Crisis made the list. That was Exhibit A in how ridiculously overblown he’s become. But then, one of my favorite Deathstroke stories is the one from his own series in which he has a hard time holding his own against Aquaman.

Overall, what we learn from this list is that it was all downhill for him as a character after Wolfman.

I’m surprised that people aren’t moaning about Identity Crisis and Last Will and Testament. Those stories are usually bashed pretty hard on this site.

I make stabby.

This is a character that’s basically never appealed to or interested me since the Wolfman-Perez Titans. He wa s a 90s kewl badass before the 90s. Kind of liked the fight with the Birds of Prey right before Infinite Crisis, but that’s about it.

I wear a beard that’s not as long off the chin as his, and I still can’t imagine wearing a full head-and-neck mask that would compress it all into an itchy mass. That part never made a lick of sense to me.

“I’m not a big Deathstroke fan, but I’m shocked that Identity Crisis made the list. That was Exhibit A in how ridiculously overblown he’s become.”

No, it is Exhibit A in how terrible Identity Crisis was and how terrible a writer Meltzer is. How Deathstroke takes down the League does make any logical sense at all.

Jacob, you may not know this, but Deathstroke is a comic book character. If you’re that bothered by his beard under a mask, perhaps you should check out another medium.

As to the list, I hoped Deathstroke 1-5 would be closer to the top of the list. For me it’s the quintessential Deathstroke tale, though I can definitely see why it would be rated behind Judas Contract, which is a true classic tale.

No one has handled Deathstroke a tenth as well as Wolfman. The fight in IC 3 was something I enjoyed, but that bothered me immediately after I finished the book.

Don’t remember the issue number or even if it was in the Deathstroke series or a Superman book, but one of my favorite Deathstroke stories was the one where Superman went after him after he had accidently shot Lucy Lane.

Oh God, I could not stand Last Will and Testament. It made absolutely no sense at all in the context of Final Crisis. The fact that it kept getting refrenced only added fuel to the “WTF?” fire. I really hope Geo-Force was aborted in the womb in the Nu-52 universe.

I’m glad that some of the 1990s series stories made the cut here. I’ve been rereading that series and it holds up so well, especially since he’s such a three-dimensional character in that series.

I think in my voting I also mentioned The X-Men/Titans crossover from 1982 b/c I loved when he went up against Wolverine.

I must be a fan, I have all but number 3 & 9.

What is the most shocking last page in Titans history?

I’m not a fan of Deathstroke and am neutral on Wolfman, but what I’ve read of the ’90s solo series was surprisingly entertaining. “City of Assassins” is a great popcorn story, with one of the better Batman fights you’ll ever seen.

Unfortunately, I can’t read that story without groaning every time I see the oh-so-clever name of Pat … groan … Trayce.

Identity Crisis should be nowhere near a “greatest stories” list. It may be one of the worst plotted stories DC has released in decades.

Yes, on the surface it makes Deathstroke look strong.

A writer could lalso make Jimmy Olson look strong by having him win a straight up fist fight with Superman and Wonder Woman, with no gimmicks, tricks, or special circumstances. But should such a story be considered one of the greatest Jimmy Olson stories ever told?

The Deathstroke fight in Identity Crisis is similar to that. Sure, it isn’t the worst part of Identity Crisis, but that is because Identity Crisis set new standards in “unbelievable and illogical”. Like the rest of Identity Crisis, Deathstroke’s victory falls apart if you give it more than a moment of thought.

I’m not gettin’ Darren’s groaning over Pat Trayce. What am I not seeing?

Is it bad of me to be surprised that there were 10 stories here?

Of course, I have at least 2 of the issues we see the cover of here…

Those Mike Zeck covers are kicking the ass. But that’s like saying ‘the sun is bright’ isn’t it?

@Nick: [shrug] As always, the suspension of disbelief is only partly a matter of will. I can go along with flying aliens who look like human beings, radioactive spider bites, and shrinking to subatomic size while still being able to see and breathe, but Rob Liefeld’s Captain America chest throws me out of the story and makes me say “anatomy doesn’t work that way.” And Deathstroke’s beard being covered by a skintight mask throws me out of the story, too. If you told me “the beard is one of his superpowers,” then that moves it into the realm of stuff I’m supposed to suspend disbelief about. (And in The Tick or Hitman, there might be a line like that!) But in the regular DCU, that’s not how I react.

Interestingly enough it would seem that the Judas Contract as well as the rest of Slade’s history and origin with the Titans has been erased in the DCNu..

Captain Comet:

Unlikely that Geo-Force would be aborted, as the second son of a European noble family.

Terra, on the other hand, was his half-sister, possibly illegitimate or from a morganist “marriage” on the side (and therefore not in line for the throne), and quite theoretically could be aborted to stop that horrific mess – it would just put a major rewrite into Titans history (which frankly, it needs re-rewritten; what they did to Starfire disgusts me).

Titans Hunt was DS at his finest, showed the father behind the mask. And that last page really was shocking…

randypan the goatboy

November 10, 2011 at 7:20 am

The JLA fight with Deathstroke could be shoehorned into making sense if they had just ret conned slade into ha.ving a similar power of precognition as his daughter. If they had just done this then they could say that Slade knew who he would be fighting instead of grabbing a bunch of random weapons and crossing his fingers that these particular heroes would show. Just wondering about the laser pointer though. Was deathstroke on his way to a movie in 1997 at the time of this book? life would be great if they would release Titans hunt into a trade..Its only been 20 years…what are they waiting on?

I had no idea there was such hate for the Deathstroke/JLA battle from Identity Crisis.

I guess some people’s suspension of disbelief is stronger then others…

Re: New Titans #83 – “What is the most shocking last page in Titans history?”

Deathstroke stabs a possessed Jericho through the back w/his sword, killing him.

@SNikt — it’s probably as much that we hate Identity Crisis in general, and the Deathstroke fight is just emblematic of how terrible the story was.

IIRC, the fight itself is kinda cool, but as randypan points out that Slade must be a precog because he otherwise wouldn’t know who he was fighting. Also iirc, he takes the contract from Dr Light JUST before the League shows up, but he’s perfectly prepared for them.

Ow, I just thought too much about Identity Crisis. Mah haid hurts!

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the terminator

June 20, 2013 at 2:21 am

Why all the hate for ic???!granted it may have one of the worst endings of all time but then again so do all dan brown books!! For me personally the first 3 -5issues are among THE BEST in comic book history! ! Emotionaly gripping page turners with the best moment being slades fight with the jl! Except for how he took out the atom , every other takedown was awesomely done!! And really you guys gonn moan about how he took on everyone with zero prep time?? This comics for Christ s sake!! Batman takes out a god who can stop nuclear weapons by tying himself to a lampost!I have seen wolverine take down lobo..believe me compared to 90% fights in comics this is unbelievably well done. The problem with ic is the motive for me.they could have saved the story by having ray palmer as the villain…but they instead chose jean….who divorced HIM…SHE divorced HIM…also the way she carried out the crimes …meh..but despite the terrible conclusion. .ic had an amazingly gripping buildup. ..and the emotion involved in this event will remain unmatched in any series for me…both sue’s and jack’s deaths were heartbreaking. .all in all im prepare d to forgive ic’s fault s if only for its outstanding premise and THIS fight…slade is (was) the coolest villain in dc… he sucks in n52 …also his rivalry with ga sucks…he shlould ALWAYS remain a jla level threat. ..or the nemesis of the titans..or dick Grayson s arch enemy…and he never was taken into account for the destruction of bludhaven..I would have love to see dick v slade to the death FINALLY. .guess its never gonna happen now as haven never existed in n52…does anyone know if any of the crises happen ed in n52??

Well, to all the people who think that DS’ victory in IC was farfetched, it was, but not as much as you make it sound. Deathstroke has defeated some TOUGH opponents. And Slade does basically possess precognition. Ever read Full Cycle? He THINKS FASTER than regular human beings, to the point of knowing his opponents moves before they use them

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