Slade Wilson was sixteen-years-old when he first enlisted in the United States Army, having lied about his age. After serving a stint in Korea, he was later assigned to Camp Washington where he had been promoted to the rank of Major. In the early 1960s, he met Captain Adeline Kane who was tasked with training young soldiers in new fighting techniques in anticipation of brewing troubles taking place in Vietnam. Kane was amazed at how skilled Slade was and how quickly he adapted to modern conventions of warfare. She immediately fell in love with him, and realized that he was without a doubt the most able-bodied combatant she had ever encountered. She offered to privately train Slade in guerrilla warfare. In less than a year, Slade mastered every fighting form presented to him and was soon promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Six months later, Adeline and he were married and she became pregnant with their first child. It was at this time that the war in Vietnam began to escalate and Slade was shipped overseas. At home, Adeline gave birth to their son Grant.
Some time later, Wilson volunteered for a medical experiment designed to stimulate his adrenal gland in the hopes of increasing a soldier's ability to resist truth serums. The experiment did not go as expected, and Slade fell into a coma. When he awakened however, he discovered that he was now capable of using 90% of his brain capacity, and his strength, durability and agility were increased to near-superhuman levels. He applied for re-assignment with the Army, but they refused him. Although his condition was now stabilized, depression took hold of him and he was desperate to serve his country. At this time, Adeline became pregnant with their second child, Joseph. Unable to further his career in the military, Slade turned towards hunting. He became a world famous safari hunter and great wealth followed soon after. Adeline always suspected however that Slade felt unfulfilled.
A few years later, a group of hired mercenaries broke into the Wilsons' mansion and kidnapped young Joey. Adeline attempted to fight them off, but a gas grenade prevented her from saving her son. When Slade discovered what had happened, he knew he could not keep the truth from his wife any longer. Slade was not only a world famous safari hunter, he was also one of the world's deadliest and most highly sought after assassins - Deathstroke the Terminator. He promised Adeline that he would save their son. Together, they flew to Tangiers and squared off against a rival mercenary known as the Jackal. The Jackal wanted Slade to reveal important information relating to a client or else he would have his men kill Joey. Slade gambled on the idea that he could save his son before the Jackal could give the order. Unfortunately, Joseph's throat was slashed by one of the criminals before Slade could prevent it, destroying his vocal cords and rendering him mute. After taking Joseph to the hospital, Slade's wife, enraged at his endangerment of her son, tried to kill Slade by shooting him, but only managed to destroy his right eye. Afterward, his confidence in his physical abilities was such that he made no secret of his impaired vision, marked by his mask which has a black featureless half covering his lost eye.
Slade has a long history as an enemy of the Teen Titans, beginning when his other son, Grant, became an early Titans foe called the Ravager who was physically enhanced to fulfill a contract to kill or capture the Teen Titans. However, those enhancements proved fatal and Slade agreed to complete the contract. As a result, he attacked the Titans continually and finally succeeded in capturing them by introducing Terra (whom he shared an intimate relationship with, despite her being barely sixteen years old) into the team as a spy.
Later Slade was defeated and captured with the help of Joseph, who joined the team as Jericho, using his father's body to free the Titans (although it is important to note that Slade didn't actually try to fight his son's control). Slade was put on trial for his crimes, but the trial was deliberately sabotaged by Garfield Logan, a.k.a. Beast Boy so that he could kill Slade himself, believing he was responsible for Terra's betrayal of the Titans. However, when the two confronted each other, Beast Boy found himself unable to kill Slade. Feeling some empathy for his grief, Slade explained his past with Terra, and Beast Boy realized he was not to blame for the choices Terra had made. The two men parted on peaceful terms afterward.
Months later, Slade encountered the Titans again while they were investigating a mysterious plague linked to a group of biologically engineered beastmen, one of whom was a target of an assassination by Slade himself. When Troia and Raven were both stricken by the plague, he aided them in destroying the beastmen and finding a cure for the contagion. Shortly after this, he came to the Titans' assistance again when most of their members were abducted by the Wildebeest Society, and proved instrumental in tracking them down, only to discover their leader was none other than Jericho himself.
It was revealed that Jericho had been possessed by the corrupted souls of Azarath, who were using him to capture the Titans and use them as physical hosts in order to survive. During the transfer process, Jericho's true self resurfaced briefly, begging his father to kill him. To spare his son any more pain and save the remaining Titans, Slade was forced to drive a sword through Jericho's heart, seemingly killing him. This act still haunts him to this day, though Jericho later turned out to have survived death by transferring his mind into his father's body seconds before his death.
Afterward, Slade continued his life as a mercenary, but also acted as an occasional hero, aiding the Titans or acting on his own to help others, most notably when the Team Titans arrived in the 20th Century to assassinate Donna Troy before she could give birth to her son, who in their timeline had grown up into the tyrannical despot, Lord Chaos. His relationship with Garfield Logan had also changed around this time to the point where they became friends as well. Slade also met Pat Trayce, a tough former cop who would become the new costumed Vigilante. Pat Trayce and Slade quickly became lovers, and began a tumultuous on again/off again relationship.
After Slade thwarted an assassination attempt on the President of the United States, he was subsequently framed for the murder of a U.S. Senator. The man responsible had taken on the identity of the Ravager and was hunting down Slade's friends and loved ones. Eventually with the help of the Titans and Sarge Steel, Slade was able to prove his innocence, and the true culprit was revealed to be Steve Dayton, under the alias of the Crimelord, who had again succumbed to mental instability caused by his Mento helmet.
Meanwhile, his relationship with his estranged wife Adeline took a tragic turn as Slade underwent a process to gain regeneration power, allowing him to survive any wound so long as his brain is intact (this power is limited, as Slade cannot regenerate his lost eye since that injury happened before he gained his healing factor). After gaining this power, Slade was forced to give his wife a blood transfusion to save her life, resulting in her gaining a similar healing factor which manifested itself as a form of immortality. This alteration of her DNA drove Adeline insane, shaming Deathstroke into going into a semi-retirement state.
Later, Deathstroke teamed up with the Titans to face his wife Adeline, who in her insane state, had revived The H.I.V.E. and sought to rid the world of all superhumans, blaming them for Jericho's death. During the battle, interrupted by Vandal Savage and a band of villains that he had organized from recent Titan battles, Adeline's throat was slit. In a brief return of sanity, she begged Slade to kill her, requesting him to reunite her with "my... our children... " since her version of the healing factor wouldn't heal the wound, but only allow her to live in spite of it. Deathstroke refused, but Starfire shocked her teammates and Deathstroke by using a starbolt blast to disintegrate her completely, per Adeline's wishes. This was a turning point, as Deathstroke renounced all ties with the Titans as a result of this act of mercy on Starfire's part.
Recently, it was revealed that Jericho managed to transfer his consciousness into Deathstroke in the instant before his death. Taking control of his father, Jericho forced Deathstroke to murder his longtime butler, mentor, and companion Wintergreen. He then launched a series of attacks against the current Teen Titans, most notably shattering Impulse's knee with a shotgun blast, before leaving his father's body. Deathstroke has since manipulated his one remaining child, Rose Wilson, into the mercenary business as the new Ravager, in order to find and kill Jericho, using a specially-designed serum to heighten her hostility and push her over the edge; unfortunately, the process also resulted in her being driven at least partially insane, to the extent that she cut out her own left eye in an attempt to prove to her father that she was just like him.
During Identity Crisis, Deathstroke was enlisted as a bodyguard for Doctor Light, who was being chased by the Justice League. In the ensuing battle, Deathstroke nearly beat the team of Elongated Man, the Flash, Zatanna, Hawkman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, the Atom, and Green Lantern. He systematically took out every member except for GL, whom he had the potential to disable through trying to usurp his ring's energies using his own formidable willpower. Fortunately, before the outcome of this conflict with Green Lantern ended, Green Arrow stuck an arrow in Deathstroke's right eye socket, enraging him. Slade went ballistic and began to beat Green Arrow, but was stopped when the majority of the team tackled Deathstroke to the ground. Dr. Light used his powers, and the two escaped. Near the end of Identity Crisis, Deathstroke confronts Green Arrow on a rooftop. Arrow sees his reflection in the windows of a nearby building, but when he turns to confront Slade, Deathstroke is gone. Instead, Green Arrow finds Slade's cowl and a note stuck to the wall by the very arrow he stabbed in Slade's eye socket. The note reads, "This is yours - We're not done."
Deathstroke was a founding member of Lex Luthor's Secret Society of Super Villains. He was seen hiding in a warehouse south of Metropolis, waiting to ambush the Freedom Fighters with several other members. The battle didn't last long, and by the end, Deathstroke had impaled Phantom Lady through the chest, calling his action "just business".
He was the employer of an undercover Dick Grayson, whom he hired to train his daughter Rose. However, after the two had a confrontation with Superman, Deathstroke discovered that Nightwing had been teaching Rose the values of heroism. He could not kill Grayson in front of his daughter because doing so would undo all of Slade's teachings. Nightwing offered a deal: he would stay away from Rose if Slade would keep the metahuman villains out of Blüdhaven. The deal held for 34 hours when Slade, under the orders of Alexander Luthor, Jr., the real leader of the Society, went with several villains - who included old Titans and Doom Patrol foes and Brotherhood of Evil members Monsieur Mallah and Brain - to drop Chemo, another fellow villain who appeared to be a nearly brainless monster made of pure energy and radioactive chemicals, on Blüdhaven, killing thousands. Slade gave the explanation to the Brotherhood that Nightwing should be made to believe that he can never go home again.
Grayson took the first of his revenge by bursting in on Deathstroke and Rose's training session, revealing to the latter that the Kryptonite that Deathstroke had implanted in place of her missing eye was radioactive and deadly to humans as well as to Kryptonians (though slower in its effects on humans, as revealed by Lex Luthor's old possession of a Kryptonite ring that forced him to transfer his brain to a cloned body). Angered, Slade went after Nightwing with a grenade, only to have Rose try to stop him. Amid the smoke of the resulting explosion, Rose fled, telling her father that she hated him. Dick disappeared as well, but not before leaving a note for Slade warning him that he'd be back to make him pay for Blüdhaven.
At the climactic Battle of Metropolis at the conclusion of Infinite Crisis, Slade was confronted by Batman, Robin, and Nightwing. During the struggle, he was questioned regarding his motives for aiding the Secret Society. His claims of monetary motivation were deemed unsatisfactory, and he was told to take responsibility before being rendered unconscious.
One Year Later
Slade appears after the one year jump. Apparently in hiding, he nearly murders a crony of several Star City businessmen who want to hire him for a murder. Before finishing his violent refusal, he asks the name of the target; when informed that it was to be the mayor of Star City, Oliver Queen (whom Deathstroke knows is secretly Green Arrow), he spares the lackey and decides to take the job.
However, things don't quite go according to plan, with Green Arrow using the resources of both his identities, then trapping him within a ring of armed National Guardsmen. The fight ends with Deathstroke's arrest and subsequent conviction and incarceration; however, this is revealed as a ploy to gain access to another jailed foe of Green Arrow's who has information on the hero's activities in the "lost year", which include Green Arrow studying under an assassin, Natas, who once trained Deathstroke himself.
Deathstroke is also active behind the scenes in Teen Titans, currently in the process of organizing a counter-team of teen superhumans that will be known as Titans East. The current Titans team included Ravager, who now wanted nothing to do with her father. Deathstroke seemingly intended to "reclaim" Ravager and a recently resurrected Jericho from the Titans or, if that failed, to crush them along with the rest of the team. For these reasons, he specially selected each member of Titans East, believing that, overall, each member would successfully counteract every member of the current Teen Titans line-up.
Deathstroke was manipulating every member of his new team in one way or another. He had blackmailed former Titan Risk while at the same time offering him an outlet for his rage, was drugging Batgirl with the same serum he'd used on Rose, and supplied Inertia with a formula which granted superhuman speed to compensate for the loss of the Speed Force following the initial battle with Superboy-Prime. His team, however, slowly fell apart over the course of the attack, as Robin (Tim Drake) managed to free Batgirl of his mind control serum and Raven convinced Duela Dent to switch sides. Slade and his remaining Titans subsequently faced off against both the current Titans and a group of old Titans led by Nightwing. Although he was defeated, he still managed to escape with the aid of Inertia. In the end, however, it was revealed to the readers that Slade's real mission to was provide his children with something he could never offer them - a real family, in the form of the Teen Titans. By attacking the Titans, he insured that Rose and Jericho would become more trusted by their associates, and thus grow closer to the team.
Outsiders and Final Crisis
Recently, Deathstroke took credit for somehow twisting (through unknown means) the powers of Brion Markov, the half-brother of the original Terra, into the same powers as his traitorous sister's. Using this leverage, Deathstroke offered to reverse the process only if Geo-Force became his own personal spy within the Justice League. Unfortunately for Deathstroke, Geo-Force alerted Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman of Deathstroke's scheme which culminated in Geo-Force alerting the League that Deathstroke (whose rivalry with Green Arrow has reached vendetta-level proportions) planned on using an army of super-villains to crash Green Arrow and Black Canary's wedding. Weeks later, Geo-Force was tortured by Gorilla Grodd after the League was kidnapped by the Injustice League and ultimately transferred to Batman's newest incarnation of the Outsiders afterwards, robbing Deathstroke of his potential pawn.
He was one of the few villains significantly not deported to the Hell Planet during the events of Salvation Run.
Deathstroke was, however, seen amongst the ranks of the reformed Secret Society of Super-Villains under the leadership of Libra during the events of Final Crisis, although he does not appear to play as substantial a role in it as he did in the previous incarnation. Also during the Crisis, he is gravely injured with his own sword by Geo-Force, whom he had been attempting to use as a weapon against the world's heroes the same way he had used Terra to infiltrate the Titans.
In the Teen Titans (vol. 3) tie-in to the Blackest Night crossover, Deathstroke is living in the deceased Wintergreen's house and reading his journal, when he is attacked by Rose. During the fight, the two are attacked by their deceased relatives - Grant, Wade, and Adeline, who, along with Wintergreen, have all been reanimated as Black Lanterns. Deathstroke and Rose are forced to work together and fight for their lives against the Black Lanterns.
The two hopelessly fight the regenerating Black Lanterns until Jericho, cured from his earlier insanity, arrives and turns the tide of the fight. During the course of the battle, Deathstroke confesses to his children that part of the reason why he menaced the Teen Titans for so many years was that he felt that by forcing his children to hate him, they would have a chance of escaping the sorrow and pain a life with him would entail. Just as Slade is overwhelmed and about to be killed, Jericho somehow uses his abilities to sever the connection between the Black Lanterns and their power rings, permanently sending them back to the grave. After realizing that her mother was not reborn as a member of the Black Lantern Corps, Rose comes to the conclusion that she must somehow still be alive, and leaves after threatening to kill Slade if he tries to stop her. Jericho chooses to stay with his father, reasoning that only Slade would have the courage to kill him if he were to ever return to madness. Following the Black Lanterns' encounter, Slade begins forming a new team of Titans consisting of Jericho, Cheshire, Tattooed Man and others.
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne
Deathstroke has been seen working with the League of Assassins, controlling the body and physical actions of Robin Damian Wayne due to an implant planted in his back by his mother, Talia al Ghul, during an operation. Talia intended for Deathstroke to use Damian's body to kill Dick Grayson, the current incarnation of Batman. This attempt failed, because his enhanced abilities proved to be a strain on Damian's body.