Well, here we are with yet another comparison, this time from the world of DC Comics. Today, we are going to compare Batman with one of his greatest foes, Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke. Both are humans and great powers, with the latter being somewhat enhanced via experimentation. But is that enough to defeat the Dark Knight? Keep reading to find out!
Due to Deathstroke often being written inconsistently, it is difficult to objectively evaluate their actual powers. Deathstroke might be generally stronger due to his enhancements, but it is Batman who was more successful in their encounters. Finally, taking everything into consideration, we think that they are equally strong.
DC Comics, for those of you that are not familiar with the story behind the comics, is a major American comic book publisher founded back in 1934. Along with Marcel Comics, it is the most popular comic book publisher in the United States. DC Comics is a major player in the comic book business and is the “home” of many famous comic book characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and many others.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.
Batman and his Powers
Batman is probably one of the most famous (if not the most famous) comic book character in history. The stories about Gotham City’s Dark Knight have been popular for decades now and have created a multimedia franchise consisting of movies, TV shows, video games and a lot of other merchandise. But, who is Batman?
Batman is the secret superhero alter ego of Bruce Wayne, a billionaire playboy based in Gotham City. Bruce Wayne is the owner of Wayne Enterprises, a successful company based in Gotham City and is the heir of the Wayne estate. He lives alone in Wayne Manor, on the outskirts of Gotham, with his butler and trusted friend, Alfred Pennyworth.
Wayne’s life has been defined by a tragedy he had witnessed as a child. Namely, one night Bruce went to the movies with his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. His father decided to take a shortcut through an alley after exiting the theatre, but he did not know that an unknown mugger was standing there, waiting for his prey. The mugger attacked and ultimately killed both Thomas and Martha Wayne, but spared the life of young Bruce, who was left to the care of Alfred Pennyworth. The mystery of his parents’ murder played an important role in Bruce Wayne’s life and was a key fact in his decision to become the vigilante Batman.
The birth of Batman
Believing that criminals are “a cowardly and superstitious lot“, Bruce Wayne decided to put on Batman’s cowl, taking inspiration for the name and the design from a childhood experience with bats.
Frank Miller’s important Batman: Year One comic book depicts Batman’s beginnings as a vigilante in Gotham and since that moment, he has become a symbol of Gotham City and a name used with fear among the city’s criminals. While fighting regular villains and members of his Rogue’s Gallery, Batman has also tried to solve the murder of his parents, ultimately finding out that they were killed by a street criminal named Joe Chill.
The evolution of the mythology
The Batman mythos has grown with time and with it also Batman, who has evolved from a solitary vigilante to the leader of the Batman family (or Batfamily), which includes several other superheroes like Batgirl, Batwoman, former Robins Nightwing, Red Robin, Spoiler and others. Currently, Batman is aided by his son Damian Wayne (his mother is Talia al-Ghul, Ra’s al-Ghul’s daughter), who is also the fifth and incumbent Robin.
Batman has been present in other media, as well as in the comic books. The first major adaptation was the 1960s camp TV show starring Adam West, after which there have been several animated adaptations. An important event was Tim Burton’s 1989 movie starring Michael Keaton, that launched a film series during the 1990s.
In the same period, Paul Dini created Batman: The Animated Series where Batman was voiced by Kevin Conroy; the show gained a cult following and is generally praised as one of the best adaptations of Batman ever. Christopher Nolan revitalized the movies with his Dark Knight trilogy. Batman is currently a part of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), DC’s response to the lucrative Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Deathstroke and his Powers
Deathstroke is the alter ego of one Slade Joseph Wilson, a fictional character (usually a supervillain) from the DC Comics fictional universe. He was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez and made his debut in The New Teen Titans #2 (1980). Due to his backstory and his abilities, Deathstroke has since become a fan-favourite supervillain and one of the best known supervillains in the DC Comics universe.
Lying about his age, Slade Wilson joined the army when he was just 16 years old. He was an exceptional soldier – physically powerful, he was a quick learner and an exceptional tactician, which made him a valued member of the US Army. He fought in Korea, after which he enrolled in Adeline Kane’s special training group that had been preparing for a potential war in Vietnam. He fell in love with Adeline, married her and the two would soon get a son, Joseph Wilson. He would later fight in Vietnam, being sickened by some of the atrocities committed by the Americans.
Later on, Deathstroke was selected for a secret military experiment, which gave him enhanced physical powers and tried to make a metahuman super-soldier out of him. Soon after the experiment, Wilson left the service and became a mercenary, which he kept secret from his family; he left the service because he had defied orders to save his friend.
A very important event in his life was the kidnapping of his son Joseph by the criminal Jackal. Jackal wanted some information from Wilson, which he refused to give and then went on to kill the kidnappers. Unfortunately for him, one of the managed to slash Joseph’s throat and although the child did survive, he was left mute due to his vocal cords being cut. His wife, furious with him, wanted to murder Wilson, but only shot his right eye, which left him with impaired vision. This could be considered as the moment Deathstroke was born. Due to his injury, he usually covers his right eye with a mask or an eye patch.
In the world of DC Comics, Deathstroke is usually supervillain, but his story is not that simple. He is a very layered and complex character with a solid background story. He is best-known as the enemy of the Teen Titans, but he has fought other superheroes, including Batman. He has since become a fan-favourite character and has been featured in derivative materials, including TV shows, movies and video games. In the DCEU, he is played by Joe Manganiello.
Batman vs Deathstroke, Who is Stronger?
As we usually do, before giving a final answer, we are going to list the powers and abilities these characters have and then compare them.
Unlike some of Batman’s enemies, Deathstroke is just a human, but has enhanced physical abilities which makes him stronger than a regular human, but still not as strong as a metahuman (although you’ll find stories where he defeats them, also).
He is exceptionally strong, very fast and agile and can last in a fight for a long time. He also has a regenerative healing factor which makes him practically immortal. Oh, he is also 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) tall, which makes him one of the tallest criminals in the universe. As for Batman, he remains a human, but with exceptional physical abilities.
Batman has some enhanced human attributes (strength, stamina, agility), he is extremely intelligent, but his enhancements are the result of diligent training, not secret experiments, which makes him just a level below Deathstroke on a general level. He is heavily reliant on technology and is a great engineer, inventing and designing a lot of different utilities he uses in fights. This pretty much covers Batman’s basic powers and skills.
So, it seems that they are very similar, right? What little Batman lacks in physical strength, he compensates with his technology. So, who’s stronger?
What makes Deathstroke such a formidable foe are not his powers, but the way he uses them – he does not hesitate to cheat, wound or kill if it serves his purpose, something Batman would never do. If you combine that with the rest of his abilities, Deathstroke is truly a formidable foe.
Although we could approach this debate from the point of view of their individual feats and then compare them, we have a much better way of settling this – the recent “Deathstroke vs. Batman” storyline featured in Deathstroke #30-35 (2018). In this recent story, Deathstroke and Batman face each other in an epic storyline, with two major fights between them. Along with the epicness of the fights, the storyline also has some strong dramatic and psychological moments, but that is the topic of another potential article.
The main fight happens in #34, when Deathstroke and Batman face off in Wayne Manor. The two of them are completely on par with each other, with no clear winner. The fight ends with Deathstroke stabbing Batman in the stomach and Batman landing a brain-damaging punch to Deathstroke, both of them on the floor. In #35, they have to work together to save themselves from the authorities, but that is also completely different story.
Batman, as a superhero, is naturally more successful in fighting Deathstroke, a supervillain, but that is not always a definitive sign of someone’s powers. From what we know by analysing the most recent materials, there is no clear winner between Batman and Deathstroke, meaning that their fight would probably end up with Batman getting a knife to the stomach and Deathstroke getting a brain-damaging punch to the head, for example. Deathstroke is physically stronger and has regenerative abilities, but Batman has fought and defeated enemies far stronger than Wilson, so there’s not doubt that he would think of a way to fight him. And because of that – our final verdict is a draw.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!