Legends of Action

April 24, 2014

Deathstroke: The Best Villain on Television

I don’t think I’ve seen a cooler villain on TV in the past few years than Deathstroke AKA Slade Wilson in the CW’s Arrow. Played to perfection by Manu Bennett, as soon as he walks on screen he owns the role.

In the first season he is a good guy… well, a mercenary with a good heart; the man who essentially trains Oliver Queen how to fight and how to survive on the “Hellish Island”.

According to Arrow Wikia “Slade Wilson is a former member of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service/Team 7, and the leader of Blood Cult. He is also the former friend and ex-partner of the late Billy Wintergreen, the father of Joe Wilson, and one of the former mentors and a good friend of Oliver Queen.

He was sent to Lian Yu to recover Yao Fei, along with his then friend and partner, Bill. Both of them wore the same bi-colored masks as a part of Team 7. Sometime after he and Oliver rescued Shado from Edward Fyers, Slade developed romantic feelings for Shado, and he confessed his romantic feelings to Shado before her death”.

When Slade is near death, he is injected  with a drug called Mirakuru which restores not only his life but gives him a Superhuman Physical Condition with enhanced Strength, Durability, Stamina, Speed and Senses. Alas, it also drives him insane. He blames Oliver for the death of Shado and Oliver confronts him and thinks he kills him.

“Eventually, it was revealed that he is alive, and intends to destroy Oliver and everyone he cares about. He is one of the main antagonists of Season 2. It is revealed that Deathstroke is the codename for him by A.R.G.U.S.”.

In the first Season, the mask/costume managed to look fierce in itself but by Season 2, it has transformed into complete battle armour.

There’s a great moment which I think is the coolest yet where Slade stands in front of a prison transfer bus (See Profile Picture). He shoots the guards and just raises his hand and motions “come here” to the convicts. No dialogue required; Hell, I’d follow him just because he’s so damn cool.


                                                                                                  FIRST VERSION OF THE COSTUME



                                                                                                   FINAL VERSION OF THE COSTUME


I love how the costume is very similar to what they have in the Arkham video games; the colours and the armour just make him look so utterly badass. In fact, I think Manu Bennett’s Slade is one of the best adaptations of a comic book villain since Heath Ledger as The Joker.

What’s interesting about this character is he isn’t born evil but it develops due to overwhelming grief and anger; with some mirakuru added then it only amplifies his feelings and essentially makes him a monster. As Manu said to me in our recent interview: “Nobody’s born evil and that’s kind of an element of the DC comic world’s version of Slade Wilson/Deathstroke and that’s what I’m trying to maintain and keep true to the fans of the character.

In the comic series, his son’s death at the hands of the Teen Titans is what essentially turned Slade Wilson into what you’d call a supervillain. He then took out a contract on the Teen Titans because they killed his son.  The way Arrow is doing that story is they’ve used Shado’s death as that point instead“.


It’s not all cool gestures and an awesome costume though; Slade has some choice dialogue like “To kill you now would be a mercy. You cannot die until you have suffered the same way I have suffered, until you have known complete despair, and you will, I promise.”

He says this to Oliver in Season 2 but his grand villain speech is one of the best:

No badass is complete without an awesome array of weapons; Deathstroke comes complete with custom swords, a handgun and sheer brute strength.

One of the best things about the show are the fight scenes; in last week’s episode Slade is waiting for Oliver and his crew when they come home and an epic battle ensues. “You forget I taught you how to fight, kid”, Slade says to taunt Oliver. Within a few moments he has disappeared once again; he just loves to punish Oliver any way he can… and the harshest is yet to come.

What I love about the dynamic of Slade and Oliver’s characters is how they are both going in opposite directions. Slade started off as a good guy but has been corrupted into something totally evil whereas Oliver was an immoral ladies man who was surprisingly difficult to sympathize with.

Since returning to Starling City though, he has begun finding redemption by donning a green hood every night. None of the characters are one note or predictable and the show isn’t afraid to come up with frankly devastating twists and turns.

Oliver, Sara, Felicity and Diggle all have their work cut out for them in future episodes and it’ll be interesting to see how they can top Slade as the villain. After last night’s frankly devastating events Arrow has just proven itself as the ballsiest superhero show of all time. It was incredibly intense with stellar performances from the entire cast. Slade was only in the last few minutes but… my God were they tough. If you aren’t watching this show then you are missing out.

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel

I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it’s a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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