Meeting the Titans
In his many years as a mercenary, Deathstroke has both fought against and alongside various super-villains. When the young heroes known as the Teen Titans reformed as the New Teen Titans, the terrorist organization known as H.I.V.E. sent Grant Wilson after them (in THE NEW TEEN TITANS #1, 1980). A mercenary operating under the name Ravager, Grant admired Deathstroke and even took some lessons from him, unaware he was his father Slade. To combat the Titans, Grant underwent a procedure intended to duplicate Deathstroke’s abilities and even enhance them.
The procedure worked, but Grant’s powers were so intense that Deathstroke warned they could be lethal if overused. Grant ignored these warnings, and during his battle with the Titans he suffered a fatal heart attack, dying in Deathstroke’s arms. Slade Wilson promised to honor his son’s contract with H.I.V.E. and destroy the Teen Titans (THE NEW TEEN TITANS #2, 1980).
The Judas Contract
After encountering the Teen Titans a few times, Deathstroke finally made his move to destroy them in the 1984 storyline “The Judas Contract” (TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #42-44, TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS ANNUAL #3). The seeds for this storyline were
planted months beforehand, when Tara Markov, a.k.a. Terra, joined the Titans. She pretended to be a hero trying to find her place in the world and manipulated the emotions of her teammate Garfield Logan (a.k.a. Changeling). But in reality, she was a teenage sociopath working with Deathstroke to learn the Titans’ secrets. Deathstroke admired and feared Terra’s ruthlessness and, despite her young age, engaged in a sexual relationship with her.
Deathstroke and Terra successfully captured all of the Titans, except for their former leader Dick Grayson, and brought them to H.I.V.E.’s headquarters, hidden within the Rocky Mountains. Now calling himself Nightwing, Grayson was joined by Slade's ex-wife Adeline Kane and son Joey Wilson in his mission to rescue the Titans. Deathstroke was surprised to see his surviving son and attempted to bargain with H.I.V.E. for his life. Joey, now using the codename Jericho, used his own metahuman ability to take possession of Slade and force him into fighting H.I.V.E. Believing she’d been betrayed by Deathstroke, Terra flew into a rage and attempted to bring down the entire mountain base, but only killed herself in the process (TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS ANNUAL #3, 1984).
Deathstroke was brought to trial for his actions, but was released when there wasn’t enough physical evidence to connect him to his crimes beyond eye-witness testimony, most of which involved people who'd only seen him wearing a mask (TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #53-54, 1985). It turned out that Garfield Logan himself had sabotaged the trial, hoping to kill Slade when he was freed, rather than let him live in prison. During their confrontation, Slade expressed regret over some of his actions and Terra’s fate, and claimed he never saw himself as a super-villain, simply a mercenary. The two then parted ways. (TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #55, 1985).
Some time later, Deathstroke fought alongside the Titans when he realized he'd inadvertently helped unleash a mutagenic plague. (THE NEW TITANS #62-65, 1990).
Fighting for Good
Later still, Deathstroke fought alongside the Titans against the villainous Wildebeest Society in the “Titans Hunt” story arc (THE NEW TITANS #71-84, 1990-1992); only to learn they were now led by his own son Joey. But Joey wasn’t acting of his own accord. He'd become corrupted by a collective of tainted souls from the world of Azarath. While under their influence, Joey killed Wintergreen and attempted to make the Titans into vessels for these Azarath souls. To save them and free his son, Deathstroke stabbed Joey through the back, seemingly killing him (THE NEW TITANS #82-84, 1992). Joey would eventually turn up alive, and it would be revealed he hadn’t killed Wintergreen but rather a stand-in, the real Wintergreen having already quietly retired (DEATHSTROKE #2, 2016).
Following this, Deathstroke was shaken and without clear direction. He wound up helping Superman assemble Earth’s heroes against an invasion by the villain Brainiac (SUPERMAN #65, 1992), then fought briefly alongside Batman (DEATHSTROKE #6-9, 1992). During this second adventure, he met Pat Trayce, a Gotham City cop who decided the law wasn’t effective enough against criminals and decided to become the newest crimefighter called Vigilante. Deathstroke agreed to train Pat to be a better fighter, and the two had a short-lived romance (DEATHSTROKE #11, 1992).
In time, Deathstroke’s abilities started to fail him and he suffered a heart attack, only to be revived by the assassin Cheshire, who then manipulated him into helping her drop a nuclear missile on the country of Qurac (DEATHSTROKE #17-20, 1993). Though it’s not clear if this event still applies to Deathstroke’s history.
While fighting agents of the criminal organization Shadowspire, Deathstroke was caught in a bombing that destroyed the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. His healing abilities increased to a dramatic new level to save his life, reversing his aging by several years and leaving him virtually impossible to kill. The effect also resulted in severe amnesia, though he lost none of his fighting instincts. No longer a mercenary, Deathstroke now worked for the U.S. government (DEATHSTROKE #53-55, 1995).
Eventually, Deathstroke’s memories returned. Deciding he’d had enough of his life as a mercenary, he faked his own death in order to retire (DEATHSTROKE #60, 1996). The retirement, however, didn't take, and soon enough he was active once more. His reverse aging also appeared to wear off and he resumed his previous aged appearance. Though he maintained much greater health and vitality due to his healing abilities.
When Deathstroke discovered his old friend Wintergreen had been captured, he rescued him and they became partners again. During this rescue mission, Deathstroke had to abandon his Promethium armor and wear the prototype gravity sheath outfit Dr. Isherwood had designed for him years ago. The Promethium armor fell into the hands of the villainous Red Lion (DEATHSTROKE #1-2, 2016).
Deathstroke has recently become involved in his children’s lives in complicated ways. A contract on Rose’s life turned out to be a manipulation by Slade so they could spend time together and he could see how she operated. Following this, Slade hired a Hmong family to pretend to be Rose’s extended family and provide her a home. Deathstroke then discovered Joey’s fiancé Etienne was secretly a spy spent by government agent Amanda Waller, and then slept with the woman. This led to a violent confrontation between Deathstroke and his children, along with the revelation that Joey had begun abusing drugs. During this time, Deathstroke suffered blindness in his remaining eye as a result of an attack, but a corneal transplant restored his sight.
Deciding to fix his life, Deathstroke used Titan member Wally West to create his own connection to the extra-dimensional energy field known as the Speed Force (TITANS #11, 2017). Now with super-speed, Deathstroke made multiple attempts to travel back in time and alter the past so that his son Grant had never died. But each attempt failed. What’s more, Slade’s connection to the Speed Force allowed him to perceive multiple timelines and realities, and gave him a new perspective, leaving him ashamed of his career as Deathstroke (DEATHSTROKE #19-20, 2017).
Following his “religious experiences” in the Speed Force, Deathstroke sought to make up for his past by being a positive force in the world. To this end, he became field leader of Adeline Kane’s “Team Defiance,” a group of young metahumans (including Rose Wilson and Jericho) recruited to act as the U.S. government’s own superhero counter-terrorists (DEATHSTROKE #21, 2017). Deathstroke’s activities with Defiance raised concern with the Society (formerly known as the Secret Society of Super-Villains), which put him on trial and released him when it concluded he was still a ruthless killer at heart (DEATHSTROKE #25, 2017).