Archnemesis of the Teen Titans, Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, is an adversary of the Masked Vigilante, Batman as well. The interesting fact is like Bruce Wayne, Slade is a businessman too and lives a dual life. In the DC Universe, Deathstroke’s superpower resembles that of Marvel’s Deadpool, an anti-hero character.
The animated film, Deathstroke Knights & Dragons, shows us the brief origin of how Slade Wilson transformed into Deathstroke. But a major plot centers around his family and his son, who believes that Slade is a knight in shining armor. Coming straight from the DC Original Animated Universe is one of the best films you will encounter. Suicide Squad may have failed to do justice with an interesting character. But, the animated film cleanses all sins.
Who is Slade Wilson? Origins of Deathstroke
Slade was a marine in the United States Army. He was a killing machine in combat that garnished his uniform with medals. During one of his stints, he met Captain Adeline Kane, who trained him for guerrilla warfare. The new combat was going to be employed in the upcoming Vietnam War. During the training, Slade fell in love with Adeline, and the couple was later married. Due to her pregnancy, Adeline couldn’t join Slade on the Vietnam mission, and he went to the battlefield alone.
The Vietnam war was a turning point in Slade’s army career. The savage massacred, sickened him, and shook his sanity. However, in Vietnam, Slade met his ultimate companion, Wintergreen, (like Alfred to Batman), assisting him on his missions through electronic communications.
In the army, Slade enlisted for a secret drug trial. During the testing, the drugs failed to achieve the desired results. Contrarily, it damaged Slade’s body, and he was thereby discharged from his services. Back home, Slade experienced metahuman super-soldiers abilities. He was able to use up to 90% of his brain’s capacity. The drug also heightened his senses and gave him an accelerated healing factor. Later, he teamed up with Wintergreen and became a mercenary, calling himself Deathstroke. However, he kept his altered identity a secret from his family. The storyline that the animated film Deathstroke Knights & Dragons covers ahead.
‘Deathstroke Knights & Dragons’ Summary
The opening sequences establish that Slade often stays away from his family, his wife Adeline, and Joseph’s younger son. Before their marriage, while Slade was engaged to Adeline, he cheated on her. He got involved with a Cambodian woman, Lillian. Due to his intermittent love affair, Adeline still suspects him when he goes for his business meetings. However, she is unaware of Slade’s mercenary business.
The only connecting link in the conflicted relationship is their son. Joseph worships Slade as a knight in shining armor who fights dragons like legends. Slade tries his best to live upto his son’s fantasy as Deathstroke.
A villain, The Jackal who is the leader of the criminal organization “HIVE,” kidnaps Joseph to blackmail Slade to join his organization and fulfill his ulterior motives. However, Slade refuses to be a part of a criminal organization because, like Batman, he has his own code of conduct. Slade rescues Joseph, but during the combat, one of Jackal’s men slits Joseph’s throat. As a result, his vocal cords are permanently damaged that makes him mute.
The tragedy separates Slade and Adeline, and he is barred from meeting his son. Then, 10 years later, Joseph is kidnapped again from a boarding school. Adeline calls out for help from the best possible vigilante she knows, Deathstroke.
Major Spoilers Ahead
‘Deathstroke Knights & Dragons’ Ending Explained
Deathstroke attacked Bronze Tiger’s den in a middle eastern country. Bronze Tiger was formerly part of the HIVE, and thus, Slade knew that he would be aware of his son’s location. He told Deathstroke about “The Kerguelen Islands,” which was the new headquarters of the HIVE.
On the island, Slade faced Joseph’s hatred for being an absent father and learned about an abandoned daughter, Rose. The siblings threw Slade, the failed father, off the cliff, leaving him to die in the deep waters. However, at the brink of the moment, Slade was saved by Adeline. She was tracking him since the beginning of the second rescue mission. Here Adeline stated, “Deathstroke may have an incredible ability to heal, but he is not immortal.” The reference connects to the end, where Slade sacrifices himself to save his family.
Rose was the daughter of Lillian, the Cambodian woman with whom Slade was involved. However, he didn’t have any idea about the child. After Lillian’s death, Rosa faced the wilderness of the streets of Phnom Penh. She survived on her own, but her bitterness for her father only grew deeper. She was later adopted by Jackal, who saw altered genetic power in Rosa, similar to Deathstroke. Joseph had the power to possess a person through his psychic abilities.
Jackal wanted to use Joseph’s psychic powers to rule the world, but he needed Rosa, who shared a connection with Joseph. But before Jackal could pull off his plan, Rosa and Joseph turned up against him. In a fierce battle, Deathstroke saved his family and jumped off the plane with Jackal. In the air, he blasted a bomb, thereby sacrificing himself to kill Jackal. In his last voice-over, he communicates with his son (speculative). He said, “I’m not a knight. I never was. But maybe now I can be the man you always needed.
“The land was filled with dragons and people were afraid. But the shining Knight came riding forth to protect both man and maid. He faced the fiercest creature that the world had ever known. And he did all to save us. For the Knight was not alone. And when his work was done, the dragons were no more. And so the Knight rode on. Into legend, into lore.”
The last frame visualizes an injured Deathstroke washed off the shore. His eyes suggested that he was still alive and was still breathing. From here, Slade could go back to his family or let his identity of Slade Wilson be dead forever. From there on, he would be only Deathstroke to protect his family. But whatever path he takes, it will be interesting to watch the adventures of the Masked Vigilante.
Deathstroke Knights & Dragons is a 2020 animated film directed by J. M. DeMatteis, based on the character from DC Comics.