What can I say about this guy. Basically he is probably my all time favorite DC Villain. At times he seems almost unstoppable (Except when facing Batman's sidekick for some reason). He has super reflexes and a combat mind that seems to be super powered but also he is just a pure bad arse from Hades when he wishes to be.
I was first introduced to Deathstroke in Teen Titans (as I am sure most people were) way back in the day (80's maybe, I honestly can't remember). I instantly loved his one eyed mask. It was unique and it just carried with it some kind of ominusness to it. Like he could still see with the other eye but he didn't want you to know it or something.
I quickly tried to find out what I could about him (long before the days of the internet, it took me over a year to get to know him a bit better and even then I was barely grasping the idea of him). He stuck out a bit cause he reminded me a bit of one of my favorite (and IMO vastly underrated) Marvel Villains, the Taskmaster.
It was years later I found out that both these guys were created by the same individual in his times with DC and Marvel. Funny too when you consider their odd boots kind of match as well.
In the early 90's the comic boom hit and DC following the lead of Marvel tried to make Deathstroke an anti-hero and give him his own series. They even played it up that Deathstroke was the DC version of Punisher. The series wasn't all bad though and in fact the first few issues were good. But making Deathstroke a good guy even slightly left a bad taste in my mouth. It just didn't fit his motives.
A few years later the Teen Titans cartoon hit Cartoon Network and the main villain was Slade who was obviously intended to be Deathstroke. The suspicion is that Cartoon Network wanted to remain kid friendly and changed Deathstroke's name. Me I think Deathstroke is a fine kid friendly name but what do I know.
Probably my favorite Deathstroke moment is in Identity Crisis when he stands up to five members of the JLA alone and nearly defeats them. He is finally stopped by Green Arrow plunging an arrow into Deathstroke's missing eye socket (a vicious move by GA IMO). I had thought that DC was building up Deathstroke for a big Deathstroke vs. Batman storyline. While the two have met the stakes were never that great. It never came to be (yet) but I think it would be an exciting confrontation.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the sorted relationship of Deathstroke and Deadpool. It was obvious when Deadpool appeared in X-Force that he was intended to be a direct copy of Deathstroke. The basic premise was the same, a mercenary who used swords and guns and was incredibly good at what he did. Even their real names (Slade Wilson, Wade Wilson) were too similar not to notice, let alone their Villain names having similarities. As a result I just despised Deadpool for a long time. I was a huge Deathstroke fan and borderline plagiarism by Liefeild just got under my skin. Of course that would catch up with him later at Image but that is another story.
But Deadpool did become something more when handled by some other creators and actually ended up being a real interesting and fun character. Superman and Batman's series even poked fun by having a character who looked and acted just like Deadpool show up but in Deathstroke's colors. No matter what though I will always have that bit of twinge in the back of my mind about his origins. I have a hope now to turn that into some interesting character conflict, but that is another story.
When Mattel announced at Toyfair this year that they were releasing Deathstroke, I was ecstatic. I did expect a less than stellar figure but at least finally I would have a 1:18th scale Deathstroke to my collection. It has been something I have wanted for years and years. When he finally arrived I was even more ecstatic, but I figured once I got the figure in hand that would wear off. That is until I took him out of the box.
First let me get to one gripe I have with the figure, the lack of accessories. I have no idea why Mattel couldn't spring for a staff, a sword and a gun. I quickly realized I had tons of accessories around the house, but the point is that the figure really needed some, he is just too good to be packed without them. I am also going to say his knife is oddly placed, and if you know anything about the character you will probably get a good laugh out of it. If it were a removable knife it would have been great, same for the gun holster on the leg.
Deathstroke does have some of the standard parts we have gotten used to out of this line, but he also has some new molds that make him stick out from the rest. His chest and upper arms are most defiantly new with details in them that I have not seen on any DCIH figure before.
While Mattel could have skimped out, they molded the straps and ect into the figure. The ammo belt around his chest is an attachment, but its one you would expect. The line down the middle of his chest to indicate color change in his costume is also molded in, something we have not seen from eh DCIH line at all.
The details are great, right down to the knot on the back of his mask and even different colored straps. The molding on the mask is solid and that one, piercing eye is present in the paint job, he looks like he is going to take someone out, and not for a good time.
Scale wise he is doing better than most DCIH figures. He stands well with Marvel Universe and other lines. Unlike the previous efforts he doesn't appear short or squat as the original DCIH figures.
His articulation has been ramped up as well. Hi has bends and swivels in the arms, knees and hips as well as swivel wrists. This makes him a major step up from the big handed moderate articulated figures from the initial waves of DCIH. My one gripe with this has been some fragility I have encountered (Martian Manhunter broke his leg at the knee right out of the package). Deathstroke does appear to be more sturdy so I am hoping they have worked out some of the issues.
My verdict is Deathstroke is by far the best DCIH figure to date. He is a quantum leap in sculpt, design and articulation. Is he perfect, well no, but wow he is so close its unreal. If you have ever been a DC fan I would highly recommend you pick this guy up and soon. From the looks of it he is going fast. He also looks great with other lines as well so incorporating him shouldn't be too huge a deal.