For more than forty years, Slade Wilson has been one of DC’s most compelling—and loathsome—antagonists. He’s famously targeted the Teen Titans numerous times, along with remaining a consistent threat across the DC Universe. And now he’s ready for something different.
In the newest solo series starring the character, Deathstroke Inc. from writer Joshua Williamson and artist Howard Porter, Slade joins with an ages-old secret organization called T.R.U.S.T. His mission? Hunting down the biggest villains, with the coolest (and deadliest) technology at his disposal. But as Williamson is quick to note, just because Deathstroke is fighting bad guys, that absolutely doesn’t make him a good guy. Luckily, one genuine hero is on board to keep him in check: Black Canary.
DC Nation spoke with Williamson about what makes this series distinct from past Deathstroke stories, the inherently suspicious nature of T.R.U.S.T., working with Howard Porter, and what Black Canary might really be up to.
Josh, curious to get your broader take on Deathstroke. He’s positioned as something of a protagonist here, possibly more so than in past Deathstroke series. Yet there’s no doubt he’s a character that’s done some truly reprehensible things. Is Deathstroke someone we can root for? How does he react to his new position with T.R.U.S.T.?
You should not root for Deathstroke. He has tried to walk the line of being a hero many times and it just never works out. This book is about that. How he’s coming to terms with the fact that he is not a good person. He’s not a family man. He is not someone who should lead a good life. What does he do when he finally realizes that?
I loved Christopher Priest’s Deathstroke run. It’s genius. And I didn’t want to undermine what he did with the character. So, I wanted to pick it up right there and keep going forward with it.
Now when T.R.U.S.T. comes to him with a challenge, a new kind of job, he jumps at it. It allows us to throw Deathstroke into a new path that embraces the villain side of himself.
Speaking of T.R.U.S.T…checked all of the wikis and the Who’s Whos, and that’s not a DC super-secret organization I’ve heard of before. Anything you can tease about them?
If you read Batman: Urban Legends #6, there is a Black Canary story that acts as a prelude to Deathstroke Inc. There you get the first introduction to T.R.U.S.T. and its leader, and get an idea of what they are all about. They claim to be ages old organization that always operated in secret and now believe the best way to solve problems is to throw money at them.
I mean, I guess the real question is…would you really trust something called T.R.U.S.T.?
Black Canary is an unusual partner for Deathstroke. What’s her motivation here? What’s her dynamic like with Slade?
Again, read Batman: Urban Legends #6. That’s when we really get into what is going on with Black Canary. She’s there for multiple reasons. The big one involves something from her past…
And she hates Slade. It’s 100% antagonistic. They worked together multiple times in the past, in Team 7 and during her times in the Birds of Prey. This is hardly the first time she’s been on a team with him. But in this case, she knows the best way to keep an eye on Slade is to partner with him. It’s a high price to pay, but Black Canary has a job to do.
Howard Porter is a modern DC legend and someone you worked with quite a bit on The Flash. What’s exciting to you about what he brings to this series?
Passion and energy. He really goes for it. He understands that we want to make a fun book that explores the weird parts of the DC Universe. It’s a book about villains starring a villain. And that means lots of big action, which Howard excels at.
Deathstroke with amped-up resources sounds like a lot of fun (and terrifying). What kind of fun are you having with his new gadgets, weaponry, vehicles and access?
We go to space!
And we have Bat-armor!
All the toys help us open this up as a different kind of Deathstroke story. We get to take him to new worlds and genres.
Of course, the premise of this series is Deathstroke taking down villains, so I gotta ask—what villains might we see him hunting?
All of them. You’ll be surprised how big and crazy this book is going to get.
The question you have to ask is, what happens when those villains get wind of what he’s done and start to hunt Deathstroke down…?
Deathstroke Inc. #1 by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Hi-Fi and Steve Wands is now on sale in print and as a digital comic book.