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Deathstroke

Teen Titans
by yo go re

The problem with groups like the Teen Titans is that if they get any recurring villains, said baddies end up looking like they just like to beat up kids.

Now, don't get me wrong, there's just about nothing better or more rewarding than beating the holy hell out of a child, but really, what's going to earn you more respect when you invariably end up in prison: getting your butt handed to you by Batman or by Robin?

Internationally renowned mercenary Slade Wilson became the New Teen Titans' greatest foe. Now this cold-blooded killer has returned to combat the re-formed Teen Titans... or has he?

Yes, he has. This is the very first Deathstroke figure we've gotten, but it's a character fans have been awaiting for some time now. Sure, he an ultra-competent badass, but he's also visually interesting. His costume has survived intact since it was first designed in 1982, and he still looks good today.

When you get right down to it, Slade's costume is pretty goofy. It's blue and orange, following the old comics design mentality that when your character is mainly one primary color, you should highlight it with its opposite. I guess we're lucky he's not yellow and purple.

He's got big folded buccaneer boots like Captain America, and scale armor on his stomach and arms. Deathstroke was doing the "straps and pouches" thing before straps and pouches were cool. He's got a bandolier and a few grenades on his belt, a gun on his hip and a knife in his boot, though none of them are removable. Plan-B can make separate weapons on their WWII Special Forces figures, but DC Direct can't?

The detailing on the figure is great - every little scale of the mail is sculpted, and so are the clasps on his belts. There's a knot at the back of his mask that actually looks like two strips of cloth tied together. On the blue, eye-less half of his mask, it really looks as if it's cloth stretched over a face beneath, and that's not an easy thing to do.

Deathstroke moves at all the standard DC Direct points: neck, shoulders, elbows, gloves, hips and knees. The paint apps are decent, though the dark blue spills onto the orange in a few spots. The light blue used on the armor has a bit of a metallic sheen to it, which looks nice. He's got two accesssories: a blue and sliver shotgun and a sword that fits in a slot on his back. He can hold both at once, making him quite the formidable foe, and with some work the sword can be held in either hand.

Incidentally, Deathstroke played a part in the creation of one of Marvel's popular characters. When he first debuted in New Mutants #98,
Deadpool was little more than a Deathstroke parody: a deadly mercenary set after a newly regrouped/reformed teenage superteam, handed his butt and sent packing. Their names, both professional (Deathstroke, Deadpool) and private (Slade Wilson, Wade Wilson) are similar, and they've both got that sort of Spider-Man-inspired mask. Both use swords as well as guns, and both have enhanced reflexes/healing factors. In fact, the only real difference between them is Deadpool's comedic personality, which was ripped off from Spidey.

The figures in the Teen Titans line all come with a small display base designed after the contemporary Teen Titans masthead. DC Direct finally put these logo bases to good use, packaging them at the top of the blister to actually serve as the line's logo. Pretty clever.

On the Teen Titans cartoon, Slade just goes by his own name, which makes sense - they'd never let a character called "Deathstroke" on a kids' show. In the comics, however, he's finally gotten away from just brawling with kids: in the superb Identity Crisis miniseries, he single-handedly took apart the Justice League. That's more like it.

-- 10/12/04


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