Deathstroke: How Did DC’s Terminator Really Lose His Eye?


Even with one eye, Deathstroke remains a huge threat to the DC Universe but how exactly did he lose it and who was responsible?

Cold, calculated, and downright lethal, Slade Wilson who is also known as Deathstroke really takes his name to heart. He started as one of the main villains to the Teen Titans and has gone toe-to-toe with Batman on many occasions. In recent years, his character has started to delve more into the anti-hero territory but even with his added empathy, he remains one of the most dangerous assassins in the DC Universe.

The one odd thing about the highest-paid mercenary is that while he has a healing factor (along with other abilities) he still only possesses one eye after sustaining an injury from his dear ex-wife. Why did his eye never heal? To understand the situation, we need to look into how Wilson received these abilities and what he did to prompt his ex-wife to shoot him point-blank in the eye.

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Initially, Deathstroke first appeared as the big bad for the Teen Titans as the Terminator in The New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez in 1984. Within their world, he was one of their main adversaries. It wasn’t until 1991 did he get his own seriesexploring the many adventures of the assassin. His popularity was originally based on how cold and brutal he was. He stood by his word and if he took a contract with a name on it, they were as good as dead. Slade Wilson started in the military, lying about his age so he could join when he was 16. Working his way up the ranks, he had a knack for adapting to situations, mastered all forms of combat and military strategies. When the chance came to participate in an experiment to increase his ability to fight off truth serums he jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, the experiment left him in a coma. When he woke, he realized he had increased brain function, was able to heal from wounds, and had superhuman levels of strength, durability, and agility. The army however seemed to be done with Wilson, refusing to let him rejoin which sent him into a depression.

During his time with the army, he met Capt. Adeline Kane who immediately saw potential in Wilson’s skills. The two later fell in love and married. Adeline gave birth to two sons, Grant and Joe. Realizing his military career was over, Wilson found a way to provide for his family by becoming a famous safari hunter, although he was also making a name for himself in another industry at the time. Unknown to his family, Wilson had taken on the title of Deathstroke the Terminator and was quickly earning a record to make him one of the most sought after, highest paid assassins. Wilson had to reveal his secret to Adeline after Joe was kidnapped by the Jackal, holding him ransom for information Wilson possessed.

When Wilson and Adeline go to the exchange, Wilson refuses to divulge any of his client’s information, saying his word is his bond. He proceeded to take out most of the mercenaries, including the Jackal, but was too late to save Joe from having his throat cut. Thankfully, he survived only to be rendered mute as his vocal cords were severed. Adeline was less than thrilled with Wilson’s actions to endanger their son. In addition to the revelation that her husband was living a very dark second life put her over the edge. She decided she wanted Wilson out of their lives and attempted to shoot him point-blank in the head when his back was turned.

Related: X-Men: One of Wolverine’s WORST Defeats Was at the Hands of… Deathstroke?!

To her dismay, his reflexes wound up saving his life, although the bullet destroyed his eye. For many, the belief as to why his eye never heals is because his healing factor is limited. While he can recover from gunshot wounds and lacerations in his organs, it doesn’t seem as though he has the ability to regenerate like Deadpool or Wolverine. At one point he even tells his daughter Rose that if she took off his head, that would most likely be the end of him.

That said, in the 2009 one-shot Faces of Evil by David Hine and Georges Jeanty, this issue comes up. Wilson claims to have full control over his body and healing, so is it self-inflicted? While he is just as lethal with one eye, does he prevent it from healing as a reminder? The night he chose his word over his son he failed his family almost resulting in his son’s death. A mark like that could be a result of the guilt he feels. Time will tell if they ever reveal the true reason why his eye never returned.

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