In the annals of DC history, it’s hard to deny that overall, Deathstroke was a terrible parent and person. Whether Grant, Rose or Jericho, he influenced them so much and passed on decades of trauma. Even if they join forces, his children just can’t forgive him, since whether direct or not, he played a part in getting them armed and thrust into a bloody life of mercenary.
This seeped into the animated series and Titans also TV show. Most of the time, these kids prefer being dead to working with Slade, while other people he’s allied with usually try to betray him first, knowing he’ll stab them in the back. However inside DC vs Vampires: Total War #5 (by Alex Pak Nadel, Matthew Rosenberg, Pasquale Qualano, Francesco Mortarino, Nicola Right and Troy Peteri) Slade gets a chance to be his best self, both as a father and as a friend, all thanks to Mary Marvel.
Mary Marvel has surprising faith in Deathstroke
Slade leads a gang of villains on behalf of Damian Wayne trying to destroy Nightwing’s vampire empire. Unfortunately, Azrael betrayed her and her plan to bring back the sunlight with Weather Wizard fell through in Florida. To make matters worse, Baron Cinder has been revealed to be Superman hunting for Slade and the heroes he leads.
It leads to a brutal fight at the Flash Museum in Central City, but just before that, Mary reminds Slade that he’s better than he thinks. She cauterizes his wounds with Azrael’s sword, making him realize that he is a good leader and a good man in this world. She even gives him a hug, letting him know she has faith and keeping the crew safe when Billy Batson comes to her. This surprises Slade as no one has ever treated him with such respect, so he stays and flees, knowing he must live to fight another day with that higher calling.
Deathstroke could become the ultimate leader of heroes
This is one of Slade’s most human moments because aside from showing no vulnerability in other realities, he just doesn’t like teammates. But Mary inspires him to the point where he doesn’t mind retiring as he views his group like family. It’s kind and considerate, in a way that fans don’t often associate with Slade. Even more so, with Batman dead and the Resistance thin in numbers as Slade has a healing factor, he must be at his best as the war rages on, transforming himself into a leader that even he didn’t know was him could.
After murdering Billy, Mary is severely mentally damaged and begs her teammates to kill her. She’s a vampire when in human form so it’s now or never as she wants to be put out of her misery and suffering. But if anyone knows grief and guilt, it’s Slade. Hopefully he convinces them to keep fighting, not just because they need a powerful hero and a trump card, but because this can be Mary’s absolution. Ultimately, it will help Slade overcome the failures with his children he recalls often here, and guide Mary to greatness in a world on the brink of utter death, darkness, and destruction. This will be the perfect redemption song for Slade and put him level with the best of the Justice League.