Deathstroke, one of the most formidable fighters in the DCU, has always had a bit of a disadvantage because he's missing one eye.
But things just got worse.
Like, one eye worse.
After events in the latest Titans storyline by writer Eric Wallace, Deathstroke's other eye is gone. Thanks to the revenge of a villainous new character named Drago, Slade's one remaining eye was gouged out after Titans team members betrayed him.
This isn't the first time Titans has featured important events for DC characters. The comic has been tied to the events of Brightest Day as the recently resurrected Osiris revived his sister Isis. And the future of Black Adam may be tied to upcoming events in Titans.
Titans is also tied to the Green Arrow universe, as it follows the path Roy Harper has taken since the death of his daughter, Lian, and the loss of his arm in last year's "Rise and Fall" event. Originally, it appeared that Roy had turned over completely to evil, but recent events point toward the possibility of his heroism returning.
Wallace's villain-centered run on Titans began last year with the murder of Ryan Choi, the fourth Atom. Ray Palmer intends to avenge his murder and will get his chance this summer, as the series begins a major storyline, “The Methuselah Imperative." The new story kicks off in July's Titans
Annual #1 with a battle between the Titans and the Justice League of America.
"The Methuselah Imperative" crosses back into the regular Titans title and will see the return of Jericho. And the storyline promises to conclude many of the stories that have brewing in the title since Wallace and artist Fabrizio Fiorentino began their run last year.
Newsarama talked with Wallace about what's coming up in Titans, including the return of Jericho, the future of the Black Adam family, and the loss of Deathstroke's other eye.
Newsarama: Eric, let's start by just addressing the huge surprise we a couple months ago when Slade's other eye was gouged out. Has this been something you've been planning for awhile? And what are your thoughts behind it?Eric Wallace: It’s the first image I had way back when I was shaping the “Broken Promises” storyline. I’ve always wondered how Slade was able to fight so well with one eye. The answer is, of course, “Because he’s a badass.” But just how much of a badass fighter is he? Well, you can guess what popped into my head next. Because from that moment on I became determined to blind Slade entirely, then turn him loose on some bad guys (which we’ll see in Titans #35 & #36). And wow, it’s pretty exciting. And intense.
Nrama: Is the fact that Arsenal and Cheshire betrayed him an indication that there might still be some good in Roy, particularly now that we know his drug was laced with something more addictive?
Wallace: There is still “good” inside Roy, but betraying Slade is not an indicator of that. Roy’s descent into darkness — his drug addiction, joining the Titans to help kill Slade — was born out of the pain of Lian’s death. And Roy still hasn’t come to terms with that loss. So until he does, the “bad” side of his nature will still dominate.Fortunately for Arsenal fans, Roy’s eyes began to open in this month’s Titans #34, when he learns a secret that Deathstroke has been holding over him since issue #27. How he reacts to this will shape his path over the next few Titans issues, leading him into a new emotional landscape. This is especially true when he reunites with his old teammates, Dick and Donna, in this summer’s Titans Annual #1.
Nrama: Will he still be together with Cheshire as the story continues?
Wallace: We’ll definitely be seeing more of them together, but not necessarily in the romantic sense. Their relationship undergoes a radical change as a result of the “Broken Promises” storyline, turning lovers into potential adversaries. Needless to say, this is going to cause major friction, both for them and entire Titans team.
Nrama: What's been driving Slade to this point, and what will motivate him going forward?
Wallace: What’s motivated Slade up to now and what will continue to motivate him is the same thing it’s been since Day One of this new Titans team. The exact nature of it has been hinted at a few times in past issues. Major clues occurred in Titans #24 and #33, when a certain stranger made his presence known inside the Labyrinth.
But without spoiling anything, this mystery is coming to an end with the next story arc, “The Methuselah Imperative,” which begins with part one in this July’s Titans Annual. It’s here that Slade’s motivation will finally be revealed.
Nrama: We've learned a bit about Slade's past, and your run has been filled with exploration of all the villainous characters who are teaming with him. Which of them have you enjoyed getting to know as you've been writing the series?
Wallace: That’s a really tough question. Honestly, I go back and forth. I just love peeling back the layers of Deathstroke’s psyche. But it’s probably Osiris or the Tattooed Man, who returns to the Titans team in next month’s Titans #35 for a confrontation with Vixen. Mark Richards went through hell in losing his son, then avenging the boy’s murder. But killing Slipknot has tainted his soul forever. Taking a character through big changes like this is blast.
Osiris’s journey has also been wonderful to write, because he’s essentially a super-powered teenager growing up in a very violent world. But he’s doing it without any role models or solid parental supervision. That makes for great drama. Making matters worse for Osiris is the fact that — unlike, say, Supergirl, who had Superman to help teach her what it’s like to grow up with the powers of a god — he’s been getting life lessons from Deathstroke. That kind of parenting will screw anyone up.
Fortunately for Osiris, resurrecting Isis is a turning point in both their lives. As we’ll see beginning in Titans #35, she may be the only one who can get her brother under control and bring him back into the light.
Nrama: The return of Isis is definitely a fan-favorite part of your run. What's coming up for Osiris and Isis now that she's healed?
Wallace: Osiris and Isis are returning to Kahndaq, where they expect everything to be peachy keen. Boy, are they in for a surprise. Kahndaq has been invaded and is at war, one they are losing badly. How Osiris handles protecting his country and ending this war against the neighboring country of Qurac will permanently alter his relationship with his sister and his people. Plus, their return to Kahndaq might also hold the key to Black Adam’s return. How exactly? Stay tuned.
Nrama: A lot of these characters are changing over time during your run. Who do you think is going through the biggest evolution?
Wallace: I’d probably have to say Osiris, because of the aforementioned reasons. But I’d also have to say Cheshire, too, especially because of what’s going to happen to her as a result of the “Broken Promises” arc. That storyline was always designed to dig deeply into her character, in order to let us know how she’s really dealing with Lian’s death. Well, it’s no coincidence that she battles a telepath — Drago. Drago is going to be able to dig into her mind, literally, and reveal some truths she’s been running from for a long time. How Cheshire responds to this encounter directly affects her relationship with Arsenal, and not in a good way.
Nrama: What else can you tell us about what's coming up in the series?
Wallace: “The Methuselah Imperative” is the next Titans story arc. It is this team’s biggest adventure yet. It’s a three-part story that begins in the Titans Annual, then continues into Titans #37 and #38.
For more than a year, fans have been waiting for the JLA to catch up with Deathstroke and avenge the murder of Ryan Choi. Well, the wait is over. It’s Deathstroke vs. Ray Palmer, and yes, blood will be spilled.
But “The Methuselah Imperative” storyline is about more than a battle between two super teams. It’s also about Roy’s struggle to regain his lost heroism. Which is a tough path to take, especially with Deathstroke standing in the way. Therefore, Roy is going to need a very special friend to help him get through it all. That friend is Jericho.
Nrama: Yeah! Jericho is showing up in Titans #37! What were your thoughts behind bringing him into the comic and what can you tell us about how this ties into what else is happening in Titans?
Wallace: Bringing Jericho back into the Titans fold has been in the works for a long time. It’s something I pitched to DC at the beginning of my run that they immediately loved and said, “Go for it.” Having him appear in a story with this villainous Titans team was important for me, because so much of this book is about family, specifically parents and their relationships with their children — be they alive or dead.
Nrama: Parenthood is a theme that's been running through the series, isn't it?
Wallace: “What is the nature of parenthood?” is the key question at the heart of this entire Titans run. It’s also why having Jericho return was so important. What’s happened to Joey since his last appearance in Teen Titans #78 is a key part of a mystery that been brewing since the Titans: Villains for Hire Special #1. And now that mystery is finally building to its resolution.
Nrama: "The Methuselah Imperative" sounds like it's really going to tie up a lot of loose ends. Is there anything else you want to tell fans about what they can expect from the story?
Wallace: “The Methuselah Imperative” arc ties a lot of story threads together — the resolution of Deathstroke’s plan, Ray Palmer’s quest to avenge Ryan Choi’s death, the return of Jericho, Osiris’s struggle to fill Black Adam’s shoes until the latter’s return, Cheshire’s guilt over losing Lian, and the possible redemption of Roy Harper. Again, it’s pretty spectacular. There’s tons of action, some great guest stars, and an ending that will send the Titans team in an exciting new direction.