Titan’s Deathstroke Better Than Arrow’s Deathstroke:
Deathstroke the Terminator has always been featured in mainstream DC continuity as one of the greatest mercenaries the fictional worlds have ever seen. His blades are arms of death itself. He has killed the most impossible targets which include even Gods and monsters. If it is someone you want dead, your first choice will always be Deathstroke. The comic books have always shown us one version of Deathstroke – the lean mean fighting machine that does not take prisoners. The TV Shows have shown us two versions of it. Arrow has Manu Bennett – the Angel of Death. Titans have Esai Morales, the One-Eyed Agent of Doom. The question is – which one was better of the two – Is Titan’s Deathstroke better than Arrow’s Deathstroke?!
SPOILER ALERT: Major Spoilers for Titans Season 2 finale episode “Nightwing”. Enter at your own risk…
Whether it is Batman, Superman, the Flash or any other character lucky enough to get a live-action adaptation, the debate that catches on within the fan circles is – which one was better of them all. Hell, even Lois Lane’s different avatars have been put up on a pedestal for comparison. But it will probably be the first time for Deathstroke – who has had three live-action appearances in three different productions – Arrow, Titans and Justice League (Post Credits).
In the final episode of Titans, the group of teenage superheroes comes face to face with the Terminator of DC Comics. Esai Morales plays Deathstroke and gives the Titans a run for their money. He is formidable in combat and is able to dance around them all with relative ease. His acting performance in Ozark has proved that Esai is actually a pretty good actor. But is it enough for him to challenge the benchmark set by Manu Bennett’s Deathstroke in Arrow?
We have to look at all the information at our disposal and analyze them in incredible detail to realize the better of the two.
Manu Bennett’s Deathstroke:
In Arrow, Slade Wilson debuted as an ally of Oliver Queen where he helped him stop the bad guys from destroying airliners and thus stopped a war from happening. In the show, circumstances lead to Oliver and Slade finally coming at odds with each other and Oliver had to kill him. Slade had already been enhanced thanks to a mutation inducing drug in his bloodstream that gave him incredible healing powers. He would return to Star City to try and make Oliver pay for what he had done to him. Oliver Queen defeated him as the Arrow and he would later appear in Season 5 where he joined forces with Oliver to stop Adrian Chase from killing all of Oliver’s friends. In Season 6, Manu Bennett appeared for the last time as Deathstroke in Arrow where he teamed up with Oliver to save his son from a path of villainy.
Esai Morales’ Deathstroke:
The Titans took a different approach to introduce Deathstroke into their universe. Deathstroke was an infamous mercenary for hire who had already undertaken impossible jobs and completed them successfully by the time Titans had officially formed. He was a legendary figure already. When he was tasked with assassinating an art dealer specializing in Amazonian relics and artefacts, another superhero called Aqualad, got in his way. Aqualad would die by the hands of Deathstroke and Donna Troy (Aqualad’s love interest) took it personally. Robin and Slade would later meet in battle while pursuing Deathstroke for revenge. During the ensuing fight, Jericho – Deathstroke’s son, would die an untimely death.
Deathstroke would then use his daughter Rose as a Trojan-Horse to infiltrate the Titans and destroy them from the inside. Titans’ producers made a serious mistake of making him the guy who works in shadows, pulling the strings as the mastermind behind it all. Esai Morales’ Deathstroke literally dies within 15-20 minutes of the Episode. They could not even use him properly before disposing off of him. So while they had planned out the arc for Deathstroke, the execution was haphazard and shoddy at best. As a result, Morales’ Deathstroke could not achieve the same level of character depth as Manu Bennett’s Deathstroke from the Arrow Verse.
The answer is pretty simple and straight-forward by now – Titans tried to make a memorable addition to the legacy of Deathstroke. But nothing still compares to Manu Bennett’s iteration of the supervillain in Arrow. Arrow’s Deathstroke is still the best.