DC made a bold move earlier this year when Red Arrow killed Slade Wilson/Deathstroke in the pages of Deathstroke #43 and then doubled down on that stunning death by having the villain community gather on the pages of Deathstroke #44 to bury the deadliest man in the DC Universe. And, like all deaths, Deathstroke's violent passing has real consequences -- especially for his children and in this week's Deathstroke #45 we find out exactly how significant those consequences are when "Deathstroke" appears to finish his last job -- with a surprising person under the mask.
Spoilers below for this week's Deathstroke #45 below.
The issue wastes no time getting down to who is under Deathstroke's iconic mask. It's Rose Wilson, suited up in her father's suit with her identity largely obscured by the mask as she attempts to finishing her father's final job and take out an accused war criminal. However, it's not going to be that straightforward. It rarely is in the world of assassins on the pages of comics and even as Rose attempts to take down Lovac, using the task as a way to deal with her grief over the death of her father and her own guilt at past sins, someone else arrives to do the job instead -- Shado.
Shado arrives planning to take out Lovac herself, but she has another agenda as well. As Shado and Rose banter with each trying to beat the other to taking down the mark, Shadow reveals that it was Red Arrow, her own daughter Emiko, who killed Slade. For Rose, that makes the Teen Titan responsible for the pain she's feeling in this situation, setting the stage for Rose to shift her wrath towards taking out Red Arrow, her somewhat blind rage apparently playing right into Shado's plans. It's that manipulation that Rose's brother, Joey, points out when he arrives on the scene as he's drawn right back into his familial madness after having managed to put his life together and find love again after the loss of his fiancé, Etienne.
While Rose's unmasking as the "new" Deathstroke -- it's important to realize that she's imitating him so his death isn't widely known -- is quite a stunner in the issue and will certainly have major ramifications for not just the character but for Red Arrow and the Teen Titans as well, it's what happens to Joey that is fascinating and devastating as well. His suit having been disabled by Rose when he tries to stop her from playing into Shado's machinations in going after Emiko, Joey falls to the ground and is severely injured. It's where he remains, waiting for help when he's approached by Lex Luthor with an offer he may not be able to refuse.
Deathstroke #45 is on sale now.
Were you surprised to see Rose unmasked as the "new" Deathstroke? Let us know in the comments below.