|“||I am the thing that keeps you up at night, the evil that haunts every dark corner of your mind. I will never rest- and neither will you.||„|
|~ Slade to Robin.|
Slade is the overall main antagonist of the 2003 animated action series Teen Titans. He is the Earth-Teen Titans version of Deathstroke the Terminator. This article specifically covers the animated version of the character. He is the main antagonist of Seasons 1 and 2, a minor antagonist in Season 3, the secondary antagonist turned anti-hero of Season 4, and the final main antagonist of Season 5.
Slade plays a main role as one of the biggest villains in the animated series. His first appearance is Divide And Conquer and/or Final Exam where he first appears as a silhouetted figure hidden in shadow. In Divide And Conquer, Slade sends Cinderblock to free Plasmus from jail, as well as other criminals. After Cinderblock and Plasmus were defeated and sent back to jail, Slade then hired Gizmo, Jinx, and Mammoth to defeat the Teen Titans, who were then defeated.
In Forces of Nature, Slade disguised himself as an old man and convinced Thunder and Lightning to work for him until the two brothers realized that their "fun" was harmful and wrong (thanks to Beast Boy teaching them a lesson). Robin fought the disguised Slade while the other Titans took out the flame monster. After Robin kicked Slade's face, his real face was revealed. Slade then vanished into thin air.
In the episode Masks, Robin searches obsessively for Slade's identity, going so far as to create a new villain persona known as "Red X" to propose a partnership with Slade. Slade, however, was aware that Robin was Red X all along and the two do battle, with Slade escaping yet again. In the episodes Apprentice Part 1 & 2, he tricks and forces Robin into being his apprentice. When Robin refuses to work for him, Slade threatens to destroy Robin's friends with nanobots of his own design hidden within their bodies. Robin defeated Slade by placing the same nanobots into his system, telling Slade that if he killed his friends he would also lose his current apprentice, Robin. Rather than wipe out the Titans in one blow and have nothing left standing in his way, Slade chose to shut down the nanobots and in doing so allowed Robin to attack him and break half his mask off. Slade brought his entire lair down and escaped once again.
Slade returned in the 2nd season, where he discovered a girl named Terra, blessed and cursed with tremendous power. Despite the Titans' initial warnings to Terra about Slade's evil, Slade helped Terra learn to control her powers and convinced her to be his apprentice. In the end, after helping Slade conquer Jump City and 'destroy' the Titans, Slade's abuse allowed her conscience to win out, and Terra betrayed Slade, sending him to his doom in a pit of lava.
Sometime after the final battle with Slade, Robin, still obsessed with Slade, inhaled a hallucinogen drug (in dust form) released from Slade's cracked mask. After Robin was knocked out by Cinderblock, he saw that Slade had returned, but every time Robin attacked him, Slade didn't have a scratch on him, and Robin couldn't even touch him. Robin's friends couldn't see Slade, because only Robin could; Slade was a hallucination. Slade easily beaten Robin up, and Robin became even more angry, unable to land a decent blow on the apparition. Robin was so intent on destroying Slade once and for all he wouldn't stop to consider his friend's theory that Slade wasn't really there. Back at the tower, Slade was still haunting Robin's mind, and Robin continued to fight a losing battle. There was only one weakness: the flickering lights made Slade disappear. Just as Slade was about to kill Robin, Robin believed in his friends and switched on the lights, and Slade disappeared completely.
In the fourth season of the Teen Titans animated series, Slade surprisingly returned for real, after Raven instead of Robin. Slade had gained new, demonic pyrokinetic powers, flight, invincibility, and the S-shaped Mark of Scath on his head. It is revealed that after Terra killed him, he was revived by Trigon, Raven's demonic father.
After Raven sacrificed herself to release Trigon, Robin had no choice but to join Slade to look for Raven. The two traveled into Trigon's underworld, where it was revealed that Slade was existing only as a reanimated corpse. After Terra killed him, he was revived, thanks to Trigon, but Trigon reneged on their deal and refused to return Slade's life. After parting ways with Robin, Slade then came face to face with a demonic guard and stole his weapon after destroying him and regaining his life and strength. Slade then aided the Titans in their final battle against Trigon, only for the demon to blast Slade away. He was never seen again after this, though Robin vowed that if he ever showed up again, they would be ready.
Although he does not make an appearance in the final battle between the Brotherhood of Evil and the Teen Titans, Slade does appear again in the last episode of the series, taunting Beast Boy about how the seemingly revived Terra no longer wants anything to do with him. But after an intense battle, this Slade is revealed to be a robot duplicate, though its existence suggests that the real Slade is still alive and active.
Powers and Abilities
Slade has no superhuman powers, but is still extremely dangerous. He is a ruthless martial artist of the highest caliber and knows a wide range of martial art forms; combined with his heightened speed, strength, reflexes and agility, he is even able to put all five Titans united in combat to shame. He seems to possess some knowledge of ceremonial magic (as seen in the episode Forces of Nature) which could possibly imply that he was working with/for Trigon all along, or he merely has extensive knowledge of the occult. He appears to have access to extremely advanced technology and various secret hideouts, nearly unlimited resources, and a vast army of robot minions. However, his most dangerous attribute is his genius-level intelligence; rather than get his own hands dirty, Slade is adept at laying traps, utilizing high level technology, orchestrating numerous schemes and attacks, and even manipulating others to do his bidding. He is a master of manipulation and psychology, allowing him to get his foes to do almost anything he wants through threats, bribes, or simple fear. Like Robin and his mentor Batman, Slade also uses many gadgets during his fights, including explosives. He was said to have a healing factor.
Following his demise and resurrection as Trigon's herald, he commands a wide range of psychokinetic abilities used to rival those of Raven, particularly his pyromancing (i.e., fire-controlling powers). When serving as Trigon's agent, he is empowered with vast pyrokinetic abilities, superhuman strength and durability, flight, regeneration, phasing, electricity generation, teleportation, and other supernatural powers making him far stronger than the Teen Titans (except for Raven). Moreover, as he was only a skeleton without a body at the time, he was able to sustain heavy damage and was near immortal.
Slade is an adult male of an unknown age. He wears a partly armored, full-body black outfit with monochromatic color scheme, and steel-toed boots. Attached to the suit are a number of plated silver compartments along with a utility belt in which he keeps any number of items such as communication devices, weapons, and detonators. However, his most notable feature is his mask, which is an orange copper on the side with his eye and black on the other. In the episode The End Part II, the glimpse of Slade's skull shows that he has only one eye, and the empty right socket has a scar, indicating a wound deep enough to cut the bone. His eyes are dark gray, often appearing black from a distance. He is tall and extremely well-built, with broad shoulders and muscular limbs.
A brief glimpse of Slade's silhouetted head without the mask, shown in The Apprentice Part II, shows he has short, spiky hair either gray, dirty blonde or brown. He is Caucasian, as various times his clothes have been ripped (usually by Beast Boy) to reveal the skin underneath. In the episode The End Part III, however, his outfit is ripped to reveal only bare bones. He has a notably smooth and velvet deep voice, which can easily be quite frightening, and a calm and casual demeanor. He rarely raises his voice during the entire series.
Slade is an extremely calm and composed individual, remaining an enigma to both enemies and allies alike throughout the series. As a result, not much is known of his true personality by anyone, although the comparison has been made on multiple occasions by multiple people that he and Robin share similar traits, such as an intense dislike to lose and are fiercely dedicated and borderline obsessive in accomplishing their goals. Slade is a cruel, calculating and ruthless man and master manipulator. He prefers operating from the shadows but is quite capable of holding his own in any kind of battle, and is exceedingly dangerous. He is very hard to startle or faze, and his emotions are nearly impossible to read. He maintains a calm demeanor throughout most situations, and only loses his temper very rarely.
Despite his animosity with Robin and status as the Teen Titans' main arch nemesis, it is worth noting that Slade never truly treats Robin like an enemy. Slade has saved Robin's life more than twice throughout the series for unknown reasons, even when Robin's death would have been beneficial to him. His attitude towards the Titans resembles in many ways a toxic, twisted father figure; while he might not be looking out for them the way a father would, his actions against them push them to mature and do their best, and grow as individuals and as a team.
From various battles with Teen Titans, Slade gave few hints of his motive:
- In Birthmark, Slade quotes that it is, "always the quiet ones".
- In Apprentice Part II, he quotes, "Betrayal. Destruction. Revenge."
These all may reference his son Joseph (which is later known as Jericho), since he can't talk, and the incident leading up to him being unable to talk (and Slade losing his right eye) was because of Slade supposedly betrayed his family, which led to the minor destruction of his home (but major destruction to him and his son). It's possible that before the incident, Slade used to be a good individual, but after the incident, he sought vengeance against the world.
Ever since the incident, Slade was further turned into the dark side, effectively making him depraved from any regret over his actions nor chance of redemption; despite that fact, he reluctantly joined forces with Titans during the battle against Trigon. When Robin tells him that everything that he's ever done has only made people suffer, he said "it's what I do best", showing that he was highly sadistic, longing for suffering and terror to occur on many people, whether for his foes and allies alike. At the first 2 seasons, other things that made him despicable were for reasons which are not entirely clear, he is shown tirelessly working on recruiting new apprentices, setting his sights on both Robin, Terra, and others like Thunder and Lightning respectively.
Using his intelligence and charisma, he exploits their weaknesses and fears, and is not above blackmailing them into submission, as he did with Robin in Apprentice Part I. On top of that, after each candidate failed to be his apprentice, he would recruit others and treat them in both active and aggressive manners if necessary. It means, when he had a new apprentice, he would treat them worse than the former. (As seen in case of Terra where she turned out treated in more harsh and aggressive manner than Robin previously had).
Occasionally he will lose his temper; an example is when Trigon betrayed him and had his minions seize him, which lead to him to demand the demons to obey him with outrage.
Episodes and Appearances
- Divide and Conquer (first appearance)
- Final Exam
- Forces of Nature
- Apprentice - Part 1
- Apprentice - Part 2
- Titan Rising
- Aftershock - Part 1
- Aftershock - Part 2
- X (Non-Speaking Cameo and in Flashback)
- Haunted (vision)
- The Prophecy
- The End - Part 1
- The End - Part 2
- The End - Part 3 (last real appearance)
- Hide and Seek (Non-Speaking Cameo and in Flashback)
- Things Change (as a robot)
- Ron Perlman later voiced a different incarnation of Deathstroke in the 2013 animated movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
- Due to censorship reasons, Slade was not permitted to be referred to by his comic book name Deathstroke. Also, instead of being a mercenary and a killer, he is a terrorist and a criminal mastermind. (However, in the French version of Teen Titans, his comic book name Deathstroke is still used.)
- For the later release of Young Justice however, Slade was referred to by his original name Deathstroke, only because the Young Justice cartoon was ranked for older audiences (TV-PG), compared to the Teen Titans cartoon (TV-Y7).
- Slade is the only villain from the original comics to not use his original villain name.
- In "Forces of Nature", Slade is disguised as an elderly mystic who bears resemblance to Slade's maskless comic book appearance. Somehow Slade was able to disguise his muscular frame to look like a small old man.
- Although Robin and Slade vowed in Season 4 that if they were to encounter each other again a fight would not be reconsidered, Slade (at least as a villain) never fought with the Titans afterward even when encountering Beast Boy.
- During his solo fight with the doorkeeper in "The End - Part 2" (with a small glimpse in part 3) you see his scarred skull. However he regained his flesh after the fight was finished and his face was never revealed.
- His height was 6`4.
- Slade was also planned to appear in the 2013 Teen Titans Go! spin-off where Ron Perlman will possibly reprise his role. However, the spin-off series' creators, at this moment, are not sure about how they will portray him in that series due to his dark, serious nature in the original series.
- Slade's face was revealed in an issue of Teen Titans Go! comic, and his face was like Deathstroke where he was unmasked.
- Despite being based off of Deathstroke, he has more in common with Ra's Al Ghul. He is a terrorist mastermind instead of a mercenary, he tries to recruit a member of the Bat Family (only Robin instead of Batman) to be his successor, and he used supernatural means to cheat death (his deal with Trigon in comparison to Ra's Al Ghul's Lazarus Pits).
- Slade is the second main villain of a Cartoon Network show that is not defeated at the original end of it. The first was Aku of Samurai Jack. But in later years, Aku finally meets his own fate in the show's final season.
- He was often believed by fans to be Bruce Wayne.