Deathstroke’s costume has changed many times throughout the years. Some alterations have been more drastic than others. For those interested, here is a brief history.
Ahhh yes. The very first Deathstroke costume in all its archaic glory. This was really just something Slade threw together in a rush to save his friend Wintergreen from the Viet Cong. After successfully rescuing Wintergreen, Slade was then discharged from the army for his actions. Which eventually lead him to become a mercenary. Perhaps Slade wanted to scare the enemy dressed in this manner or maybe he wanted to make sure his mission that day was as disconnected from American ties as possible, but that’s just speculation.
(see New Teen Titans: Judas Contract)
What came next is pretty much the traditional, iconic costume except that Slade’s mask was originally totally orange with two eye holes. This is what Deathstroke looked like during his first years as a mercenary until his son, Joseph was kidnapped.
(see New Teen Titans: Judas Contract)
Here is the version fans should be most familiar. Deathstroke had this costume starting from his first comic appearance in 1980 throughout most of the 90s and 2000s. Blue promethium mesh armor, orange flared gloves and boots, Orange pants and utility belt, metal chest piece, ammunition belt, and the divided half-black-half-orange mask, all with gold/yellow accents. He also always carried a sword, his bow staff, a pistol and hunting knife.
There were however some instances during the 90s when Slade’s costume went through some temporary changes. Exhibit one, when Slade was forced into serving the terrorist Cheshire (Deathstroke the Terminator #17-20) he was given the above costume to wear. However, Slade was actually working as a double agent and he along with Roy Harper foiled Cheshire’s mad plans. Afterwards, Slade quickly returned to his regular battle attire.
Slade’s costume changed slightly while on a search and rescue mission for Adeline in the World Tour Arc (DST #31) His chest plate disappeared and his shirt piece was replaced with ‘V’ shaped color blocking. He continued to wear this version through the span of his “Deathstroke : The Hunted” story arc up until he was caught in a huge explosion in “The Borgia Plague” Arc (DS #54) During this time he also ended up working for checkmate and the organization provided him with better armor and also special laser based weapons that could only be activated by him through fingerprint recognition.
The deadly explosion from “The Borgia Plague” arc tore Slade’s body apart so much that his super healing abilities worked overtime to restore his life, and as a result he came out of the rubble with amnesia and looking decades younger. Unfortunately, Slade also lost all sense of style (this is my least favorite out of all his costumes). From this time on going froward to events just before “Titans: Immortal Coil” Slade wore this blue and silver costume. A dark blue body suit with metal arm/leg guards and an external protective cup, and a half dark blue - half lighter blue mask.
After Slade regained his memories and regressed back to his actual age, he returned to wearing the classic costume. He would continue to appear in this costume through the 2000s. Many different artists got to illustrate Deathstroke during this period, and some made minor alterations to his attire: longer pants, less flare to the boots, leaving the chest piece out, and not to mention no one could agree on what type of sword Slade carried (I’ve counted at least four!). But for the most part his costume went unchanged for a time.
Briefly during Blackest Night Slade was shown wearing shoulder guards and there seemed to be a little less orange to his costume. But when he next appeared in Titans: Villains for Hire he was in his old costume again.
Then the New 52 happened and many characters got a make over, including Deathstroke. Slade’s costume had a whole lot less mesh, now only covering his chest and abdomen, his orange pants and boots disappeared replaced by knight-inspired boots and dark blue pants with light-blue style lines. As well as huge orange metal shoulder guards. He also now wielded a fantastically large sword along with a hunting knife and pistol.
Later Slade also appeared in another New 52 comic, titled Team 7. The storyline was an attempt at rewriting the origin of how he started out as a mercenary. The image on the right is the costume Slade wore while part of Team 7 and his attire looks like tactical gear only with some personal touches of color. While the image on the left is the costume he appeared in after the team was dismantled. Notice how the costume on the left is much like the original New 52 redesign but with added gauntlet and boot spikes.
The New 52 Deathstroke series was cancelled and recently brought back to life by writer Tony S. Daniel. And again the Deathstroke costume went through a drastic redesigned. There is very little orange to the current outfit, that which remains is used as accents over a dark blue body suit. Most of the armored mesh has also been removed, with very little still remaining, but over the chest area. There are no shoulder guards, but arm and shin guards are present.
This post only covers the changes made to Deathstroke’s costume within comics. There have been many other versions and redesigns in other sources of entertainment as well, such as in video games and TV shows. But that information I’ll cover at a later date.