Superman #32: Deathstroke vs. Superman in an all-out war!

For the second time in the DC Rebirth era, loyal readers found themselves watching Deathstroke use his enhanced abilities to take on Superman, and the results were one hell of a fight, and a memorable clash.

In what amounts to a couple of filler issues of Superman while writer Peter Tomasi takes a break from the series, former Deathstroke writer James Bonny stepped in to weave together a tale about Lois Lane writing a feature story about Slade Wilson, attempting to get behind the mask of Deathstroke. And while that element of the story was rich enough to steal the show, with Lois highlighting Deathstroke’s evolving point of view on killing, doing the right thing, and reconciling what he’s done in the past, the main event of the story shifted when Deathstroke suddenly goes on the offensive after Lois’ story is printed. His motive? It’s true to the character of Deathstroke so it’s impossible to tell in the moment. However, it becomes clear that Lois isn’t his target at all, but rather Slade simply knows how to get Superman’s attention—by firing a bullet at Lois’ head, knowing Superman would show up in time to block it. And that’s where the fun begins.

Typical of any Deathstroke encounter, his wits and strategy become paramount, and when clashing with the Man of Steel, this was no different. Superman’s attacks are thwarted by Deathstroke’s gravity defying suit, which repels any attack and uses the force against the attacker, thus serving as a method to have Superman attack himself. Superman is no dummy, however, and soon unleashes an onslaught that causes Slade’s suit to malfunction, and Deathstroke’s ability to get in and out of situations comes to light as he disappears. 

The true showdown between the two DC stalwarts occurs after Deathstroke kidnaps Lois and puts a gun to her head, forcing Superman to decide between killing him to save her, or watch as the woman he loves is murdered at the hands of the world’s deadliest assassin. It is then that Deathstroke’s true motive becomes apparent: he’s testing Superman’s resolve and will power to not kill. In the end, Superman is Superman, and he finds a way to stop Deathstroke and save Lois without anyone dying. 

The all-out war between Deathstroke and Superman lasted more than three pages worth of action-packed panels detailing each character’s fighting ability. And for the rematch between the two (the first occurred in Christopher Priest’s first arc on Deathstroke in the Rebirth era), the fight lived up to the hype. 

Don’t miss Superman #32.

BONUS: Check out the Deathstroke vs. Superman fight from the New 52 Era!

Written by | Omar Hussain

Omar Hussain serves as the Publisher and Managing Editor of the Heroic Universe.