Deathstroke & Batman’s First Battle is Rewritten in New DC Comics

In “Secret Meeting” a backup in Batman #122, DC rewrites the story of the first meeting between the Dark Knight and Deathstroke!

Warning: contains spoilers for “Secret Meeting” in Batman #122!

The true first meeting of Batman and Deathstroke has been revealed. In the story “Secret Meetings,” appearing as a backup in Batman #122, readers learn of how the Dark Knight first crossed paths with the deadly assassin. He has come to Gotham to kill Robin—and Batman must not only save Robin’s life but discover who hired Deathstroke. The issue is on sale now in print and digital.

Since his first appearance in 1980’s New Teen Titans #2 Deathstroke has evolved from a Titans-centric villain to a morally ambiguous character who has had flirtations with heroism. Considered one of the deadliest assassins on Earth, it would only seem a matter of time before he would encounter Batman; the two finally met in 1991’s Deathstroke the Terminator #6, which saw the duo work to save the life of a mobster. As Deathstroke returned to his villainous ways in the 2000s, the two found themselves on opposite ends of the law again. Recently, Deathstroke has begun amassing an army of villains for his own ends; he was also framed for the assassination of Ras’ al Ghul. Now with Batman hot on his trail, Deathstroke must not only clear his name from him but bring the real preparators to justice in the “Shadow War” event running through Batman and Deathstroke, Inc.; but first, DC reveals the true first meeting between the two. The story is written by Joshua Williamson, illustrated by Trevor Hairsine, colored by Rain Beredo, and lettered by Willie Suchbert.


Related: Batman and Deathstroke Make DC’s Shadow War the Ultimate Family Feud

As the story, set early in Batman’s career, opens, readers learn someone has put a hit out on Robin. Batman has spent the past week fighting off various assassins; ultimately, the bounty attracts Deathstroke. Batman catches him about to kill Robin but uses a Batarang to destroy Deathstroke’s gun. Incensed that Deathstroke would use a gun in Gotham, Batman confronts him. The two trade blows, and Deathstroke is more than a match for Batman, able to counter his moves from him. Deathstroke knows all of Batman’s teachers from him, based on his fighting strategies from him. Deathstroke tells Batman he does not know who put the hit out on Robin, only that whoever it was he had a “creepy voice” and would not stop laughing. Deathstroke then pulls his maks off, revealing he is deep in the throes of Joker toxin!

Batman and Deathstroke fight for the first time

“Secret Meeting” rewrites Batman and Deathstroke’s history, showing how their true first meeting happened. Deathstroke’s ability to counter Batman’s every move no doubt got under the Dark Knight’s skin. Yet Deathstroke inserted himself into Batman’s life in the most egregious way possible: by using a gun to try and kill Robin. This combination truly angered Batman, starting a tense relationship that continues to this day. The story sheds new light on a previously unknown chapter in Batman’s life from him and leaves readers with a number of lingering questions, namely the Joker’s role in hiring Deathstroke. And will the events of this story, set in the past, have any bearing on the “Shadow War” currently raging across the DC Universe?

Comic fans thought they knew the story of Batman and Deathstroke’s first meeting, but a new story reveals the two share a much longer history than anyone expected.

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