The Mystery of Deathstroke’s Mask

Anytime you see Deathstroke or even a sign of him you get the feeling that someone’s about to meet their end. The famed assassin doesn’t just show up for no reason, but the appearance of his mask on Arrow was enough to set people buzzing as it created more questions than it answered. The obvious thing about it is that Oliver Queen found it washed up on shore of the location he’d been stuck for five years. Without any real thought it seems he mounted it on a stick and then, perhaps symbolically, shoved an arrow through the right eye, signifying what he’d done to his mentor long ago. To some it might seem pretty cut and dried since the two had a falling out and Arrow decided to take things to another level, but to others of course there is the wonder as to where Slade is and what is he going to do with Oliver when he catches up to him.

As great as Arrow is, and he’s a wonder with his bow and deadly all around, Deathstroke is just that much deadlier. Both of them are tacticians without a doubt but it would seem that Deathstroke is by far the more calculating between the two. Deathstroke is also a rather curious villain since he doesn’t always go out to do bad things but instead can seem to shift one way or the other. He’s dangerous without a doubt, but he does have a certain code he lives by that won’t allow him to perform certain acts. If anyone doubts this all they need to do is look over his history with the Teen Titans. Green Arrow isn’t the only superhero he’s ever interacted with, though obviously in the Arrowverse it’s been made quite clear that he’s one of those that Deathstroke is closest to.

Something about Deathstroke is highly appealing to many people, and it’s not just that he’s a killer and an overall powerful villain that doesn’t rely on powers beyond what he was given when his physical body was altered and strengthened. He has no ability to fly, to project force blasts, or to do anything other than what a normal human can do. But he’s still so inherently deadly that just the sight of him makes people hitch their breath just a bit as they wonder what’s about to happen. He’s the type of villain that seems to inspire thoughts of mayhem and acts so cruel that you might believe he has no heart at all. But his origins would argue differently since Slade used to be a much different person. He did have a family at one time and while he was still ruthless and quite aggressive he was someone that could have been a good father and husband. But then his son was injured, losing the use of his voice, and in the comics he lost his eye due to a gunshot wound from his wife.

From that point on Slade became the coldblooded mercenary/assassin that everyone knows him as and never really looked back. He’s had his moments when he’s shown that he’s not the type of chaotic evil that villains like the Joker are, but he’s still the kind of deadly that inspires fear and makes people wonder what might happen if anyone crosses him. Many things can be taken from the image above and many people might see it a different way. Some might see it as a silent warning, others as a way of saying hello, or goodbye to a certain point in Oliver’s life, but then others might see it as a warning to both Deathstroke and to Oliver about what it might take to really walk the path that they’re on. The arrow could be a reminder of what happened, a way of saying ‘hello, don’t forget’ or something similar. One action and one image can make a world of difference in any show or movie that people love to watch since the average imagination will come up with a small handful of ways that the image or act can be spun in order to let it sink in and make sense. Even if the explanation has been given it wouldn’t matter since people will believe what they want and think that whoever says different is just trying to throw them off.

The truth is that Deathstroke and Oliver do have a history and that at some point during that history Oliver took Slade’s eye and the two became rather hostile towards each other. The act of finding his mask seemed random and more happenstance than anything, but the message delivered by placing the mask on a pike and stabbing it through the vacant right eye with an arrow is one that many people can take many, many different ways.

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