Batman is perhaps one of the most iconic heroes in the DC universe. Known for his astonishing crime fighting ability, great physical strength and genius level intellect, the Dark Knight Detective is one of the most formidable fighters and tacticians in the DC Universe.
Equally capable but certainly more ruthless is Deathstroke, aka Slade Wilson. Slade Wilson’s reputation as one of the most effective assassins to ever appear in print is well founded and Slade is certainly someone you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of.
Whilst they are both great fighters and tacticians in their own right, who would win in a fight between the Batman and Deathstroke?
This piece will answer that questions by examining the strengths and weaknesses of both and answering whether one could easily and decisively defeat the other.
Batman: His Strengths
Batman is one of the most iconic characters to have ever appeared in DC comics and there is a reason for that. Aside from his striking and memorable costume, Batman is the best at what he does.
Alongside his obvious fighting ability is his incredible brain which he continually utilises to fight crime. This alongside his vast wealth and innate ability to locate an opponent’s weakness means that he is someone who cannot be easily beaten.
However, what exactly are his strengths? Whilst there are many and certainly too many to list here are the most obvious one:
Physical prowess – Whilst Batman may not be the strongest character in the DC universe due to him being a mere mortal, he does still posses an incredible physical strength.
Bruce Wayne is not a person to be messed with thanks to his decade spent training himself with the best martial artists, fighters and adventures that the world has to offer even before he became Batman.
After becoming Batman however Bruce has prevailed over every physical pain and suffering to bring himself to the height of fitness. For goodness’ sake, this is a man whose back was broken by the villain Bane and yet was still able to live to fight another day!
Whilst Deathstroke is himself physically fit, Batman’s incredible strength must certainly be a factor in who would win in a fight.
Genius Intellect – Batman is by far and away one of the smartest members of the Justice League and his ability to comprehend any situation and mastermind a way out of it has stood him in good stead over his eighty odd years of existence in comics.
Batman’s preparedness for any situation is key to his ability to outthink and outsmart his opponents and it is certain that he is smarter than Slade. This isn’t to say Slade is stupid; he’s a master tactician in his own right but when it comes to brains the Bat would most certainly beat him.
Whilst intelligence might not be the most significant factor in a fight between the two it certainly would give Batman an edge. If you can outthink your opponent, then there is a good chance you can beat them physically as well.
An array of gadgets – Batman is well known for having as many gadgets as possible. From the Bat Mobile to the Bat arrange to survival suits designed to take on the world’s greatest heroes, the Dark Knight Detective certainly knows how to be prepared.
Batman’s array of gadgets would certainly put him at an advantage in any fight with Deathstroke as Batman knows how and when to use his amazing utility belt to get himself out of trouble.
Of course, this might not be the edge that you might think. Deathstroke himself is not averse to the odd gadget so they could be evenly matched on being able to use their gadgets effectively.
However, Batman’s arsenal of toys is certainly something he could rely on in a fight with Slade.
Money – Bruce Wayne is a billionaire and as a billionaire he can buy a heck of a lot of things.
Whilst this might not seem to an inherent advantage in a fight, it in fact could be – if Batman knows that Slade is coming for him a massive stack of cash could prove useful in helping Bruce to buy whatever he needs to fight off his opponent.
After all, Slade can’t compete with the Wayne Corporation’s wealth and so would only have finite resources meaning he’d not have the access to the same kind of equipment Batman would if the two were to fight one another.
Deathstroke: His Strengths
Slade Wilson is one of the best fighters in the DC universe. His trademark swords have often been used to deadly effect against whoever he’s been paid to kill and his tactical brilliance means he can manipulate friend or foe into whatever position he wants for them.
This combined with a unique physical strength and assassin’s eye for detail means he is more than a match for The Batman.
Weapons Mastery – Whilst Slade Wilson is most famous for using his twin katana swords, his is adept at using any weapon. Deathstroke can be dangerous regardless of the situation but if he has a weapon in his hands then he is even more formidable.
Whilst Batman similar has a array of gadgets, nobody can beat Slade for his ability to easily move from one weapon to another in quick succession. If there is a way Deathstroke could win a fight against The Batman it would be using his various weapons.
Healing Factor – Remarkably, Wilson has a healing factor which allows him to heal much faster than the ordinary human.
Given to him whilst in the army, Deathstroke’s ability to quickly and effectively recover from any injury would certainly give him an advantage in a fight with Batman simply because whilst it might take time for Batman to recover from a particular attack, Deathstroke wouldn’t meaning he could easily go in for a killer shot.
Deathstroke’s healing factor certainly could turn the battle in his favour.
Brilliant Tactician – Batman is indisputably an arch strategist, but this is matched by Deathstroke.
As the Teen Titans have found out to their cost in the past, Deathstroke knows exactly how the manipulate his opponent and level the playing field so that he can even defeat individuals with super powers.
Deathstroke’s army training and natural inclination for manipulation would certainly be a factor in any battle with the Batman and one that could tip it in Deathstroke’s favour – if Deathstroke were to use some of his skills to trick or distract The Dark Knight Detective he may be able to overpower Batman and win the fight between them.
Batman: His Weaknesses
Whilst it might seem impossible to think so, Batman does have weaknesses. Whilst few villains have utilised them to their benefit, this doesn’t mean that Deathstroke wouldn’t be able capitalise on them during a fight and use them to his advantage in order to beat Batman.
It might seem unlikely, but others have beaten Batman in the past so Deathstroke, if he focussed on one of Batman’s weaknesses might be able to ensure his defeat.
His family – Whilst Batman might often seem like the stereotypical loner, he in fact has one of the largest supporting casts of any mainstream character in DC comics.
Alongside his surrogate father and butler Alfred there have been a cavalcade of Robins and Batgirls, as well as his close friend Commissioner Gordon and others.
This means that an attack on a member of the Bat Family might have some impact on Bruce himself and either cause him to lose focus or to give up entirely.
This could be crucial in swaying the fight in Deathstroke’s favour as a weakened Batman, due to an attack on the Bat Family, might not be able to defeat Deathstroke in a pitched battle.
Whilst Batman’s family give him a great deal of support, they can also be a source of vulnerability for the Caped Crusader as has been seen in the past.
His Compassion – Whilst it might be easy to imagine that Batman isn’t the most compassionate hero, you’d be wrong.
Batman has often been compassionate to his enemies and seen their inner good – in particular his former friend and District Attorney Harvey Dent aka Two Face – and this compassion has been abused by his enemies in the past.
Bruce Wayne’s compassion was used against him during the Batman: Venom storyline to brutal effect and Deathstroke, the arch manipulator, could easily do this in a fight with Bruce.
By playing upon his compassion Deathstroke could manipulate Batman into a situation in which he is unable to fight back against Deathstroke and consequently lose any fight.
He’s Only Human Afterall – Batman is often seen as more than a man and in many ways he is. However, physically he is still a human being, and he does have limits. No matter how hard he presses himself, Bruce Wayne is still flesh and blood and he has points when he needs a Bat Nap.
Weakening Batman through exhaustion was key to Bane’s plan in the Knightfall arc as he knew that he could only defeat Batman in a weakened state.
Exhausting the Dark Knight, focussing on the fact he is human could be key to Deathstroke winning in a fight between the two, particularly given Deathstroke’s healing factor.
Batman is the peak of human physical bravery and endurance but even he has his breaking points and were Deathstroke able to engineer a situation in which Batman were too tired to properly fight back there is more than a good chance Deathstroke would win any ensuing conflict between the two.
His Money – As mentioned before, Bruce Wayne is very rich, and this has helped to fund his war on crime as The Batman. However, whilst his money is a strength it is also a potential weakness.
As have been illustrated in recent comic books, if Batman were to lose access to his wealth, then he is in serious trouble.
Without his money Bruce may not be able to have enough equipment to continue his war on crime and could therefore be unprepared for a well-armed assault on Gotham by Deathstroke.
Whilst Deathstroke himself isn’t rich he knows where he can get money and as such could use one of his wealthy backers to outmatch Batman if Bruce were to suddenly lose his wealth. This could easily see the battle ending in Deathstroke’s favour.
Deathstroke: His Weaknesses
Whilst Deathstroke is a master strategist and fighter he does have his weaknesses. Batman knows exactly how to focus on his villain’s weaknesses and as such he could easily utilise one of Deathstroke’s to his advantage to ensure that the fight ends quickly and in his favour.
His Eye – Prior to gaining his healing factor, Deathstroke lost his eye and as a result wears a patch over it.
The fact that this is a weak spot has been utilised by his enemies in the past and Batman could certainly use it to his advantage; whether by forcing Deathstroke to protect it and leave another part of himself open or to go directly for the eye, Batman would know that this was a weakness that could be a good opportunity to end the fight.
His Anger – Deathstroke may be a professional, but he is an angry one. His anger has been used against him time and time again and the fact he cannot control it is one of his greatest weaknesses.
Whether by taunting him or by frustrating him, Batman would know that Deathstroke’s anger could easily make him lose concentration and make a mistake. This would give Batman an opening to finish the fight effectively and easily.
His Children – Whilst Wilson is distant (to put it mildly) to his children, they have been a source of weakness in the past, leading him into situations that he was unable to win.
Whilst Batman would not want to try this as a first tactic (given his own Bat Family) it is possible that using Slade’s children against him could force Wilson to either make a mistake or give up the fight entirely in The Caped Crusader’s favour.
Whilst Deathstroke has certain advantages over Batman, like his healing factor, he is easily able to lose control. Batman doesn’t lose control; his restraint is one of the reasons why he is such a great super hero.
This combined with Bruce’s wealth and years of training fighting means that even though Deathstroke is a great assassin, he would not be able to take out the Dark Knight.
Batman is one of the trinity of DC’s premier heroes for a reason and Slade Wilson certainly wouldn’t be able to knock him off his perch no matter what he did.