Deadpool vs. Deathstroke — The Differences and Similarities Between These Comic Book Assassins

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Jan. 9 2023, Published 2:33 p.m. ET

(l-r) Deadpool and Deathstroke as they appear in films
Source: 20th Century Pictures; Warner Bros.

Given the vast amount of superhero and supervillain history in both Marvel and DC Comics respectively, there's bound to be some overlap between the two franchises. Case in point, DC's Deathstroke and Marvel's Deadpool. The two of them are highly trained assassins with sinister-looking masks who have a penchant for guns and swords, and the average person could easily mistake one for the other if they didn't know what to look for. What are the major differences between them?

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Fair warning, this guide will dive deeper than what's currently streaming. While Deadpool has two films under his belt and a third one on the way, Deathstroke has only appeared once in the DCEU film franchise in a post-credits scene for 2017's Justice League. Worse still, the current state of the DCEU does not guarantee the character's continued existence.

Instead, this comparison will dive into the characters' comic book histories to find similarities and differences between them.

Deathstroke vs. Deadpool
Source: Screw Attack

The 'DEATH BATTLE' series depicts a fight between Deathstroke and Deadpool

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What are the biggest differences between Deathstroke and Deadpool?

In the DC corner of the ring, we have Deathstroke (née Slade Wilson). He made his first appearance in an issue of The New Teen Titans in 1960. He is an expert assassin and unparalleled tactician and is able to take on several formidable opponents using a variety of weapons and hand to hand combat. He is typically depicted as one of the most dangerous assassins in the DC universe and often butts heads with the likes of Batman, Dick Grayson/Robin, and Green Arrow.

And in the Marvel corner, there's Deadpool (née Wade Wilson), who debuted in 1991. This mentally imbalanced anti-hero is a deadly mercenary who excels at all types of combat and uses teleportation gadgets to trip up his foes. He also has the mutant ability to heal from all wounds, save for his incurable disfigured skin.

Aside from his violent combat skills, Deadpool is best known for his irreverent fourth-wall-breaking humor and is often quick with an in-joke about being in a comic or movie.

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Despite being from two separate franchises, Slade Wilson and Wade Wilson share a shocking number of similarities. For one, they're both experts assassins with similar skill sets in swordplay and gunplay. They even both have the power of accelerated healing.

Their costumes also bear a striking resemblance to each other. Both wear skin-tight muscle suits and distinct masks that obscure their entire faces.

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However, there are plenty of differences between the two of them. For one, Deathstroke is blue and orange and Deadpool is red and black, so it's relatively easy to tell them apart from there. Second, and perhaps most important, is their sense of humor. For Deathstroke, he has none. As a deeply traumatized U.S. war veteran, Deathstroke is all business. He works under a strict ethical code, which effectively provides an excuse for him to kill as he sees fit.

Meanwhile, Deadpool isn't called the "merc with a mouth" for nothing. Practically everything that comes out of his mouth is some sort of joke built as an attempt to make light of most situations. If you're confused between both of them and one of them cracks a joke, that one's definitely Deadpool.

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The "Deathstroke vs. Deadpool" debate has existed for a while. The feud explained.

With Deathstroke having appeared long before Deadpool debuted, many comic book fans view Deadpool as a parody or a ripoff of Deathstroke. Given their similarities, it wouldn't be difficult to make that assumption.

But according to a report by Movieweb, Deadpool co-creators Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza designed the character as an antithesis to the character, not just as a copy.

Deadpool's rumored status as a parody of Deathstroke may have some weight to it, but both characters have since been established as their own. Not to mention, Deadpool's status as a parody has essentially become his claim to fame as he continues breaking the fourth wall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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