Art by George Pérez.
|First appearance||as Joseph Wilson:
Tales of the Teen Titans #43 (June 1984)
Tales of the Teen Titans #44 (July 1984)
|Created by||Marv Wolfman
|Alter ego||Joseph William Wilson|
|Team affiliations||Teen Titans
Jericho (real name Joseph William Wilson) is a fictional character who appears in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was originally a superhero and member of the Teen Titans during the The New Teen Titans period by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. Since the early 1990s, Jericho has gone through periods of both sanity and insanity.
Jericho was created in the early 1980s, a few years after Marv Wolfman and George Pérez relaunched the Teen Titans series and turned it into a major hit for DC Comics. At the time, Wolfman and Pérez were interested in distancing the team from the Justice League, many of whose members had been mentors to the Titans. This meant introducing new characters such as the mystical Raven and the technological Cyborg, as well as changing some of the existing characters, such as having Dick Grayson trade in his identity as Robin in favor of Nightwing. Jericho was part of this process of establishing the team as its own creature rather than, in Pérez' words, a "Justice Little League". Marv Wolfman had decided on the name, which he got from an unused character from the previous Titans series, and with the idea of Jericho being the son of Deathstroke the Terminator, then the primary villain in the Titans series, but could not think of any other aspects of the character. George Pérez worked out the design, powers, and personality of Jericho and also suggested making the character mute. In something of a departure, he also insisted that Jericho's emotions be conveyed entirely through visuals, without the use of thought balloons. Pérez claims that Jericho is the first character which he created solely by himself.
Fictional character biography
Joseph was the youngest son of Slade Wilson (Deathstroke the Terminator). He was a musical prodigy. When he was a child, he was held hostage by the terrorist Jackal in an effort to obtain information from his father. Deathstroke refused to cooperate with Jackal, citing a violation of his professional code of ethics. Deathstroke managed to rescue his son, but not before one of Jackal's men cut his throat. As a result, Joseph was rendered mute.
Following the incident, Joseph's mother Adeline divorced Slade (she had previously tried to kill him, but only succeeded in blinding him in one eye) and took Joseph and his older brother Grant with her. At some point, Joseph learned to communicate through sign language (identified in Action Comics #584 as American Sign Language). In his late teens, Joey discovered that he possessed the metahuman power to take possession of any humanoid being by making eye contact with it, a result of biological experimentation done on his father years before. He used it to save his mother from an assassin.
Sometime later (in a storyline called "The Judas Contract"), Adeline and Joseph discovered that Deathstroke had accepted a contract on the Teen Titans. They[clarification needed] approached Dick Grayson to help him rescue the Titans, with Joseph adopting the identity of Jericho. The rescue mission was a success, and Jericho subsequently joined the team, but the Titans were initially wary of him because of his relationship to Deathstroke, and the betrayal of Terra.
Jericho was a loyal Titan for many years. Shortly after he joined the Titans, another new member, Kole, joined. Jericho immediately developed a bond with her.
Unbeknownest to anyone, Jericho was possessed by the souls of Azarath, tainted by the essence of the demon Trigon, Raven's father. Unable to possess Raven herself, the souls entered Jericho. They were weak at first, but gained strength with time and eventually merged with him.
Jericho laid dormant within his own mind while the souls of Azarath began searching for new bodies. The souls needed individual vessels to survive and sought to acquire superhuman ones, taking over the Wildebeest Society and using them to abduct current and former Titans to act as vessels. Jericho gained new powers: a powerful lion soul-self and a healing ability that repaired his throat and allowed him to speak again.
In the "Titans Hunt" storyline, Nightwing and Troia, accompanied by some new allies, found and confronted him. During the battle, the real Jericho resurfaced and begged his father to kill him. There was no help for him and, to spare his son any more suffering, Deathstroke killed him. A statue of Jericho was later erected in the Titans Tower memorial in San Francisco.
Several years later, it was revealed that Jericho's spirit had survived by jumping inside his father right before he was killed. He had lain dormant until hearing that his friend Donna Troy had been killed in battle. Taking control of his father's body, he sought out the latest group of Titans; hoping to convince them that children shouldn't be superheroes and wanting to spare them his fate. He also killed his father's closest friend, Wintergreen, and mounted the man's head on a wall.
During the combat, he jumped from body to body until Raven absorbed him. During a battle with Brother Blood, she repelled him when she unintentionally absorbed her teammates Deathstroke and Rose into her soul-self. Jericho managed to use the bodies of Wonder Girl and Superboy against the team, but when he tried to enter Cyborg, Cyborg used his cybernetic eye to transfer Jericho's spirit to a computer file, now stored in Titans Tower. Beast Boy says that they check on Jericho every day.
After the "One Year Later" jump following the events of Infinite Crisis, Raven took the disk with Jericho's essence and, using the same ritual the Church of Brother Blood previously employed to raise her from the dead, resurrected Jericho in an new body, missing the throat scars from his childhood injury. However, for reasons never explained, despite the fact he no longer had the physical damage of his old body, Joey remained unable to speak, and continued to use sign language to communicate. Jericho joined the latest incarnation of the team, taking the opportunity to bond with his half-sister Rose, who was the new Ravager. After possessing the body of Superboy's dangerous clone Match, Jericho moved to S.T.A.R. Labs until a way was found to control Match.
Later Jericho, still trapped in Match's body, seemingly escaped from S.T.A.R. Labs in visible distress and asking for his friends' help. The Titans managed to help him escape Match's body, but it soon became apparent how much the experience had twisted Jericho's mind, leaving him bent on the Titans' destruction.
Jericho briefly escaped the Titans to plague the Presidential Election of 2008 of the main DC Universe, even going so far as to use Green Lantern's body to fight the Justice League upon being discovered. The will-based powers of Hal prove to be his undoing, as Hal was able to push Jericho out of his body. Jericho was brought to the JLA Satellite for safe-keeping. Mento mindprobed Jericho, discovering that he was suffering from a particular and severe form of dissociative identity disorder, caused by years of reckless body-hopping. Unable to purge his mind of the lingering echoes of the personality he had to submerge when taking possession of an individual, he had his mind overruled by the most evil and strong willed patterns, causing him to take on a criminal, ruthless personality opposed to his former gentle self. The JLA decides to send him back to S.T.A.R. Labs, hoping for a cure.
Jericho managed to escape the JLA, and returned to the Titans, now inhabiting Nightwing's body. The JLA arrived to reclaim him, and he started jumping into the bodies of whoever tried to capture him. This backfired when Jericho jumped into Superman's body. Although stronger than he once was, Jericho found himself unable to control Superman's alien body. Jericho briefly managed to gain control of himself over the evil impulses, and seemingly vanished into nothingness.
Jericho later returns, having entered Cyborg's body through his mechanical eye, using an "imprint" left over from the last time. He used Titans Tower's defenses to try to kill the Teen Titans, but their new member Static used his electrical powers to short out the Tower's systems, creating feedback that knocked Jericho out of Cyborg. Jericho escaped once more and, spurred on by the multiple personalities inside him (particularly that of his father), sets into motion a "Deathtrap" scenario. Jericho unsuccessfully attempted to murder both the Teen Titans and the Titans (his former teammates), who eventually apprehend him. While in police custody, he was confronted by the new Vigilante. Determined to end the villain's rampage permanently (but having promised Rose Wilson that he would not kill him), Vigilante gouged out both of his eyes, rendering him unable to use his possession abilities. The trauma of the incident caused Jericho to revert to his true personality, but he was left haunted by the various personalities in his mind.
In a Teen Titans tie-in to the Blackest Night crossover, Jericho is seen in possession of Grant's body, now a member of the undead Black Lantern Corps, saving Rose from the attack of Adeline, Wintergreen, and Wade Defarge. Jericho revealed to Rose that his eyes grew back after Vigilante's attack, and that he used his power to enter Grant's body when he attempted to kill him. Jericho then entered his mother's body, tricking the Black Lanterns into destroying each other. In the aftermath, Jericho reconciled with his father, reasoning that Deathstroke would be the only one who could kill him if he were ever to succumb to the murderous personalities inside his mind.
Deathstroke hired Doctor Sivana and Doctor Impossible to create a diabolical invention with a healing factor called the "Methuselah Device" to save Jericho who was dying from leprosy. Once Jericho is placed in the machine, they activate the Methuselah, which restores Jericho's body. Deathstroke offers its abilities to all of the Titans, promising to restore their deceased loved ones as payment for their services. Some Titans accept, but other Titans refuse and the team fights. Deathstroke walks away with his son, but Jericho possessed him, disgusted at what his father did to achieve his restoration. He intends to destroy first the Methuselah Device, then himself and Deathstroke. While the Titans fight over the Methuselah, its power source, a metahuman named DJ Molecule, is released. DJ Molecule blasts Deathstroke, knocking Jericho out of his body. Jericho is then slashed by Cheshire. When Cinder sacrifices herself to destroy the Methuselah, Jericho is carried out by Arsenal. Arsenal and Jericho then decide to form a new team of Titans, to restore the legacy that Deathstroke damaged.
The New 52
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), two versions of Jericho were presented.
The first version appeared as an antagonist in Rob Liefeld's Deathstroke vol. 2. He and his mother were believed to have died when North Koreans attacked their home. Slade Wilson (now calling himself Deathstroke) had made many enemies worldwide and had repeatedly placed his family in the crosshairs. Jericho at some point exposed himself to the Gen-factor which gave him his powers. Now a man in his early 20s, Jericho has plans to destroy his father's life that he had built for himself with the help of his mother and brother. However, it was eventually revealed that Jericho had taken control of his own mother and brother and forced them to hate Deathstroke. Joseph was apparently killed along with his brother until, a later scene of a worker with glowing green eyes hinted at Joseph possessing a man to save himself and escape.
The second version appears in Deathstroke vol. 3, which erases the previous volume from continuity. Due to his enormous powers, Jericho was captured by his own grandfather, Nathaniel Wilson. Under the alias of Odysseus, he wanted to siphoned Joe's metahuman power to become practically invincible. Joe was eventually saved by his father and sister, but the ordeal left Joe with problems controlling his powers, and currently seeks solitude while trying to run from Odysseus.
Powers and abilities
Jericho can possess a person after making eye contact with them; his body turns insubstantial and enters the subject. While he is in possession, Jericho has access to all of that host's powers (physical, mental, and magical), and is also able to tap into their memories. Jericho's victims stay conscious and may even express themselves vocally, but they are not able to control the actions of their bodies as directed by Jericho. If the person is unconscious, Jericho can use their voice to speak, albeit with their accent and . only using the words they know. Jericho sometimes uses the American manual alphabet letter "J" as his Sign name in order to signal to his allies that he has taken possession of a person.
He is skilled in hand-to-hand combat and able to hold his own against his father.
Jericho's power depends on eye contact with living beings; if he is blinded, or the being he attempts to possess is not a natural creature, his power fails. In this way, he was tricked by his teammate Cyborg during a training exercise, when the latter closed his natural eye and Jericho failed to take possession by attempting to contact his artificial eye. Jericho has since overcome this limitation and was able to control Cyborg through his electronic eye. Jericho has also shown the ability to regrow his gouged out eyeballs; this feat apparently came with the price of a still impaired vision, but the return of his possession ability in its full capacity.
When possessed by the spirits of Azarath, Jericho had a powerful lion soul self and a healing ability.
In other media
- Jericho appears in the Teen Titans animated series. His relation to Deathstroke (known simply as Slade on the show) is never mentioned. In "Calling All Titans", he meets Beast Boy and becomes an honorary Teen Titan and has to fight off both Fang and Private H.I.V.E.. In "Titans Together", Jericho is one of four heroes who endured an attack from the Brotherhood of Evil and rallied under Beast Boy to launch a final assault against the Brotherhood. Like his early comic persona, Jericho can possess any being he can make eye contact with and is mute. But is able to speak while in the body of Cinderblock (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker), though this is purely due to the fact that Cinderblock has functional vocal cords. However, his power was useless when Gizmo put a bag over his head, unable to make eye contact with anyone. He was saved when reinforcements arrived with Cyborg, Starfire and Raven.
- Jericho is alluded in the Arrow TV series. In Season 1's "The Odyssey", he is referenced when Slade Wilson mentions that Billy Wintergreen is the godfather of his son Joe. In Season 2's "Tremors", Oliver Queen tries to calm Slade's Mirakuru-induced madness by focusing Slade on his son which ultimately works. It was revealed in the tie-in novel Arrow: Vengeance that Slade returned to Australia, moving back in with his ex-wife Adie and his son Joe. When Slade's ASIS boss Wade DeForge learned Slade had killed Wintergreen, Wade attempted to apprehend Slade using ASIS forces. Adie was killed in the firefight that developed. Slade shot DeForge four times, but the bullets passed through his chest and killed Joe standing over his mother's body. In "The Promise" when Slade is 'socializing' with Oliver and Moira she asks if he has any children to which Slade replies no, earning a disgusted look from Oliver.
When Marv Wolfman and George Pérez were creating the character, they toyed around with the idea of making Joseph gay. Pérez had this to say: "While Marv and I did discuss the possibility of Joseph Wilson being gay, Marv decided that it was too much of a stereotype to have the sensitive, artistic, and wide-eyed character with arguably effeminate features be also homosexual". Joseph has had romantic connections with Raven and Kole.
- Pérez, George (June 1991). "Foreword". The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. DC Comics. ISBN 978-0-930289-34-8.
- Teen Titans vol. 3, #1-6: "A Kid's Game" (September 2003 – February 2004)
- Teen Titans vol. 3, #4: "A Kid's Game" (December 2003)
- Teen Titans vol. 3, #12: "Family Lost" (August 2004)
- Teen Titans vol. 3, #40: "Titans Around the World, Part 3" (December 2006)
- Teen Titans vol. 3, #41: "Titans Around the World, Part 4" (January 2007)
- Teen Titans vol. 3, #46: "Titans East, Part 4" (June 2007)
- Titans #6
- Titans #7
- DC Universe: Decisions #3
- DC Universe: Decisions #4
- Titans #10
- Teen Titans Annual #1
- Titans #12
- Vigilante vol. 2, #6 (July 2009)
- Teen Titans vol. 3, #77 (November 2009)
- Teen Titans vol. 3, #78 (December 2009)
- Titans Annual 2011 (July 2011)
- Titans vol. 2, #37 (July 2011)
- Titans vol. 2, #38 (August 2011)
- Gay League - Jericho