Joseph William Wilson is the son of Slade Wilson and Adeline Kane Wilson. Joseph's parents met while in service to the United States Army, where Adeline had been Slade's instructor in Guerilla warfare. Sparks ignited immediately between the two, and they quickly fell in love and wed.
As Slade was called into service, Adeline gave birth to a son, Grant. Slade continued on active duty, and volunteered for a medical experiment in resisting truth serums. The experiment had an unforeseen side effect: it gave Slade enhanced strength and heightened reflexes. Shortly after this, Adeline gave birth to a second son, Joseph William Wilson.
Slade soon was discharged from the army. He took up hunting for awhile, but it failed to quench his thirst for the life he once led. To the world, Slade Wilson became a celebrated hunter. Unknown to even his wife and family, Slade secretly became a mercenary known as Deathstroke, the Terminator. Although Slade was gone for weeks a time, he was a good father. He was closest to Grant, who idolized him. But Slade also loved Joseph, who preferred music over fighting and painting over guns.
One one of his assignments, Slade assassinated a Colonel from the country of Quarac. The president from Quarac sent a terrorist known as the Jackal to find Slade, and find out who hired him to kill the Colonel. To gain leverage, the Jackal kidnapped a young Joseph Wilson.
This forced Slade to admit to his Adeline that he was secretly the mercenary known as Deathstroke, the Terminator. Adeline and Deathstroke together confronted the Jackal in an alleyway in Tangiers. Slade refused to give the Jackal the information he requested, because it would violate his professional code of ethics. Slade gambled he could react fast enough to save his son; He saved Joseph's life, but not before one of Jackal's men had begun to slit his throat. Joseph was now mute. Slade always needed to be the best. But now, his own son suffered for his monumental ego.
Adeline, furious at Slade's betrayal and the risking of her son's life - confronted Slade at gunpoint. Only Slade's quick reflexes saved his life, but he lost his right eye due to the gunshot inflicted by his wife. Adeline then divorced Slade and raised her two sons by herself. Grant followed in his father's footsteps and attended military school.
Joseph, however, was quite different from his brother; He was a kind, gentle soul who flourished in the arts. Joseph was both a talented artist and musician. Adeline nurtured this side of Joseph, and he grew up to be a fine young man under Adeline's care.
When Joseph was young, his powers unexpectedly manifested when his young friend was in danger. To save the boy's life, Joseph possessed his body when they locked eyes. Unknown to his parents, Joseph's DNA had been altered due to the biological experimentation that was done to his father. He was gifted with the power to possess others through eye contact. Initially traumatized by the experience, Joseph's powers would lay dormant until his late teens.
Sometime after her divorce from Slade, Adeline established her own organization, Searchers, Inc. As he grew older, Joseph worked closely with his mother, apparently receiving combat training and tactical fighting maneuvers from her. Searchers, Inc. provided espionage services for a number of clients.
On a mission for the U.S. government, Joseph and his mother separated briefly for reconnaissance. Joseph spotted his mother in danger from an assassin she did not see. Joseph wanted to scream, but couldn't. The assassin laughed and prepared to fire at Adeline. Joseph intensely stared at him across the room, desperately wanting to stop him. It was at this moment that his mutant power manifested for the first time since childhood; Joseph felt his body separate and enter into the assassin, controlling the man's motor skills.
Contacting with the Titans
Shortly after, Adeline discovered the Terminator's latest activities involving the Titans. With the help of Terra, Slade had finally fulfilled the H.I.V.E. contract to deliver the Titans into their hands.
Adeline and Joseph surveyed Slade's activities, and approached Nightwing, offering to help rescue the captured Titans. At this time, Joseph first adopted the name Jericho, and fashioned a costume for himself. Nightwing and Jericho successfully freed the kidnapped Titans and brought Slade Wilson to justice. Adeline was quite pleased with herself; It appeared she wanted Joseph to become a member of this team of young adults from the beginning.
It took awhile before the Titans fully trusted Joseph and offered him membership to the team. Joseph was, after all, the Terminator's son. And the Titans had just been betrayed by Terra. Changeling in particular was still hurting from this and convinced himself that Joseph was duplicitous as well. It didn't take too long for Jericho's true colors to show through: he proved himself a loyal friend and teammate. Joseph was a caring and sensitive individual who reached out to anyone in need. He found a sad quality in Raven and sought to ease her troubled spirit. Unfortunately, this would ultimately end in tragedy. When Raven felt Trigon's presence grow within her, Joseph entered her soul, and was immediately thrown into a state of shock. This, however, brought him to the attention of Trigon. Shortly after that, Raven's dark side took over and Trigon returned. The elders of Azarath gathered their strength and souls together; this force proved powerful enough to enter and overcome Trigon.
Unknown to the Titans, however, the souls of Azarath - now tainted by Trigon - needed a vessel to survive. They sought Raven, but she was protected by her soul self. The souls of Azarath were aware of Jericho, and his powers made it easier for the souls to enter him. The souls of Azarath resided in Jericho, but were still quite weak. They would lay dormant, and build up strength as time passed.
In the meantime, Jericho continued to be a valuable asset to the team. Joey befriended Kole, a confused crystal spinner who joined the group for a short period of time. Joey was later crushed when he discovered that Kole had died during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. When the Titans team became fractured after the Crisis, Joey decided to join Searchers, Inc., the worldwide information network owned by his mother, Adeline Kane Wilson. The group claimed to be a detective agency, but once Jericho realized that the methods used by Searchers, Inc. were not always legal, Joey opted out of the company.
As time passed, the souls of Azarath regained their strength and merged with Jericho. The souls now needed powerful vessels for each of them to survive. Now possessed by this force, Jericho sought to acquire superhuman beings as vessels for the souls of Azarath. Jericho also acquired new abilities to help in his mission: a savage and powerful soul self that took the form of a lion and a healing ability that repaired his throat and enabled him to speak.
Jericho found a unique opportunity: He invaded and took over the Wildebeest Society, a petty group of villains made up of former H.I.V.E. operatives. Using them as a front, he abducted current and former Titans to act as vessels for the souls of Azarath. The remaining Titans Nightwing and Troia - along with new allies Arella, Phantasm, Pantha, Red Star and Deathstroke - found the Wildebeest lair and came into conflict with Jericho. During the soul transfer process, Jericho resurfaced briefly, begging his father to kill him. To spare his son any more pain and save the remaining Titans, Slade Wilson was forced to drive a sword through Jericho, seemingly killing him.
Raven was his best friend for a while. They had so many things in common, like their families issues. He couldn't talk but she understood him perfectly. She liked him because she said he was the only one who likes to listen to her. He always cared deeply for her. He protected her while she was manipulated by Eric Forrester. He defeated Eric to save her. He was one of her closest friends.
Years later, Deathstroke discovered the spirit of his son, Jericho, had actually survived and taken refuge deep inside his body. With the help of Wintergreen, Deathstroke attempted to exorcise his son from him, but was quickly overpowered. Jericho murdered Slade's faithful manservant, Wintergreen, and embarked on a hunt for the newly-formed Teen Titans.
Jericho confused the new team when he confronted them as Deathstroke, vowing to prevent kids from becoming costumed adventurers. During the battle, Jericho revealed himself to the Titans and body-jumped from Titan to Titan, until his corrupted spirit was absorbed by Raven. During a battle with Brother Blood, Jericho's damaged spirit was transferred into a computer file by Cyborg.
Deathstroke later hired the meta-human known as Bombshell to infiltrate the Teen Titans and retrieve the Jericho computer disk. Once in the tower, Bombshell stole the Jericho disk, only to have it stolen from her by Raven. Raven successfully brought back Jericho by using one of Brother Blood's resurrection rituals, cleansing him of any evil influence. Bombshell tried to stop her but Cassie and Rose helped her. Once the team located Raven and Jericho, Bombshell was revealed as a the real traitor and apprehended. At this time, Jericho rejoined the Teen Titan and met his sister, Rose, for the first time. Jericho's obtained a new body. The new body's vocal chords were undamaged.
After a battle with Deathstroke's nefarious Titans East team in New York, Jericho was forced to possess the body of Match, Superboy's bizarro clone. Unable to separate from the dangerous and unstable powerhouse, Jericho was forced to take a leave of absence from the Teen Titans.
While Jericho's soul was restored, his psyche was another matter altogether. After years of melding with individuals, many of them deranged, Jericho's mind began to fracture. Under this psychosis, Jericho attempted to assassinate the presidential candidates in a series of suicide bombs. Once the Justice League exposed Jericho and prevented his mad scheme, the once gentle hero planned a bizarre deathtrap for his former friends, the Titans and Teen Titans. He tried to kill all the Titans with a bomb but he failed.
Meanwhile, the mysterious new Vigilante hunted Jericho, intending to kill him for his crimes. After promising Rose Wilson that he would spare Jericho's life, Vigilante stopped the threat without resorting to murder, He cut out both of Jericho's eyes. Unable to make eye contact, this left Joseph Wilson powerless. Tragically, this did nothing to cure Jericho's deep psychosis, leaving the once-hero in a world of utter darkness.
Unbeknownst to all, Jericho's eyes grew back. When the Black Lanterns came for him he was able to posses them. In this way he found Ravager and Deathstroke fighting for their lives against the deceased Grant Wilson, Wintergreen, Adeline Kane, and Wade DeFarage. While they escape he possesses all the Black Lanterns in turn, having them destroy each other. While Ravager searches for her mother, who she believes is alive, Jericho teams up with Deathstroke, who Jericho hopes will be able to help him.
Jericho vanishes for a time, out of sight while Deathstroke runs the Titans…but it turns out it's all for him. Deathstroke, along with Dr. Sivana, has been building a device called the Methuselah that can rejuvenate human tissue in order to heal Jericho's body--which is suffering from massive cellular breakdown. As it turns out, the device not only heals him, but makes his cells self-renewing. After learning of all the crimes his father has committed in order to save his life, Jericho is overcome with guilt. He then possesses Deathstroke and tells him that he intends to destroy the Methuselah as well as end both of their lives. A rift forms between Deathstroke's Titans about whether or not to use the Methuselah to revive their dead loved ones, and then a battle ensues. Jericho and Deathstroke are separated when DJ Molecule attacks them from behind. After the Methuselah is destroyed by Cinder, Deathstroke escapes, and Jericho decides to reform the Titans with Roy Harper.
Jericho planned revenge against his father Slade Wilson for constantly putting their family in danger, Slade at the time was unaware of his sons existence and thought him to be dead. Jericho acquired more power by using Gen-factor to make him stronger than ever. He not only wanted to kill his father, but he wanted to destroy everything Slade had built. Jericho's encounter starts in New 52 Deathstroke where he is battling Slade and Terra and Rose Wilson. Unbeknownst to Slade, Jericho had been telepathically controlling his brother Grant Wilson and and his mother Adeline Wilson to oppose Slade. During the battle, Jericho acquired control of a very powerful meta human named Majestic, though he was finally defeated by his father Slade with a blade aimed through his brother and into him. However at the end of the same issue there is a scene of a worker with glowing green eyes like Jericho's victims had, suggesting Jericho is alive by possessing the man to escape.
Young Joey Wilson has been seen in flashbacks from Deathstroke. In said flashbacks, his original origin is returned, albeit slightly modified.
When eye contact is made, Jericho is able to enter another's body and control their motor functions (except their speech). If the person is unconscious when Jericho enters, he can also speak through them, but retains any speech patterns the person may have (such as an impediment, lisp or accent). Eye contact is not required if the possessee is unconscious.
While Jericho prefers solving things through nonviolent means, but he is an above average fighter, having been trained by his mother, Adeline Kane. He is an accomplished stealth agent.
Jericho communicates with sign language when not possessing someone or when his victim is conscious. If Jericho can use his victim's voice, he will speak with the possessed's speech patterns. Sometimes, when Jericho is entering many different foes in the heat of battle, he will make the "J', sign to let his friends know who he is currently possessing.
While possessing someone he has access to their memories.
Jericho made two appearances in the Teen Titans animated series (Calling All Titans, Titans Together)
In this series he isn't able to talk, however when he "possesses" Cinderblock he is able to talk.
The fact that he is Deathstroke's (Slade in the show) son is never mentioned in any way.
Creators on Jericho
Marv and George on Jericho
It's quite ironic that the demise of such a twisted character as Terra should also mark the debut of such an uncorrupted character as the newest Titan, Jericho. Joseph Wilson, the sole-surviving son of the Terminator, is quite an enchanting character and, as we see in the first Baxter book encounter with Raven and Trigon, one who is selflessly courageous.
George Pérez on creating Jericho: "Then there was Jericho. Marv wanted to introduce a new member to the Titans to replace the departed Kid Flash. However, he had the character's name (an unused character who was to have appeared in the original 1960s Titans series) and the notion that he would be an offspring of the villainous Terminator, but nothing more. After weeks of pounding our heads against the walls, we had all but given up. We couldn't think of anything for Jericho. Then it hit me. Overnight, I came up with the concept, personality, and design for Joseph William Wilson, the newest Teen Titan. Joseph, or Jericho, was the first Titan I ever designed solely and as such, he was more of an artist's character than a writer's character. By making him mute (and forbidding poor Marv the use of thought balloons for the character), I was forced to convey Jericho's personality through body language and facial expressions. Such subtle nuances would have been unthinkable for me when I first started the series in 1980, but Marv was so confident in my improved abilities that he accepted my version of Jericho, who was a lot tougher for him to write. "
"Partially because he is mute, he has developed the ability. and the actual interest, to listen to people," Wolfman says. "He is one of those types who, because of the kind of nature he has a very easy, caring nature- people unload their troubles to him. There are people like that, and he's one of them. The fact that he's a listener, since he can't talk, makes hint a very good person for people to care about. Raven finds that she is drawn to hint, because he's one of the few people who has spent most of his life listening to people, as oppose to just hearing what they say. He likes people.
Joseph has the soul of an artist, a warm, loving, caring He does not harbor grudges, nor is he someone who enjoys the concept of fighting (though he will when he has to). He's someone who's inspired by a loving soul more than by anything else. He paints, is a musician, is into the Arts. He's very bright, and not at all naive. He knows what's going on; he's just a person who very much believes that there can he good in people, sees good when there is, and does not necessarily hate people because they are not good. He knows the score, he just chooses to walk by himself in many ways, though he is with the Titans."
Jericho Without George Pérez
"Jericho, on she other hand, is a character I created, and Marv was having a hard time handling the character when I wasn't there. He was an artist's character, designed for one specific artist: me. Jericho was initially being considered as an ouster from the Titans, but now that I've come back and have some ideas for Jericho, Marv is in love with the character again. I take the burden of Joey, since it is an artist's character. He doesn't have to do as much explaining because I take care of that visually."
Joey the ladys man
George Pérez talks about developing Jericho: "We're going to begin dealing with Joey as an artist. We're taking him beyond the Arts that we've shown him doing already. He also takes ballet training and is a dancer. He also has a very, very healthy libido. Let's face is, if he's as a ballet practice or an art evens or a Renaissance Faire, when he makes eye contact with a girl, he really makes eye contact. (Laughs) For that one brief instant, they've shared an existence. What a turn-on! This guy has got it made."
"He's not a nasty person, nor a love'em-and-leave'em type. He makes it the girls' choice, but he's always straight ahead with them. He enjoys sex. He enjoys loving women. If they want that type of lifestyle, he's willing so give is so them, and if not, he won't desert them. He'll still be their friend, and a good friend as that."
"He does have a very healthy sexual appetite though. The one thing I would like so show, if we go in that direction with him, is that I'd like to do one scene in which he's carrying a condom in his wallet. I don't want so call attention to is, just establish it. If people object to it, to hell with them, because this is being responsible. If he's going so be promiscuous, he'd better have the responsibilities involved with that. I don't believe that a super-hero's sexual desires make them any more or less a hero, bus Joey's feeling of responsibility to those he's involved with does make him a hero. To me, if he's going to do that, then he had better be responsible.”
Titans Editor Jonathan Peterson on The Death of Jericho [from The Titans Companion, 2005]
TTC: The storyline featured the deaths of a few members of the team. How did you decide who would be on the chopping block?
JP: Now at the one point, we had to decide who lives, who dies, as you asked. And basically...what we soon realized was "Well, we DO like these characters...we hate to see anyone go." I mean, running down the list, NIGHTWING had to stay. I mean, that was a given. He was the leader, he was the star (to me)...plus, unbeknownst to Marv, in my back pocket I had plans for Nightwing. I just wasn't ready to spring them on him yet.
Donna Troy... okay, another one I wanted to see stay. Though I was mad Marv had married her off. I wanted her hubbie [Terry Long] to go. Personally, I thought the hubbie was a whiner. He needed to be upgraded or tossed out.
TTC: No argument here!
JP: yeah, so he was always on the block [laughs]. Month to month we kept running a vote saying "Should we kill him now? He's really annoying me this month!"
Victor...well, I wanted Cyborg to stay. Good character, and Tom liked him...but wanted to redo the costume. Which I agreed with. I thought a change was in order there. The good thing about a mechanical guy: he always needs new parts. Perfect reason for a perpetual redesign till you find one you like. [laughs]
Okay, then...dang! Who am I leaving out? Oh! Well, there was Kory. Had to stay...was part of my top secret Nightwing plan. Still hadn't told Marv about that one yet. I was still putting the pieces together. [laughs]
And then there was Joey.
TTC: Yes, Jericho...
JP: Jericho we decided was sort of expendable. So if Jericho was to die, I think Marv was the one that decided to make it symmetrical. Let’s have Deathstroke be the one to do it; then we have the whole pathos of Deathstroke killing his own son. I mean, it was just too perfect. So by process of elimination, we all agreed he could go. Especially since, much like Terry Long, I thought Jericho was a bit too soft-edged. I mean, I know he has his fans and all, I just wasn’t one of them. [laughs]
Then we thought, “Well, why would he kill him? Let’s bring it back to Raven and Trigon. Let’s have him be possessed,” and someone else tossed out the idea of having a big moment where suddenly he can talk. That will freak people out! [But] we couldn’t just have him show up talking. [Since] we liked the Wildebeests and wanted to bring them back, we decided to make Jericho the leader of the Wildebeests. Then we brainstormed the notion that as part of their experiments, they end up creating an actual Wildebeest! So I get my Wildebeest!
Marv Wolfman on The Death of Jericho [from The Titans Companion, 2005]
TTC: You’ve mentioned that Jericho was mainly George’s idea, but as far back as the second issue when you introduced the Ravager, you mentioned that he had a brother.
MW: I did not have any idea of who that brother would be. I knew that he would come in eventually, but George came up with the idea of him being a mute, and I don’t remember who came up with the powers, or [if] we both did, but the whole idea of this mute character [was George’s]. He wanted to really make it difficult and would not let me use thought balloons. That was part of it. Obviously, I could’ve, but he didn’t want that because you should only [just] get through it, and I totally understood and agreed with him. The beauty of the relationship with George and myself was we were very much equal. We didn’t mind saying what we honestly felt, and the other person would almost always go along with it. So George really wanted to tax himself by creating a character that had to express himself through body language. Obviously, I gave him the name because I used the name from the old comic, but the feel of the character, the concept of the power of the muteness, the body language and the personality came from George.
TTC: What do you think Jericho brought to the team in terms of the group dynamic?
MW: This is going to sound very strange, but a quietness, and I don’t mean that because he couldn’t talk. He was one hundred percent comfortable in his own body. He had a quiet wisdom, and a very sweet personality. I think he brought an innocence that came out of the weirdest background in the universe, having been the son of the Terminator and Addie, and with his brother being crazy, too, yet he somehow escaped and became this really angelic type character.
TTC: That was the storyline in which Jericho died. Do you regret killing him now?
MW: Oh, it was the stupidest thing in the world. That whole storyline was stupid. What happened with him? Utterly a mistake.
TTC: Now that you’ve got some perspective on that decision, what do you chalk it up to?
MW: We were trying to shake up the book. I could tell you exactly what was happening. We were trying to shake up the book in some fashion, and we made a wrong choice. A disastrously wrong choice.
TTC: Would you agree with the statement that the death of Jericho made Deathstroke a better character?
MW: No, because it was a mistake to do.
TTC: But didn’t it give Deathstroke more depth?
MW: It did that, but we could have accomplished that differently. It was wrong. It was just wrong. I don’t want to justify it because something else may have gotten stronger, or weaker, or whatever. It was a mistake, pure and simple. Never should have happened. Easily can get out of it. Later on, I knew exactly how, and I tried to pitch the idea to DC, but they weren’t interested. I know it’s different from the way that Geoff Johns got out of it, though I don’t read the Titans. I’ve been told the story, [laughs] so I’m very familiar with it.
Marv Discusses How Jericho Could be Brought Back
"The only major decision I made by myself (no editor forcing the idea on me) that was completely stupid. Others were debatable and maybe wrong, but that one was stupid. I had within the last few years submitted an idea to correct this but it wasn't picked up, sadly. So, for you readers, ASSUME that since Jericho's personality changed drastically after he disappeared and came back that it wasn't the real Jericho. Remember, the Wildebeest storyline was all about clones and such. The real Jericho is therefore still around, still nice and not screwed up by a writer (me) who had a case of Brain fog.”