Most Deadshot comics book fans know Deadshot as an expert marksman and an insanely dangerous assassin. But he is also a character who has taken the role of both a villain and antihero over his years in comics. One of the most exciting things about Deadshot is his back and forth transition between being a villain and a hero.
DC, along with creators David Reed and Lou Schwartz, first introduced Deadshot in Batman Issue 59 in 1950. In his first appearance, he was a wealthy and incredibly gifted marksman who suddenly takes up crime-fighting while Batman and Robin are away on vacation.
After stopping a robbery with one of his trademark trick shots, Deadshot introduced himself to the police and even the mayor. He told them that he’s just looking to put his talent to good use and he chose the vigilante method only because the metal plate in his leg made it impossible for him to be a police officer. Deadshot promised that he will never shoot to kill and the mayor gives him his approval to become Batman’s successor as Gotham’s new crime-fighting vigilante. Batman was shocked when he returned to find the bat-signal replaced with a bull’s eye. He quickly discovered what happened and who replaced them while he was away.
After being introduced to Deadshot, Batman and Robin decided to work with him. During the first assignment, Batman noticed that Deadshot’s leg doesn’t set off a metal detector. Batman began to investigate his new partner and to be the world’s greatest detective. He managed to discover that Deadshot’s real name is Floyd Lawton. While spying on Lawton at his mansion, Batman overheard him confessing to his Butler his actual plan to kill him and Robin and take over Gotham as a crime lord. Long story short, Batman stopped him, and Deadshot ended up being put in a maximum-security prison.
He remained there until 1977. When in the Detective Comics 474, Deadshot broke out of prison by stealing a laser that the penguin had smuggled in. In this issue, we learned that for apparent reasons, Lawton had developed a pretty severe dislike for Batman during his time in prison and vowed revenge.
He upgraded his costume from his original tuxedo with dual gun holsters to a full-body suit with an attached eye scope and Magnum guns on each wrist. This costume became his iconic costume as his previous tuxedo costume wasn’t the best.
Deadshot spent the next few years making unsuccessful attempts to destroy Batman which eventually led him to be locked up in Belle Reve. But not before he managed to establish himself as one of the world’s deadliest assassins for hire.
Later on, while at Belle Reve Deadshot was approached by Amanda Waller and recruited into her newly formed Task Force. It was a team of the world’s most deadly convicts designed to carry out suicide missions that no one else would take A.K.A. the Suicide Squad.
Deadshot accepted Amanda’s offer, and while his character and backstory remain mostly undeveloped at this point, this is where we started to see Deadshot display his now well-known death wish without much explanation as to why. That was until 1988 when Suicide Squad creator, John Ostrander, gave Deadshot his very own four-issue miniseries in which we learned about his tragic childhood and many of the circumstances that led to his miserable life decisions.
Backstory of Deadshot
Floyd Lawton grew up in a wealthy but abusive family. Although he idolized his older brother Edward, his parents hated each other. This made his life miserable at home. Eventually, it all started to fall apart when Floyd’s mother convinces Edward to kill their abusive father.
Floyd tried to stop him from making a horrible mistake, but Edward locked him out of the house. So Floyd climbed a tree with a rifle and attempted to shoot the gun out of his brother’s hand through a window. But just as he was pulling the trigger, the tree branch broke, causing him to shoot Edward in the head, killing him instantly accidentally.
Accidentally killing his brother who was the only true friend that he had ever known sent Floyd on a downward spiral. He gave up any hope in humanity and lost all value for life including his own. It’s at this point he vowed never to miss his target again and begins training in the art of sharpshooting which set him on a course that eventually led him to become Deadshot.
As if his newly explained back story wasn’t devastating enough in the same miniseries we learned that Floyd being a member of The Suicide Squad had started a family at some point. But was forced to abandon and detach himself from his wife and two children to protect them from his enemies.
It only got worse from there. After years of separation, his young son Edward, who he named after his older brother, was kidnapped by men working for Floyd’s mother to blackmail him into finally killing his father. Deadshot refused and started killing everyone involved.
But he failed to save his son before he was raped and murdered by one of the kidnappers who was a sick pedophile. Deadshot decided to kill his mother and put an end to the madness. But a friend ended up talking him out of killing her. Deadshot instead paralyzed her by shooting her in the spine.
Not surprisingly, this whole series of events pushed Deadshot further down the road to crazy town, leaving him incredibly unstable. So when Amanda Waller sent him on a mission to stop Rick Flagg from killing a U.S. Senator, Deadshot killed the senator himself in an attempt to provoke cops into killing him. The police end up shooting him several times, but he survived and was placed in Arkham Asylum for quite a while.
Deadshot eventually was called back to Suicide Squad to help rescue members of the team on Planet Apocalypse. He even became the team leader at times. He remained a member of the team until it was dissolved by Amanda Waller. He rejoined the Suicide Squad several years later and went on to be part of several new significant missions and events in the DC Universe including Infinite Crisis where he also became a member of secret six.
Powers and Abilities of Deadshot
- Deadshot is an expert marksman who prides himself on never missing his target. He is well known for his seemingly impossible shots. Most consider him to be the world’s greatest sniper. He even uses perfect accuracy with any and all known weapons.
- Also, he is highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat including knowledge of human anatomy which makes him a scary opponent for almost anyone. As we mentioned earlier, he has actually gone toe-to-toe with Batman on several occasions.
- Similar to Batman, he has also trained in espionage and clandestine tactics making him a stealthy and elusive predator who was very adaptable in the field.
- Moving on to weapons, Deadshot is most known for his wrist-mounted guns. These guns can take modified rounds including explosive bullets, grappling hooks and so on.
- Another one of his most dangerous weapons is a sniper rifle which he uses with terrifying accuracy from long distances.
- He has also been known to use knives, rocket launchers, and explosives.
- His suit is made of a highly durable body armor that protects him from gunfire and even small explosions.
All of this makes for someone you don’t want to come after you. Ultimately Deadshot is a sad, complicated mess of a human being who has minimal regard for human life especially his own.
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