The Man Who (Almost) Never Misses
Deadshot first appeared back in June of 1950 in Batman #59 and was created by original Batman creator Bob Kane along with fellow writer David Vern Reed and artist Lew Sayre Schwartz. This powerhouse classic creative team makes it even more surprising that Deadshot never really caught on with fans considering he is one of Batman’s oldest villains, coming to life years before many other Batman Rogues Gallery mainstays like Mr. Freeze (1959), Poison Ivy (1966), or Ra’s Al Ghul (1971).
As his origin goes, Deadshot, real name Floyd Lawton, was the younger of two brothers and grew up in the shadow of his older brother, Edward. So as Edward walked around being the hero, Floyd decided to be the villain and was a problem child from an early age because of it. That is until one day the boys’ mother asks the pair of them to kill their father. Edward accepts this request but Floyd refuses to kill his own father and so Edward locks him in the shed behind the house. Floyd breaks out and to save his father, picks up a rifle (that is so conveniently lying around) and climbs a tree. He looks in the window of the house and sees Edward ready to shoot his father. Floyd attempts to shoot the gun out of his brother’s hand but at the last moment the branch upon which Floyd was perched, snaps, and he accidentally shoots and kills his own brother. Floyd has lived, as he sees it, a “meaningless” lifestyle from then on.
Deadshot’s lack of popularity, aside from a rather weak origin story, more often comes from being inconsistently written over the years. Originally created as a “mirror image” style villain, Deadshot posed as another Gotham crime-fighter alongside Batman, but really only had machinations to replace Batman so then no one would get in his way and he could do what he wanted with the city. When the illusion of him being on the side of good fell away, Deadshot turned to the underworld and attempted to become the top dog of Gotham’s underbelly, but he never had the leadership qualities needed to keep that many criminals in line and was easily brought to justice by Batman and Commissioner Gordon.
It wasn’t until his next story line that he took on the mantle of a hired gun, which is what he is best known for, where he joined Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad and the character developed a bit of a conscience, taking several hits that he failed to carry out including another confrontation with Batman who infuriated Lawton by insinuating that he pulls his shots around him. Unable to concentrate after being psychoanalyzed, Batman again defeated Deadshot, but he rejoined Waller’s squad after she pulled some of her many government contact strings.
His next character shift comes after he leaves the Suicide Squad and suddenly he has a family and the loner type who had been crafted for years was shattered, although Deadshot was still infamously precise with his pistol. This would in turn continue to develop Deadshot’s conscience, which would drive the character up to his most recent incarnations in the Secret Six comics.
So if he can’t keep an audience, what keeps causing writers to bring him back? He was even the centerpiece in one of the six animated shorts that were part of the Gotham Knight DVD that took place between Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight films. Probably the fact that he is one of Batman’s most realistic villains and when things get too crazy, as will be the case in Arkham City, Deadshot can give fans a heavy dose of reality. Simply armed with a boat load of guns, expert marksmanship, some sweet armor that makes him almost Boba Fett like in appearance, and a fearless attitude when going out on a hit, Deadshot has just enough appeal to serve as filler between more major arcs with Batman’s more traditionally insane rogues, or to be part of a much larger and over-the-top ensemble, again, like in Arkham City.
It should be interesting to see just how big of a piece of the Arkham City puzzle The World’s Finest Assassin will be. Will he be overshadowed by the other villains? And who will play his voice? What other villains do you hope can be jammed into Arkham City and how do you feel in general about Deadshot? Let us know by commenting below!