Tags Matching: Deadshot


Back before Geoff Johns and Gail Simone were around to revitalize under appreciated characters, you went to one man: John Ostrander (and credit where credit is due, a good deal of said revitalizing was done hand in hand with his wife, the late Kim Yale). Their most notable revitalization of course was the turning of Barbara Gordon from crippled ex-Batgirl into the DCU’s premiere computer hacker, Oracle. But the one I always liked best was the excellent work done creating a background for perennial Bat-rogue C-lister Deadshot.

Deadshot’s first appearance was in the issue above. That’s right: Deadshot has been around since the 50s. It’s just that in the beginning, he was nothing like the Deadshot we came to know from the 70s and 80s Batman and Suicide Squad comics. Floyd Lawton was a millionaire playboy who dressed up in a tuxedo, top hat, and domino mask and fought crime with a pair of six shooters. Only while he was fighting crime, he was really running his own crime ring to replace the competition he arrested. The dope. Batman quickly figured out his scheme, and Deadshot then rotted in the jail of comic limbo until 1977, when Steve Englehart brought him into modern times and put him in the featureless, wrist gun packing suit we all know and love.

Still, even then Deadshot didn’t have much of a personality, pretty much just serving as a generic amoral assassin who’s main personality trait was that he never dropped an assignment once he had been paid. Half the time his role could have been filled by Merlyn or any other DCU assassin. It was really once Ostrander got his hands on him in the pages of Suicide Squad and gave him a death wish that the character gained some dimensions. Most specifically in the 4 issue Deadshot miniseries that spun out of SS in 1988.

The entire Lawton family history was revealed, and suffice to say that it not only explained his lackadaisical death wish, but it also explained his love/hate relationship with Squad leader Rick Flag, and gave a plausible explanation as to why the man who never missed could never hit the Batman (who once noted in the pages of SS that Deadshot always pulled his shots when facing him): as a child, he accidentally shot and killed the older brother he idolized when trying to stop him from shooting the father they both hated. Both Flag and Batman subconsciously served as surrogate versions of his brother, to the point that shortly after his series had ended and he had returned to the pages of SS, he snapped while trying to stop Flag from shooting a corrupt senator and started calling Flag by his brothers name: the situation mirrored the childhood trauma he had just relived while trying (and failing) to prevent the death of his kidnapped son, who he had named after his brother. I’m barely even scratching the surface here, but you can see how much more complicated this stuff was than just “pay me, I kill a guy”.

Deadshot continued on in the Squad from there until the end of the series, after which he pretty much returned to being just another DCU assassin, with sporadic returns whenever someone tried to bring back the Squad, as well as an awful out of character bit in Underworld Unleashed when he tried to blow up a school full of kids. The less said about that, the better. He did however turn up in animated form in a couple episodes of the awesome Justice League cartoon; once trying to assassinate Aquaman and later on in an episode that actually featured the Suicide Squad! He also gained a little bit of Batman Begins/Dark Knight related fame courtesy of his being featured in the animated Batman: Gotham Knight dvd, which was meant to tie the two together.

In 2005, Deadshot was given another mini-series of his own, introducing a second child he never knew about, whose existence inspired him to try and clean up her crime ridden neighborhood, planting him back firmly in the anti-hero camp. Of course, he was also given a goofy, Wild Dog-esque costume, but fortunately he remained the Floyd people knew and loved from the pages of SS. From there he showed up in Villains United, once again joining an SS initialed team as part of the Secret Six (which spun off into it’s own series and quickly became one of DC’s best ongoing titles, and in my opinion the spiritual successor to Ostrander’s Squad), where he found a new surrogate brother in teammate Catman, himself a revitalized Batman C-lister (courtesy of Gail Simone, who has since teamed up with Ostrander on Deadshot/Suicide Squad/Secret Six related stories many times), and it’s there he remains.


I’m spent like a shell casing.

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Figured I’d piggy back on my earlier post about the Suicide Squad with these two issues of Detective Comics, both of which feature lower tier Bat-villain turned Squad mainstay (and personal favorite) Deadshot.

For a brief moment in time when I had money to spare and my town still had a comic book store, I went through a phase where I wanted to collect comic books that featured the villains as the focus as the cover. Primarily Batman, Spider Man, and Flash villains, because they always had the coolest looking ones. And obviously, as a man of spectacular taste, I only wanted the issues that had the coolest looking covers, so that once I had every villain I could frame them as a lot.

So, with that in mind, if I had to pick between these two variations on the same theme, I’d obviously go with the former, which is really the better choice of the two anyways if you’re collecting as a normal comic fan, since it marks the first appearance of the modern Deadshot costume (in his original appearance, he wore a top hat and tails, six shooters, and a domino mask. Not exactly the height of super villain fashion). The reflection of the Batman in Deadshot’s mask, plus the Batsignal in his eye piece, the awesome 70’s Detective Comics logo… you can even see the shot hitting Bats in the reflection. Definitely a cool looking cover that makes the villain look bad ass.

The second cover… not so much. It’s not bad or anything, but it’s way less intense. Deadshot’s entire mask looks off due to the attempt to create depth via shading of where his facial features would be, Batman’s sneaking up on him not taking a shot head on… sure, there’s the intrigue of Bruce Wayne being in the cross hairs, but as a art piece? It doesn’t work. Definitely not the best Jim Aparo artwork I’ve seen, that’s for sure. I don’t know what’s going on with the watery looking texture, but I sincerely hope it was photographed in the plastic the seller says it will be shipped in.

Both of these are priced so cheap that you really can’t go wrong either way. $14.99 for a nice collectors item and $1.99 for something that’s probably just a fun read.

Suicidal 4 life.

You’re rarely, and I do mean rarely, ever going to hear me say something like this. But if you’ve got a spare C note lying around, then this is a must buy.

I repeat: A MUST BUY.

Suicide Squad, one of my favorite comic books ever, combined super villains and political intrigue in a manner that had been virtually unheard of at the time. Writer John Ostrander took cheeseball characters like Count Vertigo, Lashina, Dr Light and Captain Boomerang and took them seriously, turning them into well rounded characters with personalities instead of goofy gimmicks. Not only that, but Suicide Squad introduced us to perhaps the best non-powered antagonist in DC comics since Lex Luthor; Amanda “The Wall” Waller. It may seem tame and dated now, but it was without a doubt one of the first mainstream superhero comic book for adults. And it’s never been collected. DC was going to put out a Showcase Presents edition in 2008, but somehow it never appeared.

Even if this was just a full run of the first volume of the series (which ran from 1987-1992), this would be worth the money. But this seller has sweetened the pot by including virtually every other Suicide Squad comic that has been printed since, from the first appearance of the 80s Squad in the Legends miniseries, to the 4 issue Deadshot mini series that completed Ostrander’s reinvention of the character as a tragic figure, to the recent 8 issue mini series that saw Ostrander return to writing duties… even a handful of issues from Keith Giffen’s poorly received (and short lived) 2001 relaunch. By my count there are 89 comics being sold here for a mere $75 Buy It Now. That’s under a dollar a comic.

What are you waiting for? Go buy it.

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