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No reader in 1950 could have imagined that the rather unremarkable Deadshot, who appeared with zero fanfare in Batman #59, would eventually strike a bull's eye as one of DC Comics' most popular supervillains. In “The Man Who Replaced Batman!” Floyd Lawton is a Gotham City millionaire who plots to steal the Caped Crusader's thunder as the masked, tuxedoed Deadshot, a crack-shot “crime fighter” who shoots to disarm, never to wound or kill. As the decades have shown, no one can replace Batman, and the hero promptly deduces Deadshot's ulterior motive—eliminating Batman to establish himself as the city's new crime boss—playing to Lawton's ego and tricking him into a confession. Deadshot was reintroduced by writer Steve Englehart and artist Marshall Rogers in Detective Comics #474 (1977) in the form in which he is known today: the extraordinary marksman whose fully loaded red-and-white uniform houses an infrared eyepiece and magnum wrist gauntlets. In his revised backstory, Floyd Lawton, an emotionally charged hothead with a death wish, fled his dysfunctional family, where his domineering mother nearly manipulated his brother into killing their father. He became the hired assassin Deadshot, his contracts regularly putting him into Batman's sights—and into Belle Reve Prison. Deadshot was reprieved in 1986 to become a core member of the Suicide Squad, the “expendable” task force of villains, diving head-first into the team's hazardous missions but always surviving, when many of his teammates did not. The most popular member of the Squad, Deadshot earned his own 1988 spin-off miniseries. Later becoming a free agent, the chain-smoking mercenary has since appeared in numerous DC titles, making more enemies than friends. A major player in the best-selling miniseries Identity Crisis (2004–2005), Deadshot's profile skyrocketed in 2005. He starred in his second solo miniseries, was one of the Secret Six in the miniseries Villains United, received his own DC Direct action figure, and appeared in the “Task Force X” episode of the Cartoon Network's Justice League Unlimited (2004–present), with Smallville's Lex Luthor, Michael Rosenbaum, providing his voice.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.