|First appearance||Batman #59 (June 1950)|
|Created by||David Vern Reed (writer)|
Lew Sayre Schwartz (artist)
Bob Kane (concept)
|Alter ego||Floyd Lawton|
|Team affiliations||Suicide Squad|
Secret Society of Super Villains
Deadshot (Floyd Lawton) is character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by David Vern Reed and Lew Schwartz, based on a concept from Batman co-creator Bob Kane, the character made his first appearance in Batman #59 (June 1950). The introduction story features Deadshot using standard firearms while wearing a tuxedo, top hat, and simple domino mask. The character was not seen again until twenty-nine years later when writer Steve Englehart along with artists Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin retooled him in Detective Comics (vol.1) #474 (1979), now presenting him with customized wrist-mounted guns and a unique mask featuring a multi-use lens over his right eye. Since then, he has been a recurring character in Batman comics. Since 1986, Deadshot has also been frequently portrayed in comics books featuring the Suicide Squad.
Deadshot is an expert in firearms and an excellent sniper who regularly boasts of never missing a shot. He is often considered one of the deadliest assassins in the DC Universe. Lawton is eventually brought to justice by the superhero Batman, who becomes Lawton's most recurring enemy over the years (though he also occasionally comes into conflict with other heroes). After multiple defeats, Deadshot is recruited by Amanda Waller to join Task Force X, a covert ops group largely made of supervillains and known by the nickname "the Suicide Squad." While typically portrayed as a supervillain, he is also sometimes depicted as an antihero as a member of the Suicide Squad where he fights more dangerous villains and threats, his need to protect those he regards as family, and his occasional efforts to hold himself accountable to a personal code of ethics.
The character has been substantially adapted from the comics into various forms of media, including television series, feature films and video games. Deadshot was portrayed by Bradley Stryker in the final season of Smallville, by Michael Rowe in the live-action Arrowverse franchise, and by Will Smith in the DC Extended Universe film Suicide Squad (2016). IGN ranked Deadshot as the 43rd-greatest comic book villain of all time in 2009.
In his debut story, Floyd Lawton is shown to be an independently wealth man with a trusted staff member and valet named Stevens. Gotham's wealthier citizens, such as businessman Bruce Wayne, refer to Lawton as someone "new" to Gotham City. Following his recruitment to Task Force X (the "Suicide Squad"), Lawton's past is further explained by therapist Dr. Marnie Herrs.
As a child, Floyd Lawton and his older brother Edward "Eddie" Robert Lawton are raised in a wealthy family that has great influence over their community. Their father George Lawton owns interests in much of the local real estate and hold sway over the local police, while their mother Genevieve Pitt Lawton, a prize-winning sharp shooter, controls the Pitt banking businesses. The Lawton parents are seen as a power couple in their society circles, but in private they grow to hate each other. By various accounts, Floyd is repeatedly judged by his parents for not matching the achievements of his brother in academics and sports, leading the younger Lawton child to act out in various ways.
When Eddie is in his mid-teens and Floyd is around 12 years old, Genevieve tells her sons about her husband's infidelities and the many abuses she suffers under him, then asks the boys to kill George. Floyd attempts to warn George, but Eddie locks his younger brother in the nearby boathouse and then locks the doors of the family home so no one can enter or intrude on the killing. Floyd escapes, grabs a hunting rifle, and climbs a nearby tree to get a better view through all the windows of the family home. Seeing Eddie enter the house library to shoot their father, Floyd fires his rifle, hoping to disarm his brother. But the tree branch Floyd is on suddenly gives way and throws off his aim, causing him to shoot Eddie dead just as the elder brother shoots at their father. Eddie's aim is also thrown off, leading his bullet to strike and shatter George Lawton's spine rather than killing him.
Refusing to have his family name tarnished by the scandal that would occur, George Lawton arranges with the police to cover up details of the crime. The official report concludes that an unknown sniper opened fire twice on George Lawton and that his son Eddie heroic died while diving into the path of the second bullet. As punishment for her efforts, George Lawton refuses to divorce Genevieve and instead forces her to live on a limited allowance and in isolation in another, smaller house the Lawton's own on the outskirts of town. After high school, Floyd Lawton leaves his family home to travel. Despite his later claims that he felt nothing on seeing his brother die, he often shows anger when recalling the incident and Eddie's death inspires him to swear that in the future when he fires a gun, he will "never miss."
The next several years of Floyd Lawton's life before his arrival in Gotham City are not fully explained in the comics, though it is eventually revealed that as a young man he did meet David Cain, a highly skilled assassin who years earlier had been one of the teachers of Batman during the hero's many years of preparation for crime-fighting. As a member of the League of Assassins, who sometimes take private contracts but are also available as operatives of the terrorist Ra's al Ghul, David Cain is an expert in marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat techniques, martial arts, and military tactics, and he trains Floyd Lawton in all these areas. Floyd later remarks that Cain was his "best teacher." While the canon comic books do not give much further detail regarding if Floyd Lawton had other training under other teachers, media such as the Arkham Asylum video games propose he served for a time in the US Army where he received sniper training.
Lawton becomes a hired assassin in Europe and South America, staying largely unknown to authorities but gaining a reputation among certain gangs and cartels as a killer who never misses. At some point, Floyd Lawton marries a woman named Susan and they have a child together, a boy named Edward after Floyd's deceased brother. Floyd later divorces Susan and removes himself for her and Edward's life. He later claims he did this because Susan saw him not as who he is but who she thought he could be, and that his presence endangered the lives of happiness of her and Edward.
Eventually, Floyd takes residence in Gotham City and hires an assistant and trusted valet named Steven. He decides to become an influential figure and crime lord, similar to how his parents operated in his home town. While attending a charity ball, Floyd witnesses Gotham City's hero Batman apprehend a group of thieves. Seeing Batman as a rival, Floyd decides to reduce the hero's influence on Gotham before fully embarking on a criminal career. Donning a tuxedo, top hat, gun belt, and domino mask, Lawton operates publicly in Gotham City as a vigilante called Deadshot and uses his marksmanship abilities to disarm criminals without killing them.
Batman becomes suspicious of Deadshot and eventually learns his true motives and identity. Later, Deadshot reveals himself and attempts to kill Batman but is shocked when each of his shots miss. Batman taunts that Deadshot has no nerve to properly face and kill an opponent. In truth, Batman had gotten to Deadshot's weapons ahead of time and altered their sights to throw off his aim, hoping to shake the villain psychologically.
Publicly exposed, Deadshot is taken to trial and imprisoned. After some time, he becomes resentful that he is considered a forgotten enemy of Batman's while others such as the Penguin and Riddler gain greater renown. At his first opportunity, he escapes imprisonment and decides to prove himself in combat against Batman with new, wrist-mounted guns, customized body armor, and a mask that helps his already impressive aim. Despite his efforts, Deadshot is once again defeated by Gotham City's hero. After escaping authorities again, Deadshot once again becomes an assassin for hire rather than focusing on revenge against the Dark Knight.
Government operative Amanda Waller gets permission to revive Task Force X, a special operations group that in the past was also known as the Suicide Squad. Under Waller's leadership, Task Force X is no longer a group of government and military operatives but now is primarily made up of incarcerated super-villains who are considered expendable if lost on dangerous missions and are promised reduced prison time in exchange for their services.
After being defeated by the Flash, Floyd Lawton is imprisoned again and transferred to Belle Reve, a prison in Louisiana that also serves as the secret hub for the new Suicide Squad. There, Deadshot is recruited by Amanda Waller. It is later said Deadshot is selected not only due to his skills but also because mandated therapy sessions have revealed he sometimes is prone to a "death-wish", internally hoping a proper enemy will end his life in a dramatic battle (it is also suggested this is why he initially decorates his second costume with a target on his chest). During his time with the team, Deadshot frequently clashes with teammate Captain Boomerang and field leader Rick Flag (for whom Floyd develops a grudging respect).
Soon after Deadshot joins the Suicide Squad, Batman learns of the team's existence and confronts them, threatening to expose that the US government is employing super-villains for covert and possibly illegal missions. Amanda Waller counters that public exposure of Task Force X will force her to reveal Batman's true identity. Before Batman leaves, Deadshot threatens him but the Dark Knight remarks that Lawton always "pulls" his shots when they are in battle with each other. Therapist Dr. Marnie Herrs later agrees with this conclusion, remarking that Deadshot sometimes sabotages his own efforts as if inviting his opponents to take advantage of the situation and end his life.
Deadshot's son Edward, now about eight years old, is kidnapped by a gang of criminals hoping to manipulate Floyd. One of the gang members, Wes Anselm, is a pedophile with documented incidents of assaults against children. When Deadshot hunts down the gang, Wes grabs young Eddie and knocks him out, then flees with the boy in a car. Later, Deadshot finds Wes in his apartment and Eddie lying dead. Wes implies the boy struggled against an assault, which resulted in Wes becoming enraged and killing him. Deadshot takes revenge by delivering several non-lethal gunshots to Wes before finally killing him.
Having learned that Eddie's kidnapping was part of a complicated plot by Genevieve Lawton to inspire Floyd to finally kill his father, Deadshot returns to his home town. Confronting his mother in her home, Deadshot first intends to kill her but then reconsiders when his therapist Marnie Herrs points out that Genevieve also has her own desire for death and hopes to be killed as she does not wish to harm herself. Rather than possibly give her the outcome she desires, Deadshot chooses not to kill his mother and instead shoots her with a precision shot to the spine, causing her to be a paraplegic. Deadshot remarks that this is fitting since her efforts to kill George Lawton only resulted in his own paralysis, and now they are a "matched set."
Later on, a US senator threatens to expose the Suicide Squad to the world. Task Force X field leader Rick Flag decides to assassinate the senator and Deadshot is ordered to stop Flag. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Deadshot publicly kills the senator himself, justifying that this is in compliance with his literal orders: "Stop Flag from killing the senator. Exact words." DC police then gun down Deadshot where he stands, but he survives his wounds and after a hospital stay and physical therapy he returns to active duty with the Suicide Squad.
Lawton's uniform is stolen by a man who then uses the Deadshot name and equipment to commit crimes and murders. After Lawton kills the impostor while the man is still dressed in the Deadshot uniform and mask. Later, Floyd is haunted by the experience of having shot down his own "image" and for some time does not fix the fatal bullet hole that now occupies his uniform.
Eventually, the Suicide Squad operations are temporarily halted and Deadshot returns to his own life and agenda. At one point, he becomes a host body for the demon lord Neron and nearly kills kindergarten class. To Lawton's relief, he is stopped and then relieved of his demonic possession by the Justice League. Later on, Deadshot accepts a contract to kill the Pope, but is thwarted by Wonder Woman.
After both of his parents pass away, Deadshot inherits some of their documents and belongings. He find a letter from Michelle Torres, a woman who claims Floyd Lawton is the father of her daughter Zoe Torres. Deadshot visits Michelle Torres in the Triangle, a neighborhood of Star City. Realizing Zoe is indeed his daughter, he recognizes Michelle as a sex worker he spent time with years before. Haunted by the memory of abandoning his son Eddie and later finding him dead, Floyd decides to take up temporary residence in the Triangle and look after Zoe and Michelle. He learns more about Zoe as a person, such as that she is proud of her Cuban and Italian heritage, and he comes to understand the different criminal gangs and slum lords that threaten the Triangle. Announcing his presence, Deadshot begins systematically fighting the corruption in the Triangle, hoping to make it a safer place for Zoe and Michelle. This results in the local population advocating to protect Deadshot from vigilantes such as local hero Green Arrow, and also leads to a new romance between Michelle and Floyd.
As supervillains with a grudge against Deadshot begin appearing in the Triangle, Lawton decides to put distance between himself and Michelle and Zoe. After setting up a school scholarship for Zoe, Deadshot kills several supervillains targeting him and then fakes his own death in an explosion. He decides to act more covertly for the time being. His efforts in the Triangle also inspire Green Arrow to take more interest in the area, ensuring the Zoe and Michelle's neighborhood remains protected.
Lawton decides to do right by his daughter, and embarks on a lethal war on the local gangs that plague the area. The series ends with Deadshot faking his death, having realized a normal life is not for him, but also having mostly cleared up the area and convincing Green Arrow to patrol it more regularly.
During the 2005–2006 Infinite Crisis storyline, Deadshot is briefly operates with a short-lived incarnation of the Secret Six, joining other villains who are recruited by the mysterious Mockingbird (a temporary alias used by Lex Luthor). For accepting membership, Deadshot is offered the reward of ruling North America; if he declines, his punishment will be the destruction of the Triangle in Star City, where Michelle and Zoe still live. At the conclusion of their main objective, Deadshot is rewarded with significant money that he then sends to Michelle.
Despite no longer being employed by Lex Luthor, the Secret Six remain active for a time and Deadshot stays on as a memmber. He develops a grudging friendship with teammate Catman, another former enemy of Batman's. When this version of the Secret Six disbands, Deadshot is said to have returned to Amanda Waller's new Suicide Squad.
While part of the Suicide Squad, Deadshot is sent against the villains Pied Piper and Trickster and then seemingly kills Trickster. These events occur during the year-long series Countdown. Like many events depicted in that series, Trickster's death is later contradicted by other stories.
Amanda Waller decides to exile all criminals with superhuman abilities to another planet, without trial. The Suicide Squad works on rounding up as many villains as possible, sending them to another planet via the dimensional space-bridge known as a boom tube (a product of New Gods technology). After helping the effort, Deadshot is betrayed and exile to the planet as well, as he is still a supervillain as far as Amanda Waller and Rick Flag are concerned. Eventually, the exiled villains escape back to Earth.
Deadshot, along with Scandal Savage, Bane, Rag Doll and Catman reunite the Secret Six. The team is hired to retrieve Tarantula from Alcatraz Island, and find a card which she stole from Junior, a mysterious villain who supposedly runs the entire West Coast mob. Junior has practically the entire villain community at her beck and call, as many fear her methods and formidability. The Six later learn that the card in question was made by the demon lord Neron and serves a special function: "Get Out Of Hell Free."
Soon, the Six are attacked by a small army of super-villains, all wanting to recover the card and collect the reward of $20 million for each of the Six. It is later revealed that Junior is in fact Rag Doll's sister, as well as the daughter of the first Rag Doll.
The Six escape and head for Gotham City, only to be attacked by Junior and the Super villains. It is revealed that they were initially hired by the Mad Hatter, simply so they would be killed. Tarantula sacrifices herself and Junior, seemingly destroying the card as well in the process. It is later revealed that Scandal is now in possession of the card.
While on a mission to Gotham City to kill several of Batman's allies, the Six are ambushed by a group of superheroes who have come to assist Batman. Deadshot is rendered unconscious by Green Lantern and the rest of the Six are similarly defeated soon after.
In The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), a new timeline is presented which features a Deadshot with a significantly different past. Rather than a child of wealth, he is a child born to poverty who then joins the military before becoming an assassin for fire. He has a daughter named Suchin Lawton who has Japanese heritage. His children from the previous timeline, Edward and Zoe, are not mentioned.
Before joining the Suicide Squad, Lawton is described as a Batman villain and a rival of Mad Dog, a bounty hunter. He also is bitter enemies with Captain Boomerang. In the New 52 stories, he no longer sports his trademark mustache except at one point to grow one to cover a scar.
Deadshot is arrested for a failed assassination of a U.S. Senator by Batman and is sentenced to life in prison. Later, he is recruited to be part of the Suicide Squad in exchange for early release. Deadshot is made team leader due to his skill under pressure. He develops a casual relationship with new teammate Harley Quinn. Deadshot later grows disillusioned with the group after a planned visit with his daughter, his first since his arrest, is withheld from him.
Deadshot ultimately sacrifices his life to kill the evil cult member Regulas. Deadshot is later resurrected, possibly through genetic material taken from Resurrection Man during an earlier mission.
During the 2013–2014 "Forever Evil" story line, the Justice League teams are seemingly killed. To ensure Earth is protected, Amanda Waller pays Deadshot to reunite the Suicide Squad. Deadshot's first visit is to Harley Quinn.
Following the events of DC Rebirth in 2016, Deadshot's pre-New 52 history is restored. When a character mentions having heard that Deadshot grew up in poverty, Lawton now remarks that this was a lie he told.
In the story "The War of Jokes and Riddles," it is retroactively revealed that soon after his first defeat at Batman's hands, Deadshot sided with the Joker in a gang war against the Riddler and other criminals. At one point during this gang war, Deadshot spends five days battling the assassin Deathstroke, who sides with the Riddler. After the conflict causes multiple deaths, Batman arrives and defeats both criminals, leaving Deadshot hospitalized with severe head trauma.
Deadshot returns to service with the Suicide Squad. After several more missions, he is seemingly killed by Black Mask.
Deadshot has no superhuman powers but is the top marksman in the DC Universe. He possesses superhuman-like accuracy, and regularly boasts that he "never misses" his target. Deadshot once shot an apple off of Captain Boomerang's head with his eyes closed. He also intentionally grazed the skull of Enchantress while she was flying, since he was asked to take her down non-lethally. He is so skilled that he can make his shots ricochet from structures and kill multiple targets at the same time. He can even shoot around corners. Deadshot is also a tactical genius and master strategist and is also a highly skilled demolitions expert.
Deadshot has access to a vast array of weaponry, most notably, his sniper rifle and twin machine guns mounted on each arm. Deadshot is allegedly bilingual, and learned to speak Russian as a youth. He also claims to have been a Card-carrying Communist.
Deadshot has proven to be a formidable hand-to-hand combatant when needed due to his excellent physical condition and training as an assassin. He has gone toe-to-toe against Batman on several occasions and has also fought Deathstroke to a standstill. He is adept in Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Boxing, Krav Maga and Muay Thai. He is also an expert in many different styles of knife fighting. Lawton also possesses advanced knowledge of the human anatomy and knows all the weak spots and pressure points of the human body.
|Title||Material collected||Published date||ISBN|
|Deadshot: Beginnings||Deadshot (vol. 1) #1-4, Batman #369, Detective Comics #474, 518||November 2013||978-1401242985|
|Deadshot: Bulletproof||Deadshot (vol. 2) #1-5, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #214||April 2015||978-1401255190|
|Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot||Material from Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot and Katana #1-6||August 2016||978-1401263805|
In the Amalgam Comics universe, Deadshot was combined with the Marvel villain Bullseye to create the assassin Deadeye. William Lawton appears as an enemy of Dare the Terminator and Catsai.
Deadshot appears as the main antagonist of the tie-in digital comic taking place between the video games Batman: The Telltale Series and Batman: The Enemy Within. Hailing from a family of wealthy real-estate tycoons, Floyd witnessed his older brother killed by his abusive parents when he was a child and later murdered them when he was fourteen while setting it up to make it look like they killed themselves. Inheriting his family's wealth, he quits the real-estate business and becomes a military contractor, giving him access to a large arsenal of weapons.
Lawton later discovers that despite his parents being sent to Arkham Asylum on accounts of child abuse before his brother's death, they were not committed to the prison as their doctor, Thomas Wayne, agreed to keep them out of the asylum as long as they give him a large discount on a building that would eventually become Wayne Tower. After the revelations of Thomas Wayne's corrupt nature were brought to the public in the first game, Lawton becomes Deadshot and uses his expert marksmanship to hunt down the Arkham staff that were working at the asylum during the time period that Thomas operated.
Bruce talks to Lawton in person in hopes of getting Deadshot to target him instead of the Arkham staff, but he antagonizes Lawton to the point where he decides to go after those close to Bruce instead. While Bruce manages to save Lucius Fox and Commissioner Gordon, Deadshot kidnaps Alfred with the rest of the Arkham staff and attaches explosives to each of them. He gives Batman a gun and forces the vigilante to decide between shooting him or letting the hostages die to prove to Gotham that true heroes do not exist. Batman instead shoots the detonator and defeats Deadshot as Alfred frees the rest of the hostages. Lawton is sent to Arkham Asylum after his lawyer argued for his untreated PTSD, where a shadowed figure offers him a spot in the Suicide Squad.
Set in a near alternate future of the New 52, Lawton is imprisoned in an underground Belle Reeve missing his shooting arm. He, and the future Black Manta and Harley Quinn are broken out by Amanda Waller, who informs them that they were imprisoned and forgotten as the government found a way to clone super villains and Suicide Squad members in Texas. After Harley and Manta are killed by Joker clones, Deadshot allows Waller time by taking on a Deathstroke clone in a sword fight. Despite his disadvantages, Deadshot defeats the clone and sacrifices his life in the process. Deadshot's actions allowed Waller to break into the main hub and stop the cloning.
Deadshot makes a cameo in the Tiny Titans series as a player on Lobo's soccer team, the Secret Six.
Two incarnations of Deadshot appear in the Batman: Arkham franchise.
[Deadshot] was originally created by Bob Kane, David Vern Reed and Lew Sayre Schwartz in 1950 as a prime villain for Batman.