Comic Book / Deadshot

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"Bang. You're dead."
The man who never misses. Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot, is a DC Comics character who started out as a member of Batman's Rogues Gallery, but is more often associated with the Suicide Squad and Secret Six.

He first appeared in Batman #59 in 1950 as a criminal who pretended to be a hero that specialized in non-lethally disarming crooks. In reality, he was eliminating the competition and trying to discredit Batman in the process. After a lengthy prison stay, he returned redesigned by Marshall Rogers as a costumed assassin with wrist-mounted guns and a grudge against Batman. In The '80s, he was one of the first recruits for the Super-Villain Suicide Squad, and stayed with the group voluntarily as one of the few members who was legitimately suicidal.

Floyd Lawton grew up with a messed-up family. His father was abusive towards his mother, who talked his older brother Ed into shooting him for her. Floyd wanted to save his brother from being a murderer, so he took a rifle up a tree and tried to shoot his father first. However, the branch he was sitting on broke, and he shot his brother instead. One way or another, he ends up in one villainous team or another, and usually acts as the marksman, due to his highly Improbable Aiming Skills.

Although a villain at times, Deadshot is portrayed as just fitting into the Anti-Hero category, as was the case with his second solo miniseries in 2005. It is established that he has a daughter, Zoe, and he attempts to clean up the neighbourhood where she and her mother lived, which was at the centre of a three-way gang war. It actually works out for a while, with Floyd living a family life. Of course, Green Arrow shows up, and tries to capture Deadshot, but not before the locals give Green Arrow a What the Hell, Hero? speech over him trying to arrest a man who was protecting them when he and the other heroes didn't. Eventually, Floyd decides to leave to protect his family, but not before making Green Arrow promise to protect the area more. From then on, Deadshot would give the money from his contracts to his family.

If there's DC media that needs a Dragon who uses a gun, or some guy with Improbable Aiming Skills, he'll likely be that character. His more notable appearances to date have been:

Comics
  • Batman - Where Deadshot debuted.
  • Deadshot - His two solo miniseries.
  • Suicide Squad - Multiple series that revolve around a changing roster of villains who work for the government. Deadshot is on most incarnations of the team. As of the New 52, Floyd is the team's field leader.
  • Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot and Katana - A Suicide Squad miniseries with separate stories spotlighting Deadshot and Katana.
  • Secret Six - Focusing on the adventures of a "family" of villains, with Deadshot as one of the main characters. He's not a member of the New 52 incarnation.

Film

Live-Action TV
  • Arrow - Deadshot appears as a recurring villain.
  • Smallville - Floyd acts as a hired gun in his debut episode before going on to join the Suicide Squad.

Videogames

Western Animation


Tropes applying to Deadshot:

  • Abusive Parents: His father was not a nice man. His mother was even worse.
  • Adaptational Heroism: His DCEU counterpart is considerably more heroic than previous adaptions of the character, with most of his more villainous character traits being either removed or glossed over in favour of focusing solely on his relationship with his daughter
  • Adaptational Villainy: His DCAU counterpart is slightly more antagonistic than his comic book counterpart and most versions through the fact that he's just an unusually talented hitman with the lack of his usual Morality Pet (his daughter) or any type of redeeming or sympathetic qualities. To summarize, he's a gun for hire, nothing more.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Daredevil's Arch-Enemy Bullseye is more or less Deadshot's Marvel counterpart.
  • Anti-Hero: On his good days. While living in his daughter's gang-ridden neighbourhood, he single-handedly removed and destroyed any signs of gang violence to make the neighborhood safe for his family. When Green Arrow came looking for him, the locals actually openly defended him and told Ollie to get lost.
    • Falls more under the Anti-Villain category in that he's a remorseless killer with a Death Wish, but will tend to stick to a code of honor that can make him - usually - a reliable teammate.
  • Arm Cannon: Of the "mounted on the forearms" variety.
  • Assassin Outclassin': In the New 52's Suicide Squad, this is how Deadshot was sent to Belle Reve Prison. He was supposed to assassinate a senator in Gotham, but was thwarted by Batman, causing Deadshot his first career miss.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Knows that bulletproof skin doesn't necessarily mean bulletproof eyes.
  • Ax-Crazy: Not always, but he occasionally has the urge to kill everyone in sight.
  • Badass Longcoat: Used to sport one before switching to a bodysuit. Then wore it over his bodysuit, before ditching it entirely.
  • Badass Mustache: Briefly lost it during the New 52.
  • Badass Normal: Has no superpowers to assist his aiming.
  • Battle Couple: With Harley. They develop a close bond as team members in the Suicide Squad, and have had an on-again, off-again relationship ever since.
    • Also with Jeanette during his time in the Secret Six.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Mentioning his late son will get you a pistol-broken jaw at least.
    • Treating a gun like a toy. It's not that he's in favor of gun control or anything, it just annoys him to see fine weapons in the hands of idiots.
  • Big Brother Worship: The Lawton family butler made it a point to mention everyone liked Ed. When asked whether Floyd was resentful of his brother, he clarified he meant everyone liked Ed - Floyd most of anyone.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: He was once mugged by a couple of idiots who didn't even know how to hold their guns correctly. Deadshot beat them up - he didn't really care about the mugging, he certainly didn't do it because he thought it was right, he didn't even do it because they threatened him. He didn't care about any respect he might or might not get - all he cares is the respect to the gun.
  • Broken Pedestal: Towards his old mentor, David Cain, due to his in-universe Villain Decay.
  • Chest Insignia: A target. In contrast to Batman, who uses the armored bat-symbol to draw fire away from his vulnerable points, Floyd leaves the "bull's eye" unprotected because he wants people to shoot him.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: He wore a tuxedo, top hat and domino mask while posing as a hero in his first appearance.
  • Cold Sniper: He claims not to care if anyone lives or dies, including himself.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Anyone who expects a fair fight from him is either an idiot or knows absolutely nothing about him, and they're not going to live very long either way.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Averted. All of his live-action appearances so far kept his codename. Probably because it just sounds cool, and calling him Floyd wouldn't do him any favours.
  • Cool Mask: Wears a white/silver cloth/metallic mask which contains a scope to assist his aiming.
  • Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: Marnie Herrs, a Suicide Squad staff psychologist, falls in love with Deadshot. More sensibly, when she realizes he's entirely uninterested in working through his boatload of issues and that she's not going to change him, she just leaves Belle Reve.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Expanded on in the 1988 miniseries. His parents openly hated each other, to the point that his mother tried to get his father killed by their sons, but Floyd wound up killing his beloved brother Edward by accident. Later he lost his wife and son, and for most of his life has been unconsciously looking for surrogate brother figures.
  • Daughter of a Whore: He had Zoe with Michelle Torres, a cocaine addict turned call girl, in what he assumed would be a one night stand.
  • Deal with the Devil: Makes one with Neron during Underworld Unleashed, selling his soul and promising to spread chaos in return for more bullets.
  • Death Seeker/The Fatalist: Is either one or the other Depending on the Writer. He knows he is not going to live very long either way, what really changes is whether he wants to be killed or just doesn't care.
    • His response to being told straight from the source that he'll be condemned to eternity in Hell when he dies is simply "Ha! Figures."
  • Depending on the Artist: His mask. Is it metal or fabric?
  • Depending on the Writer: The distinction between wanting to die and not caring whether he lives or dies isn't always acknowledged. He was noticeably disappointed when David Cain failed to kill him.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Even Harley Quinn finds it strange that the "world's greatest marksman" is called Floyd.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He has no problem shooting an unarmed woman in the back. It's when he finds out she was told that she was free that he gets pissed, since he'd been told she was an escaping prisoner.
    • When the Six were first put together, both Deadshot and Cheshire were forced into joining when Mockingbird held the safety of their respective children over their heads. The difference between them? By the end of Villains United, it was demonstrated that Floyd cared more about his daughter Zoe then Cheshire did Lian, as Cheshire went out of her way to conceive a replacement with no hesitation.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His older brother Ed, His ex-wife Susan, their son, Eddie, his daughter, Zoe, her mother, and the Secret Six.
  • Evil Counterpart: Is frequently portrayed as Green Arrow's, contrasting their choice of weapons, but started as one for Batman; he even grew up with Bruce Wayne and Alfred knew his butler well enough to know of the Lawtons' marital situation.
  • Evil Matriarch: His father was no prize, but Lawton's mother was the one who hired a child molester to kidnap her grandson to force Floyd to kill his father.
    • Retconned out by the New 52, in which she, along with Lawton's father and sister, was killed by bullets coming through the walls from a gang execution in the next apartment.
      • Then the retcon was retconned out in his part of the Most Wanted spin-off series. He stole the story from another criminal, and the original backstory is reestablished. His mother turns out to be so bad that her egging him on causes Deadshot to kill her in a fit of rage.
  • Flamethrower Backfire: In the second mini-series, Deadshot defeats Firebug by shooting the arsonist through the wings of his costume, which he uses to store the fuel for his flamethrowers. Firebug goes up in a fireball.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Lawton doesn't worry about lung cancer, since he's not expecting to live that long. Almost every single panel where Deadshot is neither masked nor eating, he's smoking a cigarette.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: With Catman, to a blatantly obvious extent.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The master of this in the DC Universe (in regards to guns, at least). If you want to get an idea of how skilled he is, he can shoot other bullets that have already been fired out of the air.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: In his first miniseries, he left the Suicide Squad to go in an unsanctioned killing spree. His boss, Amanda Waller, realized he was hunting down everyone involved in his young son's kidnapping and death, and once she checked all involved were scum the likes of which managed to disgust her, promptly decided to ignore Deadshot's activities, knowing he was going to return to Belle Reve at some point.
  • Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand: Doesn't actually want to kill Batman, and Bats finally calls him on the fact that he always "pulls his shots" by hesitating or trying a Trick Bullet.
  • Lack of Empathy: He likes to come across as completely heartless, and he's certainly less caring than most people.
    Catman: If you were driving and you saw a little girl lying in the street, would you stop and help her?
    Deadshot: Well, I wouldn't go out of my way to run her over at least.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Has this dynamic with Scandal in the Secret Six, even sometimes calling her "sis."
  • Morality Chain: It has been implied that his love for his daughter (as well as his complicated relationship with Batman) are the only things stopping him from going off the deep end.
  • Morality Pet: His daughter Zoe. Her mother, kinda. He supports them financially, and is very against his daughter seeing violence.
  • Multi-Ranged Master: Implied - when he runs out of bullets in Skartaris he orders Black Alice to find him a bow, or a sling, or anything that shoots.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Would you pick a fight with a guy called Deadshot?
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Delivered multiple ones to a gang of neo-Nazi thugs in one issue of Secret Six after he foiled their robbery, humiliated them, and left one of them without an eye. They evidently didn't learn that continuing to fuck with the guy who thoroughly put them in their place was an incredibly stupid idea.
  • One-Man Army: Has the highest known body count of the core members of the Six; this is what attracts Jeannette.
  • Only in It for the Money: He's not really sadistic or anything, he just wants money.
  • Parental Substitute: More properly, Big Brother Substitutes - he tends to gravitate towards replacement sibling figures, most notably Rick Flag and most interestingly Batman.
  • Pet the Dog: After learning about how Black Alice thinks she gave her father cancer, he forces the doctor (who is pretty sure it was Alice who gave it to him) to call and reassure her that it couldn't possibly have been her fault. Although, he might have just done this to make her a more effective team member.
    • There's also his interaction with his daughter Zoe and her mother. The money he makes as a mercenary gets sent directly to them.
  • Porn Stache: It's even been called this, and he's specifically mentioned that people have said less-than-flattering things about it.
  • Professional Killer: A lot of his jobs are mercenary gigs, but he generally tries to stick with hitman work. Batman once managed to save a witness Deadshot had been hired to kill by freezing his employer's bank accounts, suspending Deadshot's pay.
  • Race Lift: Traditionally a white guy in the comics, Deadshot is played by Will Smith in Suicide Squad (2016).
  • The Sociopath: During the Blackest Night crossover, Yasemin (now a Black Lantern) comments that she thought he was this, but he does in fact have emotions buried deep inside. This is accompanied by a visual of his body being mostly black with a few points of color bleeding through.
    • After a brief fight in which Lawton non-fatally shoots William Heller, Batman asks the assassin why he didn't kill Heller. Deadshot shrugs and points out his boss only told him to shoot Heller, not kill him. An irritated Batman then asks Floyd if he doesn't have any sort of moral code. Deadshot's laconic answer:
    Deadshot: What for? Nobody hiring me has one.
  • Straw Nihilist: Some portrayals of him verge on this. In the Ostrander miniseries, he tells his psychiatrist that he feels all talk about how precious life is fell flat after he accidentally killed his brother, the one person he idolized in the world... and felt nothing. This attitude was only reinforced when he became a criminal and still felt nothing after taking life after life.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: He's the defining example of Improbable Aiming Skills in DC and always hits his mark... unless he's going up against Batman, or really anyone with plot relevance. Then he'll miss for some reason.
  • Super Wrist-Gadget: His trademark weapons, which are automatic and silenced.
  • Talk to the Fist: If you're on his bad side and he wants to know something, tell him in a quick and concise manner unless you want to get a hole blown in you. Agrees with Tuco that "if you're gonna shoot, shoot. Don't talk."
  • Ten Paces and Turn: Will shoot you In the Back before you get three paces.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The most notable one, in Suicide Squad (1987) #22, ended with him killing a U.S. Senator in front of a crowd of police, then firing at them.
  • Weak, but Skilled: By no means is Deadshot a weakling, in fact for a normal civilian he is someone you don't want to pick a fight with even unarmed. That being said, he's not up to par in hand-to-hand combat when compared to the premier martial artists of the DCU, not to mention the ones with powers. He compensates for that by being a ranged fighter with his deadly precision using firearms, and when forced to fight he never fights fair.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Suggests this on almost every Suicide Squad mission. Even when it's not an assassination. Telling him to do something "by any means necessary" is practically inviting him to massacre everyone involved.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Or kneecap a girl, sucker-frag a girl, etc.
  • Would Hurt a Child: While he doesn't go out of his way to kill children, it has been shown that he has no qualms against it.
    • His "dream assassination" was revealed to be killing a class of kindergarten students (something he attempts to do after selling his soul to Neron) If not for the intervention of the Justice League he would have the blood of several innocent children on his hands.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: His parents' attitude, and to a degree, his own. His brother was the golden boy of the family, and no one worshiped him more than Floyd. His old butler mentioned that everyone who met Edward thought Floyd would be just as bright, and tended to be disappointed by him.
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