Art by Tony S. Daniel and Matt Banning
Two origins have been told of Deadshot, the world’s greatest marksman, and these two origins are seemingly opposites. The first tells of a young and rich Floyd who was neglected, while his older brother, Eddie, was favored by both parents. Floyd idolized his older brother as a result. When their father was discovered to be unfaithful, the Lawtons’ mother asked the boys to kill him. Eddie followed the orders while Floyd was reluctant. Eddie managed to paralyze their father before Floyd was able to stop him with a hunting rifle. Floyd intended to only disarm his brother, but he missed when the branch he sat upon broke. This caused the shot to land in the forehead of his brother, killing him instantly.
The second origin tells of an abusive father who frequently beat Eddie and Floyd. However, Eddie would often take the brunt of the beatings for his younger brother. One day, their mother encouraged Floyd to kill his father. He grabbed a hunting rifle and took aim. He had his father in his sites, but he flinched before he fired. The bullet missed his father and hit Eddie right between the eyes. Floyd promised no bullet of his would ever miss again.
Floyd eventually received training from the assassin David Cain, and, in his first appearance, he became a gun-toting vigilante in Gotham City. He wore a top hat, monocle, and domino mask. He never missed, but he never shot to kill. This endeared him to Gotham, as the city was missing Batman and Robin at the time. When the Dynamic Duo returned, they were immediately suspicious of Deadshot. After investigating, Batman discovered that he is actually working with the criminal elite to distract law enforcement from their activities. He learns of Deadshot’s secret identity and arrests Floyd Lawton.
Deadshot eventually breaks out of prison, and he arms himself with the infamous laser monocle which he actually stole from the Penguin. This time, he wears a white mask, a red suit, and wrist-mounted guns. He blames Batman for ruining his life and attempts to kill him. He is defeated and imprisoned once more.
After more clashes between Deadshot and the heroes of Earth, including battles with the Flash, the Creeper, Talia al Ghul, and the Human Target, he is recruited by Amanda Waller to be a member of the clandestine Task Force X in return for time off from prison. He agrees and is put on the Suicide Squad. His first two missions on the Squad were the assassination of Brimstone, a massive being created by Darkseid, and an attempted assassination of Captain Boomerang, who was threatening to go public about Task Force X. The first was successful, but the second was thwarted by Rick Flag and Enchantress.
Despite being able to go free, Deadshot decides to stay on the Suicide Squad. Some say it is due to a death wish, but Deadshot says it is for the challenge. His following missions bring him to killing the villains known as Manticore and Jaculi, impersonating a violent racist known as William Hell, attempting the arrest of Firestorm, almost killing Blue Beetle, fighting an army of Manhunter androids, coming to blows with Batman, and doing battle with Justice League International.
Deadshot is eventually given a contract to save his son by his ex-wife. He takes a leave of absence from the Suicide Squad to complete this. He goes on a violent rampage, gunning down droves of criminals to find him. His son, however, is killed by a vicious pedophile named Wes Anselm. Deadshot kills the man, and he discovers his mother was the one who orchestrated the kidnapping, wanting Floyd to finally kill his father. He cripples her and returns to the Suicide Squad.
A man named Derek Tolliver and a senator named Cray begin trying to manipulate the Suicide Squad for their own ends. Flag decides to assassinate the two of them, but Waller sends the Squad to stop him. Deadshot arrives on the scene at the Lincoln Memorial Rick Flag about to kill Cray, and Deadshot kills the senator instead. Deadshot convinces Flag to escape when the police arrive, and Deadshot enters into a shootout with law enforcement. He is eventually brought down and hospitalized by multiple gunshot wounds.
Deadshot was hired by Kobra to kill Deathstroke and Peacemaker. This leads to a clash agains the two, but Peacemaker sends Deadshot back with a higher bid to kill Kobra. He is then captured by Kobra, but he escapes and kills captor, a woman named Gennifer. He is paired with Bronze Tiger to go after Deathstroke again when the mercenary is framed for treason, and he manages to succeed in this task.
When the demon Neron began empowering supervillains, he brings Deadshot in to make a deal. Deadshot accepts and is teamed with other assassins Bolt, Merlyn, Deadline, and Chiller. They become the “Killer Elite” and are told to pull off their dream murder. Deadshot tries to blow up a kindergarten class to “demonstrate the meaninglessness of life”, but he is stopped by Obsidian. The two do battle, and Obsidian wins.
Deadshot’s subsequent contracts involve the hunting of Hawk and Dove, Batman, and an invitation to a false Secret Society (which was in reality a ruse posed by the Justice League).
He joins up with the Killer Elite for a riot at Iron Heights. However, everyone there becomes infected with Joker Venom, as the Joker is in the midst of a globe-trotting crime spree because he believes he is dying. Due to previous tension on the Squad between Captain Boomerang and Deadshot, including Boomerang allowing Deadshot’s uniform to be stolen in a drunken stupor and Deadshot attempting to kill Boomerang by shooting his hands to get him to fall off of a cliff, Deadshot infects Captain Boomerang with the Venom as well. However, the riot and Deadshot are brought down by the Flash.
Deadshot then discovers he has a daughter named Zoe who lives in a crime-ridden portion of Star City. He wants to help her, so he engages in a violent war on crime in the area. Green Arrow attempts to halt this, but Deadshot manages to kill many of the gangs infesting this borough. He eventually convinces Green Arrow to watch this portion of the city more, and Lawton fakes his own death to escape capture by the Emerald Archer.
During the Infinite Crisis, Deadshot was recruited to be a part of the first iteration of the Secret Six under Lex Luthor, and he finds a friend and confidant in fellow criminal Catman. This operation allowed him to give large sums of money to Zoe and her mother in Star City.
Lawton rejoined the Suicide Squad to round up a number of rogues and imprison them on a far-off planet called Salvation. He becomes obsessed with bringing in Pied Piper and the Trickster, even going so far as to kill the Trickster. In the end, he and fellow Squad-member Bane are tricked into being sent to Salvation too. This planet is discovered to be a hellscape, and the rogues there are attacked by Parademons. The villains eventually find a teleporter and are able to return to Earth.
Deadshot returned to the Secret Six and was among their roster during the Blackest Night and the events that led up to Flashpoint.
After the universal rebirth of the New 52, Deadshot is threatened by the Kobra Cult who kidnap his daughter. Deadshot turns to Batman for help. Batman agrees, but tells Lawton that he cannot kill anyone. They manage to save Zoe, but Deadshot reneges on the deal and kills the man that held her. Batman takes him down and brings him in as a result.
This led to his renewed membership on the Suicide Squad. He has since partaken in a number of new missions with the Suicide Squad, including fighting off a techno-organic zombie-like virus, an espionage mission in Russia to kill an oil baron which led to a clash with the Rocket Reds, killing an attempted replacement named Will Evans, and many other violent and deadly operations.
Deadshot is a man dedicated to his craft. He has a complicated personality and whiplashing emotions. He is not interested in wealth, but he continues his assassin work regardless. He doesn’t seem to care much for humanity, but the Suicide Squad seems to have awoken some dormant wonting to put his skills to some form of a positive use. He is also always looking for a challenge, and the Squad has given him this as well. He cares deeply for those who do manage to get close to him. The tale of Zoe shows this, as Floyd seems to feel that, if he brought her into this wretched world, he will do anything to make her stay here better.
He also values his reputation greatly. He is the world’s greatest marksman, and he will maintain that reputation no matter what. If dirty work must be done, it may as well be done well. These philosophies are what have earned Deadshot the place as my 7th Favorite DC Villain of all time.