Deadshot: Beginnings

deadshot beginnings cover
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Gritty '80s series

Dark even by today's standards

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Deadshot/Detective Comics (Volume 1)/Batman (Volume 1)

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  John Ostrander/Kim Yale/Steve Englehart/Gerry Conway/Paul Levitz/Doug Moench

Artist:  Luke McDonnell/Marshall Rogers/Terry Austin/Don Newton/Bruce Patterson/Alfredo Alcala

# of Issues:  7

Release Date:  2013

detective comics #474 cover deadshot batman marshall rogers art

Detective Comics (1) #474

Reprints Deadshot #1-4, Detective Comics (1) #474, 518, and Batman (1) #369 (December 1977-December 1988).  Deadshot is a mercenary who will take any job if it pays enough.  When his son is targeted by kidnappers, Floyd Lawton must rescue him.  Rescuing his son means facing his past, and Floyd is going to have to face the family that he left behind…but even Deadshot sometimes misses his target.

Deadshot:  Beginnings collects the Deadshot mini-series (November 1988-December 1988) by John Ostrander, Kim Yale, and Luke McDonald.  In addition to this story arc, the collection features the issues that reintroduced Deadshot in Detective Comics (1) #474 (December 1977) after his first appearance in Batman (1) #59 (June 1950).

Deadshot was a dead character until Detective Comics #474 revived him.  As a one issue villain, Deadshot got the golden touch to return as a Batman villain and became a hot commodity in the ’80s as a member of the Suicide Squad.  Now, with appearances in Smallville, Arrow, and the big screen adaptation of Suicide Squad, Deadshot is big again…and it is fun to revisit his early appearances.

deadshot #4 cover review luke mcdonnell art

Deadshot #4

Deadshot had the unfortunate nature of being tied to guns.  Like Marvel’s Punisher, Deadshot killed people.  The Punisher was a anti-hero because he did it out of revenge for his family, but Deadshot was a villain because he did it for money (and the targets didn’t matter).  This worked well in the ’80s when most of these issues were written and comics were really dark…the Deadshot mini-series gets even darker.  Deadshot’s kid is preyed upon by a pedophile and Deadshot fails to save him…and Deadshot’s mother’s behind it.  It is dark, twisted, and even hardcore for a Suicide Squad comic…you feel a little dirty reading it.

I actually was more interested in the other entries in the comic instead of the Deadshot mini-series.  These show the return of the character and his early face-offs with Batman.  Like Bullseye, Deadshot “never misses”, but Batman seems to continue to get the best of him.  They are fun issues, but as stand alones, they don’t always work since there are other plots running through the issues that come up like Silver St. Cloud and Hugo Strange (who also resurfaced around this time).

Deadshot:  Beginnings is a good read for fans of the character or those who like origin stories.  Be warned, that the comic is dark by even today’s standards and doesn’t entirely feel like a Suicide Squad story either.  Deadshot is an interesting character if the right writers get a hold of them and Ostrander really had a feel for him…it just happened to be the gritty ’80s.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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