Character Origins: Deadshot

Character Origins: Deadshot

Who is Floyd Lawton, and why should you care?

Perhaps one of the greatest villains/Anti-heroes in DC comics. A character with evil motives, sure.. but a lot of love in his heart. Sure, that love is reserved for one special someone. But compared to the villains that are evil for the sake of being evil, analysing Floyd Lawton, AKA Deadshot’s motivations always makes for an interesting experience.

Created by Bob Kane, David Vern Reed and Lew Schwartz. Deadshot debuted over 65 years ago in Batman #59, Deadshot became the greatest and deadliest marksman in the DC Universe, his skills were highly sought after for many different teams such as the Secret Six, Underground Society and more. But his most famous participation is as a member of the Suicide Squad.

Deadshot as he appeared in Batman #59 after Batman readjusted Deadshot’s targeting system.

The origins of Deadshot, as told in the 4 part, 1988 miniseries “Deadshot” (written by John Ostrander with art by Luke McDonnel and Kim Yale) are as follows:

Floyd Lawton didn’t have the kindest of upbringings, just like most villains. He was born to a wicked and overbearing Mother, Genevieve Pitt Lawton and his Father George Lawton who made money in real estate. Floyd also had a brother Edward Lawton. Edward was considered the golden child of the two, he was healthy, fit and strong, whilst Floyd was treated as sickly and somewhat neglected. Regardless of that, Floyd grew up idolising his big brother.

When Genevieve found George Lawton to be unfaithful, she showed her darkest colours when she manipulated her boys into murdering their Father. Edward locked his brother Floyd in a boathouse whilst he sought to kill their Father off, but didn’t manage to get the kill shot and only managed to paralyse George. Whilst reloading and preparing for the final shot, Floyd broke out of the boathouse and grabbed his hunting rifle and climbed a tree, aiming to disarm his brother, but a branch snapped on the tree he was situating and the bullet strayed and hit Eddie Lawton right between the eyes. Floyd Lawton ended up saving the father he hated and killing the brother he loved.

In Deadshot’s first ever comic debut in Batman #59 (June, 1950) he somewhat paralleled Bruce Wayne. He was rich and something of a playboy. His original costume attire was a far cry from the iconic red and white costume we’ve grown to love. He sported a full on tuxedo with a top hat and a domino eye mask.
Deadshot masqueraded as a hero/vigilante in Gotham in the absence of Batman and Robin, seemingly doing good deeds for Gotham city.

When Batman discovers Deadshot’s true identity as Floyd Lawton, he exposes him not as a vigilante but as a criminal that has been working with gangs whilst Batman and Robin were on vacation. He even had his own Deadshot flood light given to him by Jim Gordon! Batman discovers that Deadshot is trying to set himself as the new overlord of crime in Gotham!

Before Batman and Deadshot have their confrontation, Batman readjusted the sites on Deadshot’s guns causing him to miss Batman and doubt himself as the worlds greatest marksman.

Did anybody else notice that shot of Will Smith in the first Suicide Squad trailer, sporting a fedora? I did. Whether or not that was a deliberate homage/easter egg I don’t know, but I sure hope so!

Will Smith as Floyd Lawton talking with his daughter, Zoe Lawton.
Will Smith as Floyd Lawton talking with his daughter, Zoe Lawton.

After serving jail time, he went out in the world and hired out services as an assassin. Craving a magnificent death he decides to join the Suicide Squad. He feels no reason to continue living, and, while he does not want to commit suicide, he simply does not care if he dies. During a hiatus from the Squad, his son was murdered by a pedophile, upon whom Deadshot later took revenge.

In Deadshot: Bulletproof (Deadshot #1-#5 & Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #214) When Deadshot discovers he has a daughter, Zoe, who lives with her mother in Star City. Upon learning this he loses his death wish/borderline suicidal persona, he discovers his daughter is living in a neighbourhood plagued by violence. Floyd decides to clean up the area by any means necessary, which saw him fighting heroes and villains alike.

In the New 52 incarnation of Deadshot, Lawton plays the role of field team leader in the Suicide Squad, often getting into conflict with either his handler Amanda Waller or his team-mates. Despite all of that he remains the best leader for the ‘Squad. He ends up falling into some bizarre romance with Harley Quinn and even sacrifices his life by shooting himself in the chest to save Harley from Regulus, leader of Basilisk.

Harley Quinn mourning Deadshot at his funeral.

DC/WB opted for Will Smith for a big-name draw to the movie, and honestly, it was a damn fine choice. And honestly, who plays a Father better than Will Smith. If I could pick a surrogate Father it may have to be him. I have very high hopes for this portrayal of an all-time classic character from DC Comics. If they go the New 52 route and add the twisted romance love triangle Harley Quinn, Joker and Deadshot I’m all for it. If you haven’t seen the 2015 movie ‘Focus’ starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie I recommend it. I can almost say with absolutely certainty that there will be a bunch of character interaction between Deadshot/Quinn so it’s reassuring to know these two can act well together, and when they do they steal the show.

Things to be on the look out for in Suicide Squad:

  • A strong personality and major superiority complex.
  • Strange romantic chemistry with Harley Quinn.
  • Love and unwavering loyalty to his daughter, Zoe Lawton.
  • Lots and lots of shooting and expert marksman skills, obviously.
  • Excellent strategist with the ability to make extreme decisions under large pressure
  • From what we’ve seen of Batman in the trailers we may get to see him interact with the man that possibly had him incarcerated.


Noah Moralis
26 year old writer hailing from Hastings, 1066. A die hard fan of all things Superhero related. Spends more than he earns on comic books, network subscriptions and movie tickets. He also uses way too much time talking about Superheroes, movies and TV shows - so now he writes about them too. Also a fan and writer of heavy/alternative music including reviews, features and interviews.


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