Name: Floyd Lawton
Voiced by Michael Rosenbaum
into a wealthy—but loveless—family, Floyd Lawton found himself constantly
compared to his older, more successful brother Edward by his parents.
Still, he loved his brother, and took solace in the fact that he excelled
in marksmanship. However, this bond
was tested the day that their mother, tired of years of infidelity and otherwise
cruel treatment, asked her two sons to kill their father.
Floyd refused, but Edward agreed to do it, and locked his brother in a
boathouse before he could warn him. Kicking
down the boathouse door, Floyd grabbed a rifle and, finding himself locked out
of the house, climbed a tree just in time to see Edward confront his father in
the library. Not wanting to
seriously hurt his brother, Floyd attempted to shoot Edward in the arm—to make
him drop his gun—but the tree branch he was sitting on gave way, dropping
Floyd and making his shot go bad. In
the end, Edward succeeded in shooting his father through the spine, crippling
him, but was shot dead the next moment by his brother’s errant bullet.
Not wanting to drag the
as he grew older, he tried to make the best of things—he married, had a son,
and used his wealth to become a fixture of Gotham City’s social scene—but
these acts did nothing but perpetuate his boredom.
He was inspired, however, by the stories of Batman and, seeking
excitement and a way to hurt his parents, he left his wife and child to adopt
the costumed identity of Deadshot. Dressed
in a tuxedo, domino mask, and brandishing twin guns,
passed himself off as a new crimefighter, whose quick work of local criminals
was calculated to discredit the Dark Knight and to establish himself as the new
Upon his release from prison, Deadshot designed a new costume—complete with wrist-mounted magnums and a telescopic infrared sight built into his mask—and began to hire himself out as a professional assassin. One of the world’s best marksmen—easily the equal of Green Arrow or Batman himself—Deadshot will take any assignment, no matter how dangerous, as years of torment over his past have led to his development of a death wish. While not truly suicidal—he won’t take his own life directly—Deadshot has still been known to take chances with his safety, such as opening fire in a pressurized aircraft cabin, arming his targets so that they may have a chance of killing their assassin, or taking on superhuman targets like the Justice League. In addition, he is also known for making his targets intentionally difficult; preferring to use elaborate ricochets and other trick shots to claim victims rather than with a simple shot. It doesn’t matter to him, however, as the life he continually risks is one devoid of meaning to him.
Hounded by personal demons, hampered by ennui, and awaiting the inevitable, Deadshot spends each day impatiently watching death creep a little closer. The suspense is killing him.
Cartoon Network on Deadshot: "Deadshot, a mercenary for hire and a deadly accurate sniper, is employed by Orm to help incite the war between Atlantis and the surface dwellers of Earth. Deadshot is nearly Batman's equal when it comes to weapons and mechanics (courtesy of Cartoon Network)."
Bruce Timm on adapting killers and assassins: “Killers, in general, are hard to portray on American TV animation: the censors are very sensitive about death, period. We’ve gone through phases when they’ve asked us to not even say the words ‘death’ or ‘kill’ out loud (hence the overuse of euphemisms like ‘waste’ and ‘destroy’).
“[For example], I loved Curaré as a character and a concept, but the fact that she was never, ever allowed to kill anyone on [Batman Beyond] ultimately rendered her about as menacing as a wet firecracker. Not only were we not allowed even to imply that she killed anyone, or discreetly kill her victims off-stage, but we had to make sure that the audience knew that her victims were only put into comas. We literally had to spell that point out with dialogue—[thus] ‘The World’s Greatest Assassin’ became ‘The World’s Greatest Coma-Putter-Inner’ (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Bruce Timm on Deadshot: “It’s tricky to do a character like Deadshot in the animated world because Deadshot’s whole thing is that he’s, ‘The World’s Greatest Assassin.’ Well, in children’s programming, we can’t really ever kill anybody, so you have a guy who’s ‘The World’s Greatest Assassin,’ and yet he’s never allowed to do what he does best. [Still], we thought, ‘Well, if we’re going to use an assassin, let’s make it Deadshot…just like the Kanjar Ro [cameo] in "In Blackest Night."’ That was kind of an obvious nod to the comic book fans—it’s like, okay, you’re expecting an assassin and it turns out to be Deadshot [and the fans are] like, 'Wow, that’s kind of neat!' [He also] had…an interesting costume in the comics, so that gave him a much more interesting visual than if he had just been a hired thug.
“Voice-wise, Michael Rosenbaum, who plays the Flash for us, he’s…constantly doing impressions and goofing around…in between takes when we’re recording, and, earlier, he had done a Christopher Walken impression while he was goofing around one day. We thought, 'Wow, that was really great, that’s really funny impression…let’s use that someday!' So we ended up having him do the Christopher Walken voice in Return of the Joker. [Well,] one of the other goofy voices he had done was a really dead-on Kevin Spacey voice, so we remembered that and we thought, 'Wow, [it] would be really cool if the Kevin Spacey voice was Deadshot’s voice!’ It worked out really great (courtesy of the Justice League: Justice on Trial DVD).”
Michael Rosenbaum on Deadshot: “That was fun. Sometimes Bruce [Timm] will call me and say, ‘Hey, when you come in can you do a Christopher Walken? You know, a really creepy Christopher Walken. We need one of those.’ Sure. So then for Deadshot, he goes, ‘Can you do your Kevin Spacey?’ And you know how Kevin is […] so I did it and sometimes it works. He gives me the freedom to try stuff (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
nothing on what Batman said to Deadshot in "The Enemy Below": “Batman said, ‘I know where you live' (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Deadshot Model Design Sheet #1 | Deadshot Model Design Sheet #2
Deadshot Image #1 | Deadshot Image #2 | Deadshot Image #3
"Let me tell you something about me. Life is the most valuable thing we have, right? When you take a life that should mean something, right? When I killed my brother, I felt nothing. No guilt, no remorse—nothing. And he was the one person in the world I ever gave two damns about. They lied to me—about the importance of life. The only life anybody really cares about is their own and I don't even care about that.
"You understand? I'm just killing time, waiting to die."
Deadshot (to Dr. Marnie Herrs) from "Astride a Grave," Deadshot #4
In one of the first major surprises perpetuated by the creative team on this series, Deadshot appeared in "The Enemy Below" with no fanfare or advance warning, which offered a pleasant surprise for some comic book fans. However, as the cameo offered no background or insight into the character—his name wasn’t even mentioned—most people watching the show were left scratching their heads and wondering, “Who was that?” Meanwhile, some other comics-savvy individuals were no doubt disappointed with the use of Deadshot, as he is sometimes considered to be a second-rate version of Deathstroke, the Terminator and that his slot could have been filled by any one of DC Comics’ stable of assassins. However, the latter two groups would be surprised to learn that this character, who only had a few fleeting scenes in "The Enemy Below" and "Hereafter" (and a prominent role in "Task Force X"), is a character with a rich, developed history, and predates the Terminator by thirty years.
Making an almost unrecognizable debut in Batman #59 (1950), Deadshot appeared in “The Man Who Replaced Batman,” only one of the four stories featured in the issue. After that he disappeared from comic books, only to resurface with his more familiar costume and motif in Detective Comics #474 (1977). He managed to stay on as a member of Batman’s Rogues Gallery from then on, but it wasn’t until 1986, when writer John Ostrander picked up the character and utilized him for the Legends crossover event (1986-1987) and Suicide Squad (1987-1992), that the character’s fractured psyche was explored to any degree. It was there—as well as in the Deadshot limited series (1988)—that Ostrander changed Lawton from the one-note assassin into the complex, death-seeking character that has since appeared with increased regularity across the DC Universe.
In adapting Deadshot for Justice League, the creative team appears to have dropped the “death wish” angle of the character, as this Deadshot presents himself as being concerned with his safety (the Deadshot from the comics would have listened to Batman’s threat, turned to him, and said, “So?”) and unwilling to waste time hindering himself (Deadshot has been known for pulling his shots at Batman in the comics; this wasn’t an issue in "Hereafter," where he nearly killed the Dark Knight with his wrist launcher). Still, the character’s ennui with life is still a constant, if Michael Rosenbaum’s curt, sarcastic Kevin Spacey imitation is any sign. As for his costume, it is similar to his raiment from the comics, but with the color yellow eliminated, the remaining colors darkened, and the gray shorts removed; offering an updated, stylish version of a uniform that has remained the same since the 1970s. Finally, in regards to his background, all that is known is that he’s an assassin, but one can interpret that he must be one of the better ones considering that Orm, an Atlantean resident who is otherwise unknowledgeable of the surface world, saw fit to hire him.
Again, some may complain about the use of
Deadshot instead of the more powerful Deathstroke, the Terminator (seen here),
but his absence from this series was unavoidable. While
a fixture of the DC Universe—and more deserving of the title “World’s
Greatest Assassin” considering his track record—he is most closely
associated with his appearances in Teen Titans books, thus his inclusion in League’s sister series
as the master villain Slade.
Still, Deadshot’s no slouch, and it should be noted that he succeeded
in killing the Terminator in Deathstroke:
the Hunted #41 (true, Slade discovered that he was immortal soon
afterwards, but this shouldn’t take away from
Making a return appearance in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X," it is likely that Deadshot will make further appearances, as he is a versatile character and, with the continued presence of Michael Rosenbaum on the series (he also voices the Flash), his voice actor will always be on hand. However, it is extremely unlikely that Deadshot’s aforementioned limited series will be adapted, as the story arc—in which Lawton’s mother arranges her grandson’s kidnapping in order to force her son to finish the job on his father—would be too harsh to utilize as subject matter, especially considering the story’s darker elements (his son is murdered by a child molester, Lawton shoots and paralyzes his mother, etc.). In fact, considering the character’s history in general, it’s safe to say that Deadshot will probably remain a generic hitman for the duration of the series.
Images courtesy of Toon Zone, Bird Boy, The World's Finest, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Ty Templeton, the Unused Batman Villain Database, Warner Bros. Online UK, DC Cartoon Archives, Who's Whose in the DC Universe, and DC Comics.
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