New York City is one of the most important settings in the Marvel Universe, or the MU. Matt Murdock was one of the first characters in what became a massive group of NY-based heroes when he began his career as Daredevil. Murdock has carved out his niche as the guardian of Hell’s Kitchen, where he fights a recurring cast of villains. Bullseye is at the top of that list of the hero’s opponents. Since debuting in Daredevil #131, Bullseye has become Daredevil’s nemesis, as few characters have managed to torment the Man Without Fear to the extent that this assassin has. The villain’s backstory is murky at best; even his true name is a mystery. He is frequently called Lester, which is what we’ll use here, but he’s also gone by Benjamin Poindexter, Leonard and Shelton Pendergrass. Despite this mystery, one thing is certain: Bullseye is one of the deadliest assassins in the MU.
Lester’s relationship with Daredevil is one of the most heated rivalries in comics. As a result, the villain made his debut on the big screen in Daredevil (2003,) which served as Murdock’s first foray into the movies. Similarly, the Netflix show of the same name is incorporating Bullseye into its third season. Lester, or whatever name you call him, has become one of Marvel’s most famous villains in recent years. Some fans think Bullseye is just a run-of-the-mill mercenary but he’s much more than that. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of the top twenty facts that you need to know about the bane of Daredevil’s existence.
20. SMALL SCREEN DEBUT
Bullseye will make his MCU in the third season of Daredevil. Wilson Bethel will bring the character to life, and it’s a safe bet that, as in the comics, the assassin will be under the employ of the Kingpin.
Wilson Fisk will likely be one of the main villains in the upcoming season. After Daredevil got the better of Fisk last time, the Kingpin will be hungry for revenge. Bullseye, more than most other characters, is a perfect fit to help Kingpin even the score. The exact details of Bullseye’s involvement in the show are unknown (though heavily hinted at in the trailer) but it’s safe to assume he’ll be a major player.
19. UNCANNY MARKSMANSHIP
In Bullseye’s hands, anything is a weapon. His marksmanship skills make even the most mundane objects, like playing cards, paper planes and toothpicks, lethal tools. As a result, Bullseye can always be considered armed and dangerous because he’s one of the most resourceful villains in the MU.
Bullseye’s marksmanship also extends to firearms. He’s an expert with traditional weaponry, which makes him a well-rounded mercenary. In a universe full of assassins like Deadpool and Taskmasker, Bullseye stands out. While this villain has a preference for intentionally sharp objects, like blades and darts, he’ll weaponize anything he can get his hands on.
18. DARK AVENGER
Once upon a time, Bullseye traded his usual weapons for Clint Barton’s bow and arrow. When Norman Osborn rose to power after “Secret Invasion”, the former Green Goblin placed Bullseye on his Dark Avengers team. The assassin is given Hawkeye’s name and costume, though the man under the mask remained his villainous self.
Osborn used Bullseye as the team’s resident mercenary; the early days of the Dark Avengers saw Bullseye unsuccessfully take on Deadpool and Morgana le Fey. While Osborn let Bullseye pretend to be a hero, it was only a matter of time before the assassin showed his true colors once more.
17. FORMER THUNDERBOLT
Before his time with the Dark Avengers, Bullseye served with the Thunderbolts. As part of the Superhuman Registration Act, many villains were pressed into duty as they were tasked with hunting down anti-registration superpowered individuals. Subsequently, Osborn assembled a new group of Thunderbolts led by Moonstone, and Bullseye was a member of the latest iteration of the team.
Osborn’s Thunderbolts were dysfunctional, to say the least, but they had their time to shine. Bullseye couldn’t be trusted, though, so he had an electric nano-chain implanted in his nervous system. Additionally, Osborn tried to keep the assassin out of the public eye in order to avoid negative publicity.
16. IMPORTANT ROLE IN SECRET INVASION
Speaking of “Secret Invasion”, Bullseye played a crucial role in the event’s climactic battle. As a member of the Thunderbolts, Bullseye fought the Skrulls in Washington DC and also participated in the war’s turning point in Central Park. But, unlike some of the other characters, Bullseye turned the tide in the battle, which makes the assassin, ironically, one of the event’s “heroes.”
Bullseye gets a rocket launcher from the Zeus, the Thunderbolts’ mobile ship, and uses the weapon to take down the Yellowjacket Skrull. Bullseye’s actions tipped the scales in the battle, which proves that, for better or worse, the assassin is a power player in the MU.
15. FRENEMIES WITH DEADPOOL
Bullseye and Deadpool haven’t always seen eye to eye — in fact, they’ve battled each other several times through the years. But Daniel Way’s run on Deadpool extended the relationship between the two characters so that they met long before they suited up as a villain and an antihero.
In Deadpool Vol. 2 #11, Way revealed that the Wade Wilson and Lester knew each other as children. Like most stories about the backstories of these mercenaries, readers should take this information with a grain of salt. Bullseye frequently fabricates his backstory and Deadpool can never really remember his. Regardless, Wilson and Bullseye can’t seem to quit each other as friends or as enemies.
14. RIVALRY WITH PUNISHER
Bullseye and the Punisher are like two sides of the same coin — Frank Castle is often viewed as an antihero but he has more in common with Bullseye than some fans would like to admit. Due to these similarities, the two characters have crossed paths repeatedly over the years. Multiple mobsters have hired Lester to deal with the Punisher but, unfortunately for the mercenary, Castle is the best there is at what he does.
13. A SOLDIER IN THE AGE OF APOCALYPSE
“Secret Invasion” wasn’t the only event in which Bullseye made a name for himself. In the classic “Age of Apocalypse” crossover, the assassin, also known as Lester, was one of mankind’s most valuable soldiers. Mikhail Rasputin held Lester, and many other humans, prisoner. When Bullseye returned to the land of the free, he led a small revolution with other freedom fighters.
With the help of Sue Storm and Ben Grimm, Lester’s rebels successfully captured an enemy-owned tower. In this story, Lester is relatively heroic; he’s a valuable soldier and he doesn’t act insane like his main MU counterpart. Clearly, even the most evil villains can have virtuous moments.
12. ADAMANTIUM-INFUSED SKELETON
Bullseye didn’t need any man-made improvements; for a long time, he’s been one of the most dangerous assassins in comic book history. But the character’s body has been artificially improved, as it has been infused with one of the strongest metals in the MU.
After sustaining severe injuries, including a broken spine, due to a long fall, Lord Dark Wind fuses adamantium, the metal that makes Wolverine so durable, to Lester’s bones. This process has strengthened Bullseye’s skeleton, which makes him an even more formidable adversary. Additionally, the adamantium makes Bullseye more flexible, which is a helpful skill when it’s time to cut and run.
11. MYSTERIOUS BACKSTORY
No one really knows anything about Bullseye’s origins. His real name is unconfirmed — he’s often called Lester but he has also used the name Benjamin Poindexter. The villain has lied about his backstory so most of his true background remains unknown.
One origin story in Elektra #2 portrayed young Bullseye as a kid that came from a rough childhood. Other stories have written that the NSA recruited the assassin, due to his marksmanship skills, and the villain exploited the opportunity for nefarious purposes. Maybe Bullseye will get a genuine origin story someday but until then, his backstory is shrouded in mystery.
10. FORMER BASEBALL PLAYER
While Bullseye has a mysterious backstory, in at least one take on the character’s origins, he was a baseball player. In Bullseye: Greatest Hits #2, writer Daniel Way established that Bullseye was a baseball phenom in high school. The teenager was so talented, in fact, that he turned down a college scholarship and went right to the minor leagues.
Bullseye’s talent quickly led him to the Big Leagues, where he no-hit the opposing team until he got bored. At that point, the future assassin followed his manager’s request to take the last batter out. However, instead of striking out the player, Bullseye provided a glimpse of his oncoming life of crime
9. ASSASSIN FOR HIRE
Bullseye works for the highest bidder, no matter who it is. He’s often associated with Kingpin, who has some of the deepest pockets in the MU. At various points, Bullseye has been hired from everyone from mobsters to Mysterio. Various employers have tasked the villain with countless targets but Daredevil is one of Lester’s few consistent contracts.
Lester was also on the team that tried to steal the Identity Disk which was believed to contain vital information about the world’s superheroes. For a guy that has experienced a lot of professional failure, Bullseye continues to be on the shortlist of Marvel’s mercenaries.
8. CONTRACT ON KINGPIN
Bullseye isn’t a firm believer in the saying “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Loyalty isn’t high on the list of Lester’s personal values, which is why he’ll quickly turn against former employers if a better offer comes along. For example, although he frequently works with the Kingpin, he has also attempted to add Wilson Fisk to his list of completed contracts.
When Fisk attempts to sabotage rival crime bosses, the competition tries to stop him by hiring Bullseye. After a chaotic scene in which Fisk’s wife is presumably the victim of an explosion, Fisk briefly appoints Bullseye as his top lieutenant. It seems these two villains are just meant to work together.
7. OBSESSED WITH DAREDEVIL
Bullseye is usually depicted as a mentally unstable villain. Part of is personality includes some obsessive tendencies — he always excessively studies his targets, and this tendency is especially true in terms of his relationship with Daredevil.
Several unsuccessful encounters with the Man Without Fear tarnished Bullseye’s reputation, so Lester made it his life’s work to defeat Daredevil. Bullseye refuses to leave Daredevil alone and the obsession grew worse when, at one point, Bullseye developed a brain tumor (the illness forced him to view every person he encountered as if they were Daredevil). These two characters aren’t actively fighting each other but that will likely change.
6. DAREDEVIL COPYCAT
Bullseye’s obsession with Daredevil went to a different level when the villain masqueraded as the Man Without Fear. After a fight with Mephisto, Matt Murdock loses his memory of his costumed life, and Bullseye manages to get the Daredevil costume. Unlike Murdock, the villain doesn’t exactly use the costume for noble purposes.
While wearing the costume, Bullseye still commits a variety of crimes, including burglary, and carelessly throws some of his stolen money into the streets. The Kingpin does not approve of Lester’s flashy crime spree. Luckily, Murdock dons the Bullseye costume and challenges the wannabe Daredevil. Shortly thereafter, everything returned to normal.
5. DEDUCES DAREDEVIL’S IDENTITY
For superheroes, a secret identity is crucial. The anonymity that comes with a mask allows heroes to protect their loved ones. When Bullseye set his sights on Daredevil, it was only a matter of time before he learned about the man under the mask. As with other targets, Bullseye extensively studied Daredevil. When the villain read some of Matt Murdock’s childhood medical records, Lester connected the dots.
This newfound knowledge gave the assassin countless new ways to torment his target. Luckily, the Kingpin didn’t buy into Bullseye’s attempt to share the news. Still, the villain demonstrated that, due to his intellect, he’s much more dangerous than a typical mercenary.
4. WREAKS HAVOC IN DAREDEVIL’S LIFE
Daredevil has had a few notable love interests over the years. Specifically, some of the character’s most famous relationships are with Elektra and Karen Page. When Bullseye failed to take out Daredevil, he turned his attention to the people closest to the Man Without Fear.
Page had been a mainstay in Matt Murdock’s life since she debuted in Daredevil #1 (1964.) Fans were devastated when she became a victim of the rivalry between the hero and Bullseye. Elektra was similarly victimized, and this moment has become one of the most famous scenes in Daredevil’s long history. Bullseye has continually wreaked havoc in Murdock’s personal life, which makes this conflict one of the most relationships in comic book history.
3. MOVIE LOOK TRANSFERRED TO COMICS
Sometimes, comic books like to match their movie counterparts, so they’ll change a character’s appearance to match how they look on the big screen. In Bullseye’s case, two different series have adopted the character’s physical appearance in Daredevil (2003.)
In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Benjamin Poindexter had a bullseye mark on his forehead, like Colin Farrell’s version of the character from the movie. A more accurate comparison can be found in PunisherMAX #6, where Shelton Pendergrass, or Bullseye, has a tattoo of his namesake on his forehead. Plus, as in the movie, this version of the character didn’t wear a costume. Pendergrass also matched the truly sadistic personality that the film displayed.
2. EXPERT FIGHTER
Even when you take away his weapons, Bullseye is a skilled combatant. He’s an expert martial artist and his physical conditioning is comparable to that of a professional athlete (this training could be linked to his potential background as a baseball player). The aforementioned adamantium in his skeleton gives Bullseye another advantage in a fight.
Bullseye can nearly match Daredevil blow for blow and the villain’s mind is also one of the sharpest in the Marvel Universe. Sure, Bullseye doesn’t always come out on top, but there’s a reason that Lester is considered a dangerous adversary that could give challenge even the most powerful heroes.
1. WORST OF THE WORST
Putting it frankly, no one in the MU likes Bullseye. He just rubs people the wrong way. Sure, villains hire him to complete a job, but Lester doesn’t have any strong alliances. Kingpin has turned on him as a result of the assassin’s failures. Bullseye’s lack of alliances have caused the villain to remain, for the most part, a one-man band.
Sure, Norman Osborn gave him a shot on the Thunderbolts and, subsequently, the Dark Avengers. But Osborn gave Lester a very short leash. You know it’s bad when even Norman Osborn doesn’t trust you. Aside from these two teams, Bullseye has, for the most part, operated on his own because of his off-putting personality and his inability to be a team player.
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