Family Values From The Barrel Of A Gun: Gage talks "Deadshot"

Floyd Lawton, A.K.A. Deadshot, is one of the deadliest assassins in the DC Universe. He could also be a candidate for a Father of the Year award, if not for all the killing. In the current "Deadshot" mini-series from DC Comics he learns that a night spent with a prostitute years ago resulted in a daughter. Deadshot tracks down his daughter and her mother living in one of the worst neighborhoods in Star City, a slum over run by warring gangs. When his child's mother turns down the money he offers them to move, Deadshot does what he does best, he uses his marksman skills for a little urban renewal, declaring war on the gangs that populate the neighborhood. CBR News caught up with series writer Christos N Gage to learn more about what makes Deadshot tick.

The "Deadshot" mini-series was born when Jimmy Palmiotti introduced his friend Gage, a writer for NBC's "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" to DC's VP of Editorial Dan Didio. "Dan and I had lunch and talked over ideas I had," Gage told CBR News. "Between our combined creative brainstorming, we came up with the premise for the 'Deadshot' mini. I wrote up a proposal, it went through the proper channels, and here we are!"

Gage had been a fan of Deadshot for many years. "I met Deadshot in the pages of the John Ostrander's 'Suicide Squad' series and fell in love with the character. He was so multi layered and complex, not to mention totally unpredictable. One of my favorite Deadshot stories has to be the Suicide Squad tale when Deadshot fulfills his orders to stop Rick Flagg from killing Senator Cray by shooting Cray himself. I also loved his interplay with Count Vertigo when Vertigo inquired if Deadshot would kill him should he ask him to."

Deadshot's personality traits make him the perfect killer and ironically the perfect family man. "Deadshot's main characteristics are a complete lack of concern for his own life and safety; a total numbness to emotion, which makes him a consummate professional; and the ability to kill with cold efficiency, " Gage said. "But somewhere deep inside, he does have his own unique sense of honor, and there are emotions buried deep inside him, as we saw when his son died in the first 'Deadshot' miniseries and as we will see in the current one."

Gage and editor Joey Cavalieri decided that Deadshot's costume needed a slight tweaking for their urban crime tale. "Our editor, Joey Cavalieri, felt we needed a less super-heroish look for the character because of the story's street level feel," Gage said. "I agreed, so Steven Cummings [the series' artist] designed the outfit, which I think is great, using elements of real-world gear used by various countries' militaries though I do love his classic look as well."

In addition to his trade mark wrist magnums, Deadshot added a pair of normal pistols to his arsenal. "As for using handguns in addition to the wrist-guns, it was just for a bit of variety, so he could switch back and forth," Gage explained.

Issues 1 and 2 of Deadshot are currently on sale. Issue 3 goes on Sale February 2nd and might be Gage's favorite issue in the series. "It features a huge brawl between Deadshot and Green Arrow, the two best marksmen in the DCU, and a turning point in Deadshot's relationship with Michelle [the mother of his child]," Gage said. "Issue 4 answers the question of what happens when a man with a gun takes on a bulletproof opponent, and #5, the final chapter, has Deadshot in a battle to the death with a small army of super-villains from the Suicide Squad days. It's called "Lawton's Last Stand," and some folks won't be walking away!"

Gage credits John Ostrander, the writer he believes defined the character of Deadshot, as the main influence on his "Deadshot" mini-series. He told CBR News that his other influences include, "Everyone who has influenced me as a writer, from Neal Baer, the head writer on SVU, to Frank Miller."

The current "Deadshot" mini-series is a complete, self-contained story, but Gage hopes it wont be the last time he pens the adventure of DC's deadliest gun slinger. "I have ideas for many, many more tales of our favorite assassin that I would love to tell in whatever format I am allowed. The chances of that happening depend, as always, on sales, so if you want to see more, pre-order your copies of the 'Deadshot' mini and tell your friends how much you like it. Maybe pick up an extra copy for them so they can see for themselves! I've heard some great stories of both readers and retailers spreading the word about how much they like this book, for which I am deeply grateful."

Gage would also jump at a chance to write a new "Suicide Squad" title. "Absolutely, yes! Again, the chances of it happening probably depend on sales, as well as DC's overall plans for their universe."

In addition to "Deadshot," Gage has written a three-part Batman story set to appear in "Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight," but Gage noted "due to the fluctuating schedule of that particular book I am not completely sure when it will see print. Hopefully in '05. And I am currently talking with folks at DC about what else we could work on together. Hopefully Deadshot is just the beginning!"

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