Bullseye (comics)

Bullseye

Bullseye
Promotional art by Mike Deodato
Marvel Comics
First appearanceDaredevil #131 (March 1976)
Marv Wolfman
John Romita Sr.
Characteristics
Alter egoUnknown
Team
affiliations
Thunderbolts, former member of Eric Slaughter's gang, worked for the Kingpin
Notable aliasesBen Poindexter, Lester
AbilitiesPerfect accuracy,
Expert martial artist and hand to hand combatant,
Spinal column, along with various other bones, laced with adamantium


Bullseye is a fictional supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr., he was drawn by Bob Brown in the character's first appearance, Daredevil #131 (March 1976).[1]

He is a psychopathic assassin. Bullseye uses the opportunities afforded by his line of work to exercise his homicidal tendencies and to work out his own personal vendetta against Daredevil.

While he possesses no superhuman powers, Bullseye is able to use almost any object as a lethal projectile, be it weapons like shuriken and sai or seemingly harmless objects like playing cards and pencils. He is one of Daredevil's chief foes, usually serving as antithesis to the hero by showing what one might become when blessed with keener abilities than most. His aim is uncanny, being at nearly metahuman levels.

Bullseye's real name and origins are unknown. He has used the name "Benjamin Poindexter" on several occasions, but there are also instances where his name is given as “Lester.” The miniseries Bullseye: Greatest Hits (2004) developed the character's backstory, but also revealed that some or all of it has been fabricated, probably by Bullseye himself. In this series Bullseyes name was Leonard.

Fictional character biography

Early life and back-story

Bullseye grew up in The Bronx, where he lived with his brother and his abusive father. His brother's main form of recreation was playing with rifles, leading Bullseye to become an expert shot. When he was 10 years old, his brother started a fire in their home in an unsuccessful attempt to kill their father. Shortly thereafter, Bullseye was placed in a foster home, and became a baseball player in high school. Bullseye was an extremely talented pitcher, and was offered a scholarship, but instead opted to enter the minor leagues. After three games, he was called up to play a sold-out Major League game. He had surrendered no hits the entire game, and in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, he became bored and requested the coach pull him from the game. The coach refused, and insisted that he finish the game. The opposing team's batter mocked him, accusing him of cowardice. Bullseye threw the ball at his head, killing him. As the ball struck, he said only one word: "Bullseye". He was barred from professional baseball and convicted of manslaughter.

This is a retcon of a previous origin story from Elektra #2, which depicts Bullseye growing up as a below average student in a trailer park with an alcoholic, physically abusive father. In this version of events, Bullseye fakes his father's suicide using a handgun set off by a toy arrow. None or all elements of this version may be true since it describes his father as possibly recovering from a recent divorce, fitting in perfectly with Daredevil's taunts in their confrontation during the "Hardcore" storyline.

His cold demeanor and unique skills, however, meant subsequent recruitment by the National Security Agency as an assassin was inevitable, and he was soon assigned to train Contras in Nicaragua. By the time he arrived, however, he claimed to have already been planning to leave the NSA. He had planned on robbing the Contras blind and fleeing, but soon discovered they were desperately poor. Bullseye made the best of the situation: within seven hours of being informed of their poverty, he had led the Contras in seizing a landing strip that the Colombian cocaine smugglers were using as a staging area before moving on to the United States. Without use of the airfield, the smugglers were unable to send new shipments. Bullseye set up Paolo, his hapless Nicaraguan translator, as the leader of the new force controlling the airfield, and let the word spread around. However, Paolo was nothing but a patsy. Bullseye planned to invite several organized crime heads to the airfield to broker a new deal with him as Paolo's supposed "right hand man". He would take their money and disappear, presumably leaving Paolo to suffer the wrath of the Mafia, Russian Mafia, Yakuza and various other criminal elements. This outcome is unknown, as before the deal could be finalized, the Punisher (Frank Castle) arrived.

Castle killed all the organized crime leaders in a fiery explosion from which Bullseye barely escaped. The two engaged in a fierce battle in which Bullseye was able to wound the Punisher and evade or disable several of his weapons. Bullseye then used some blood-reddened mud to paint a bull's-eye on his forehead, mocking Castle's inability to hit him. The fight concluded when Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrived, and the Punisher fled. Bullseye turned himself in to the D.E.A. agents and soon was assigned to infiltrate the Kingpin's criminal empire. He obtained a costume, fled yet again, and became one of the most dangerous hitmen in the world.

All of the above information was given by Bullseye during a subsequent interrogation by US intelligence. Just prior to escaping from custody, Bullseye confessed he made up some or his entire story to amuse himself; for example, he claims that he was really the one who started the fire which burned down his childhood home. The whole capture was a plan by the assassin to gain access to the prison where his father was being held. The story ends with Bullseye finally getting revenge on his father, leaving him to burn as the prison's security systems torched everything inside.

Costumed criminal career

From his earliest appearances, Bullseye is one of the more prominent enemies of Daredevil. However, he is quickly established as insane, degenerating further when a brain tumor creates hallucinations that everyone he meets is Daredevil. He begins killing random people under the belief that he is killing his nemesis. Daredevil later saves Bullseye's life, pulling his unconscious form from the path of a moving train. Bullseye is humiliated to be saved by his nemesis. The tumor is later successfully removed, though Bullseye's sanity is still in question.

Enlarge picture
Daredevil #181. Cover art by Frank Miller.


Cleared of his charges on the grounds of insanity, he finds that the Kingpin, his usual employer, has retained the services of a new assassin: Elektra, Daredevil's former lover. In one of the most famous deaths in comics history, the two villains fight, and Bullseye impales Elektra on her own sai, in Daredevil #181, saying, "You're good... but me, I'm magic". The line was later used in the film adaptation of Daredevil.

Disguised as a morgue attendant, Bullseye attempts to kill Daredevil (in his civilian identity as Matt Murdock) with a thrown projectile, which Daredevil casually blocks with his cane. After reviewing the medical reports from Murdock's childhood accident, Bullseye becomes convinced that Matt Murdock is Daredevil, and has been given superhuman powers by the chemical spill that blinded him.

Bullseye then attempts to sneak up on Matt and kill him in his own home, but is ambushed by Daredevil, who has fooled Bullseye into thinking that a dummy with an attached tape recorder was Murdock. Seeing Daredevil and "Murdock" at the same time, Bullseye is convinced that Daredevil is not Matt Murdock, after all. The battle ends up with the pair balanced on a telephone wire from which Bullseye falls and is caught by his opponent. Bullseye screams that he is not going to let the hero save him again, and tries to stab his rescuer, whereupon Daredevil simply drops him. The multi-story fall breaks Bullseye's back, paralyzing him.

He resumes his criminal activities after his skeleton is repaired with adamantium by Japanese scientist Lord Dark Wind. Bullseye made one appearance in the Captain America storyline "Streets of Poison," which is continued in the final issues of Ann Nocenti's five year long stint on Daredevil. Bullseye takes advantage of Daredevil's temporary amnesia by replacing the hero in an attempt to destroy his image. Eventually Bullseye has problems returning to his own identity, while Daredevil believes he was his own father, the boxer Jack Murdock. Both hero and villain switch costumes and fight, returning to their real identities but still painfully aware of their inherent similarity.

Bullseye later has another run-in with the Punisher when he is part of Frank's frame-up scheme that ends with Bullseye getting both of his hands shot and losing a finger to the Punisher's brutality. Bullseye encounters Deadpool and Gambit during another long interval in which the character is seldom used.

In the Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada authored story arc Bullseye was hired by the villain Mysterio to attack and confuse Daredevil. In the course of their battle, Bullseye killed Daredevil's longtime love interest, Karen Page, with one of Daredevil's own billy clubs.

When the next battle between Daredevil and Bullseye takes place, the assassin collapses in the middle of a fight, claiming that he has a brain tumor. He is brought to a maximum security prison, where he recounts his (at least partially falsified) origins to a federal agent (See Daniel Way and Steve Dillon mini-series Greatest Hits, as described above) who has been sent to interrogate him over the location of some radioactive materials which he has stolen prior to his incarceration. He manipulates another agent into attacking him until one of his teeth is knocked out. Bullseye uses the tooth as a weapon, killing the agent and working his way to the prison's infirmary, where he encounters and kills his father.

Under the new Daredevil creative team of authors Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev the Kingpin returns to New York to start over from scratch after he has been severely wounded in an assassination attempt and left in a coma while his wife had sold off most of his assets. Bullseye offers to kill Daredevil for him, later entering Daredevil's apartment and attempting to kill his old enemy's new girlfriend, Milla Donovan. Enraged and already near the breaking point, Daredevil savagely attacks Bullseye and throws him out the window.

Enlarge picture
Bullseye from "The Murdock Papers".


During the fight, the hero reveals to Bullseye that he knows his origin: that his real name is Lester, his mother was a prostitute, and that he never knew his father. This was first revealed in Kevin Smith's Daredevil: The Target miniseries which promised to explore Bullseye's origins, but had not yet been published past the first issue. He mocked the assassin's new 'Bullseye' tattoo and carved a new one over it with a rock.

Bullseye returns in the arc "The Murdock Papers", seeking purported documents confirming Daredevil's secret identity. After a brutal fight with Daredevil and Elektra, Bullseye flees into open traffic where he is hit by a truck, sustaining severe injuries.

In the next story arc, "The Devil in Cell-Block D", by the new creative team of Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark, Bullseye is imprisoned again at Ryker's Island, concurrently with Matt Murdock who was being held on federal charges after his identity as Daredevil is exposed. When the prison breaks out in riot, the Kingpin - who has foreknowledge of the impending attack - arranges for Bullseye to be released from his full-body-and-face restraints. Having previously cut a deal with Daredevil for mutual protection, Fisk planned to hijack a riot-squad chopper to escape the island. At the price of the deal, Matt Murdock finally refuses to let Bullseye leave prison. They fight, Daredevil dodging Bullseye's gunfire, which hits the Kingpin point-blank. Daredevil then beats Bullseye unconscious.

New Thunderbolts

Bullseye, along with many other villains, was recently recruited into the New Thunderbolts by Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic to hunt down anti-registration superheroes in the Marvel Civil War storyline. He operates invisibly and is not seen by the public. He is used as a last resort and has a nano-chain fed into his system, so if he disobeys orders, he will receive an electrical shock. Bullseye has been identified as one of the 142 registered superheroes who appear on the cover of the comic book #1. [2]

In Thunderbolts #115, Bullseye fights American Eagle. He underestimates his foe, and simultaneously he receives an electrical shock from the nano-chain in his system on order of Moonstone and is attacked by American Eagle. In the fight, American Eagle breaks Bullseye's neck. As a result of the damage sustained from both being attacked by a superhuman and being shocked by the nano-chain, Bullseye has been paralyzed and has incurred severe brain injury. The brain trauma has had collateral damage, such as his missing speech center.

Other appearances

DC vs. Marvel

In a cameo appearance in the "DC vs. Marvel" storyline, Bullseye found himself suddenly transported to the Batcave in Gotham City, as several heroes and villains from both universes began spontaneously crossing over. His battle with the Batman was not one of his prouder moments, as the Dark Knight not only evaded a batarang thrown by Bullseye, but also knocked him out in one punch , leaving the villain stating that the Batman "hits even harder than Daredevil..."

Identity Disc

Bullseye made an appearance as one of the motley crew of villains in Robert Rodi and John Higgins' controversial and infamous "Identity Disc" series.

Powers and abilities

Bullseye has perfect aim and an uncanny ability to use virtually any object as a lethal projectile. While not superhuman, Bullseye can accomplish many feats with thrown projectiles that are impossible outside of fiction. Some of his accomplishments include lacerating a person’s throat with a thrown playing card, spitting his own tooth through a human skull, tossing a paper airplane to a distant rooftop, and killing a person with a toothpick thrown through a window from a hundred yards away. However, Daredevil is a comparatively frustrating target because the superhero's enhanced senses provide enough information to allow him to counter the attacks most of the time. While incarcerated, Bullseye was diagnosed with a rare form of red/green color blindness called protanopia.

Bullseye has exceptional physical conditioning, with the agility, reflexes, stamina, and speed of a professional or even an Olympic athlete. One result of his naturally perfect athletic gift for hand-eye coordination is that his reflexes are honed to a level well beyond that of any normal human.

Due to various injuries, many of Bullseye's bones have been reinforced with strips of adamantium, with his spine now entirely composed of the substance. This has increased his resistance to injury in unarmed combat. This reinforcement also allows Bullseye to utilize acrobatic maneuvers impossible for an ordinary human (as his bones are protected from fracture). Unlike Wolverine, whose entire skeleton is laced with adamantium, Bullseye does not have a mutant healing factor. The details of the surgical procedure granting him this adamantium have not been disclosed.

Aside from his ability to throw projectiles with lethal accuracy, Bullseye is also an expert martial artist and is extremely talented in the use of edged weapons and conventional firearms. Often, his outspoken attitude during combat about using his abilities seems to have become one of his favorite weapons: intimidation. As such, he believes that his attention in the media grants him more effectiveness in combat with a near flawless reputation, rather than an assassin who often uses fear of the unknown.

Bullseye has a compulsive need to study his targets' histories, abilities, and relationships before engaging them. He employs this information to attempt to anticipate his opponents' movements in combat. This compulsion often crosses from the professional into the personal, such as Bullseye's obsession with Elektra.

Other versions

Ultimate Bullseye

In the Ultimate Marvel continuity, Bullseye appeared in Ultimate Elektra as an assassin named Benjamin Pondexter. He works for the Kingpin and was his prime assassin until Elektra beat him in direct hand-to-hand combat.

This version employs the use of disguises on his hits (he was seen masquerading as a police officer when he first appeared) and at one point donned a variation of his regular Marvel Universe incarnation's classic costume, sans mask. He has a bulls-eye tattoo on his forehead, similar to the tattoo and later scarring of the mainstream Marvel version, and the brand of the movie version. He also has a bulls-eye tattoo on his chest.

Marvel Zombies

In Marvel Zombies, a zombified Bullseye appears alongside several other undead supervillains attacking and attempting to eat the invading Galactus.[3]

Age of Apocalypse

In the 1994 arc of a different timeline, Bullseye is seen as one of the human's greatest soldier. Using a machine gun and hitting every enemy target, he fights on the side of 'good'. He does not have on his original costume, and does not act insane.

Amalgam Comics

In other media

Novels

Bullseye appeared in the Christopher Golden's Daredevil novel Predator's Smile, which takes place just after Daredevil's iconic Born Again storyline

Film

Enlarge picture
Colin Farrel as Bullseye in Daredevil (2003).
Actor Colin Farrell portrayed Bullseye in the Daredevil movie adaptation. Bullseye has an Irish background, and his traditional costume was dropped in favor of a biker/metalhead style appearance: a duster (trench coat), leather pants, black tank top, dark goatee, tattoos, multiple earrings, and a shaved head with a bull's-eye scar on his forehead, although he does jokingly request a costume from Kingpin.

Prior to the film's release, the comic-book version of Bullseye adopted a near-identical appearance but has since reverted to the traditional look, retaining only the scar. He uses shurikens carried in his belt buckle as a main weapon, although he uses many other weapons including peanuts, paperclips, playing cards, Daredevil's billy club, shards of broken glass, and a pencil. In the movie, Bullseye was hired by the Kingpin to kill Nicholas Natchios. Bullseye kills Natchios with Daredevil's billy club, causing Elektra to believe Daredevil killed her father. Later, Elektra attacks Daredevil, seeking revenge but soon realizes Bullseye killed her father. Elektra and Bullseye battle, but he slits her throat with a playing card, then stabs her with one of her sai (which was exactly how he killed her in the comics), and her heart stops (in the Director's Cut, Bullseye deals more injuries to her and while impaling her, gives her a kiss by biting down on her lower lip).

Daredevil chases Bullseye to a church, and they battle until Daredevil maneuvers Bullseye's hands to be shot by a S.W.A.T. sniper, leaving him with wounds resembling stigmata. With Bullseye wounded, Daredevil grabs him and throws him out of a window, crashing onto the hood of a car. A later scene shows him hospitalized but still able to fling a hypodermic needle with enough force and accuracy to impale a fly.

Toys

The Marvel Legends toy line created 2 Bullseye action figures. The normal figure is scowling, while the variant has a sinister grin.

Video games

  • Bullseye is a prominent villain in the 2005 Punisher video game for PC, PS2 and Xbox, voiced by Steve Blum. He appears during the Fisk Industries level. Bullseye is beaten by the Punisher and is thrown from high atop the Kingpin's building. He later appears after the end credits that play when the game is completed. He is in bandages and almost crippled.
  • Bullseye appeared as a boss of sorts in the video game . He is a member of Doctor Doom's Masters of Evil and he attempts to launch a nuclear missile from the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier in the first level. He is a comic book mission villain for both Daredevil and Elektra. He also has special dialogue with them.

Footnotes

1. ^ Wolfman, in an undated "Comics Channel" interview in Underground Online, recalled: "Bob Brown is the artist that drew the book, but he didn't co-create him. I had come up with the character, designed a rough version of the costume and then sat down with John Romita Sr. to do the final version.
2. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #1 Character Map
3. ^ Marvel Zombies #4

References

External links

Mike Deodato (born May 23, 1963 in Campina Grande, Brazil), sometimes called Mike Deodato Jr., is the professional pseudonym of Brazilian comic book artist Deodato Taumaturgo Borges Filho. He currently lives in João Pessoa, Brazil.
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Marvel Comics

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Wolfman at the 1982 Comic-Con
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