A Deadshot Upon Starling: The History Behind Green Arrow

It’s funny how sometimes the worst things in life make the best people. I spent most of my life growing...

Joshua Burkey

Contributor

green arrow comics

It’s funny how sometimes the worst things in life make the best people. I spent most of my life growing up in a very religious based household. The values of the Bible were very well practiced within the walls of the place which I called home. Or so I thought. It was revealed to both me and my younger sister when we were 16 and 13 that my father had become a drug addict. He had used the drug for the same reason he had become a mild alcoholic when he first met my mother. He was trying to escape the realty he had repressed from a young age. He managed to overcome his addiction through counseling sessions, the help of my mother and honestly facing the reality that plagued him for years. His plague was this terrible thing and now he is alive and has become one of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Sometimes when I look at our culture, I look and see that bad has to be created in order for one to rise from the ashes. I remember a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to interview Renee Yohe. For those who don’t know, she was the woman who inspired the movement we know today as To Write Love on Her Arms (http://twloha.com/vision/story). Her arms contain visible scars from cutting, as if her forearm was a canvas and the blade, a paintbrush. She appropriately has a rose tattooed over the scars. I asked if it was symbolic for beauty rising from ashes. She nodded to me and said “it was indeed”.

This is a truth, I see all too heavily within the realm of Oliver’s physical and emotional scars from the island of Lian Yu. Watching your father kill someone, then himself, has to be hard enough. Then spending five years of your life on an island named after a place of impending judgment probably isn’t any easier. These tragic and horrifying events have shaped Oliver into the persona of Green Arrow. A man that while still holds heavy scars is a hero; transforming himself from this self-centered, egotistical, party boy into a man who has his head on his shoulders. Someone who now carries a purpose that comes from within a book and the dying wish of his father. The name this week on the list is one, James Holder. Holder is once again a fictional character made up for the purpose of the show. Before “The Hood” is able to bring him to justice, he is shot by an assassin early on in the episode. Perhaps, the writers did this to symbolically say they were killing the made up characters and focusing on DC-Universe based villains. Oh by the way, the first villain we see is Deadshot. However, we will get to him a little bit later on.

In the midst of the crossfire attack on Holder, Oliver is shot. Upon extracting the bullet and sowing himself up, he finds that the bullets are laced with a poison. Not just any poison though, the bullets are laced with curare. Curare is a tricky thing to understand. It’s a specific type of poison that holds host to plants that originate from South America. It does not call home to just one specific type of plant. It is found throughout several different plants within the continent. Amazonian tribes would use the poison on their tips of their arrows to hunt their prey. In the 20th century, the first western explorers stumbled upon the plant and from this brought a wave of medical experimentation with the plant. This stuff is pretty powerful. We see Oliver stumbling and his vision blurring. The effect it carries to its victims is horrifying. Curare paralyzes the skeletal muscles of the victim, which will eventually lead to cause him or her to perish.  A curare based death comes by the paralysis stopping the victim’s breathing. The scariest part of the entire thing is that the victim remains conscious the entire time. With that knowledge alone, Deadshot is seriously one of the most underrated villians within the DC Universe (http://www.ehow.com/facts_5017307_curare-found.html).

So we know about how he kills, but what about the actual man behind the killer? Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot actually has one of the Batman59most psychological and tragic backstories in the realm of DC. The character was introduced in 1950 in Batman #59. Lawton was younger brother to Edward Lawton and out of the two brothers, Edward was glorified for everything he did. He was viewed as a hero of the brothers. Where you have a hero, you must have a villain. Enter younger brother Floyd Lawton.  He was seen as someone who couldn’t match up to the praise of his older brother. So with this he donned the mentality of the villain. While he still looked up to his older brother, he got into quite a lot of trouble as a child. As Lawton grew older he underwent extreme psychological stress. This is where our story becomes interesting. His mother approaches Edward and him to kill their father. Surprisingly, Floyd rejects this mission to kill his father but his brother accepts it. Edward locks his younger brother in the family shed located in the back of their home. Young Floyd breaks out with a mission to save his father. As his brother raises the gun to kill his father, Floyd climbs up in a tree with a rifle getting ready to shoot the gun from his brother’s hand. However, the branch where he is located snaps and the bullet got his brother instead. He starts to become suicidal after this, viewing life as meaningless. He trains to be a terrific marksman to ensure that he would never miss another shot again (http://www.comicvine.com/deadshot/4005-5763/).

Arrow actually brings a bit of Victor Zsasz’s personality to the character.  For those unfamiliar with Victor Zsasz, allow me to explain. He is a villain from the Batman universe who marks a tally into his skin after each victim he kills. The ‘Deadshot’ character in this episode does something similar to the Zsasz character  (http://www.comicvine.com/mr-zsasz/4005-25091/).  He tattoos the names of the hired marks into his skin after he has poisoned and killed them. It is revealed that Lawton’s bullets are his signature. Meaning, he is the only one who possess them and can have them. Oliver spends much of this episode trying to obtain information as to where exactly to locate this man. In the midst of his search, he stumbles upon the Bratva or the Russian mob maybe holding a connection or information to Lawton’s whereabouts. With this search, we actually learn more about Queen’s past. The tattoo that is on his left pectoral is actually a symbol demonstrating that he belongs to the Russian mob.

I’m probably the last person you want to talk to about anything regarding the mob. I’ve never seen any of the Godfather movies, Scarface or anything to do with any form of mob. The closest I’ve ever seen to it would be the scene from Rugrats in Paris in which Angelica is conveniently playing the role of Bob Father at Grandpa Lou and Lulu’s wedding. I do imagine that it is something that does take its toll on you psychologically however. Being stranded on an island, you become full of those issues as we see from Oliver. The way the writers wrote a lot of these episodes it seems no one brings out that side of Oliver more than his baby sister, Thea. Upon trying to reconnect with his sister she sees him as this judgmental and distant person.  Again, this is us seeing the classic case of beauty rising from ashes. He saw what it did to him as a child and he doesn’t want her going through the same thing.

As we progress with these characters and their backstories, we come to find out that Oliver is not the only one carrying emotional and psychological burdens. Let’s talk about the Big Belly Burger scene. This scene gives depth to the character we now know as Digg. It is revealed that his brother died and he is still close to his brother’s wife, Carly. At this point in the show, we learn that Digg doesn’t show much emotion from his brother’s death. Yet his sister-in-law still carries the heavy scars of losing her soul mate. Digg’s brother dies in the line of fire, ironically doing the same line of work Digg is currently doing.

Lone GunmanNow, while this scene is heavy with emotion, the Russian mob only makes it heavier. While at the restaurant Oliver receives a phone call regarding the whereabouts on where Deadshot is staying within Starling City. Within the next scene, we see the first of many fights to come between “The Hood” and Deadshot. Upon his exit, Green Arrow discovers the laptop contain.ing where Deadshot’s target is going to be. He takes the computer to Felicity Smoake to get hacked and analyzed to find out where Deadshot is going to hit next.

Ironically, you may not know this but the character Felicity Smoake doesn’t originally belong to the Green Arrow mythology. However, the writers have converted her very well. Smoake was introduced in the Firestorm mythology in 1984. She is the second wife of Edward Raymond, which makes her the step mother to Ronnie Raymond aka Firestorm. The funny thing about this situation is that before Smoake and Raymond married, she was somewhat of an enemy to Firestorm. She works as a manager of a New York computer software firm. At one point in the mythology, Firestorm magnetizes and destroys several computer and software programs in development. Upon her discovery of his identity, she supports her stepson. As the relationship between Smoake and Queen progresses we will see a similar reaction when she discovers “The Hood”’s identity towards the middle of the season. While, she may not know who “The Hood” is till later in the series, Digg finds out at the shows concluding moments (http://www.comicvine.com/felicity-smoake-raymond/4005-2541/)

Within a beautifully written and choreographed fight between Deadshot and Green Arrow, Oliver comes out on top by shooting Lawton in the eye. Upon a slow approach to the body, he hears the moans and groans of an individual in pain behind him. He goes to draw an arrow and finds out that the person stumbling in pain is Digg. Oliver takes Digg to his “Arrow” hideout to counterattack the curare within Diggs’ bloodstream. Oliver reveals to him that he is “The Hood”. Unfortunately, this is where our episode ends and so, will our article.