With the battle for the soul of New York City gearing up, it comes as no surprise that master assassin Bullseye will get into the thick of it. Fresh off of his stint as a Dark Avenger, the man that makes anything a weapon will have his eyes on his own one-shot. Advance info promises that will learn big secrets, so we went to writer John Layman to see if our sources were on the mark.
Newsarama: How did you first encounter Bullseye as a reader?
John Layman: Probably during the Frank Miller run. I am very old, so it is possible my memory is failing, but that stuff was showing up at my corner grocery store just about the time I was getting into Daredevil. I guess if you are gonna start anywhere with Bullseye, getting that great Frank Miller stuff when it's brand spanking new is just about the perfect place.
Nrama: Has there been a definitive Bullseye story at this point?
Layman: Well, this certainly has as much to do with where I was in my life when I was reading it, but that Frank Miller stuff is certainly near and dear to my heart. There's been a lot of great stuff with Bullseye-- especially recently-- but those old Miller books will always be special to me.
Nrama: In the past Bullseye has been played as an outright psychopath, Daredevil’s opposite, and, well, Hawkeye. What aspects of those personae make up how you see the character?
Layman: Just because he called himself Hawkeye didn't mean he was. As far as I'm concerned, Bullseye has always been a psychopath.
Nrama: With Daredevil leading The Hand, what’s Bullseye’s reaction to that scenario?
Layman: He doesn't like it, and he's more determined than ever to put a stop to DD.
Nrama: Having spent a while as a member of the Dark Avengers as their “Hawkeye”, does Bullseye have a new ability to work with others, or is he fundamentally a loner?
Layman: No, he's fundamentally a loner. This isn't to say Bullseye always works alone, but he is always looking out for Number One first and foremost.
Nrama:The solicitation for the issue indicates that Bullseye’s secrets will stand revealed. Is this in reference to his actual origin, which has previously been recounted in different ways?
Layman: Er, I have not read the solicitation, but there's no revealing of origins in my story. More like character insight.
Nrama: With respect to revealing a character’s back story, do you find it more effective for an antagonist to be completely mysterious, or would you rather have more elements of the character’s background visible?
Layman: Depends on the antagonist and the story, I think. Some characters, particularly dangerous or scary characters, often make more of an impact if you don't completely understand there back story.
Nrama: Though Elektra’s still out there in the MU, Bullseye’s responsible for the deaths of Matt’s greatest loves. How does Daredevil even react to hearing the name “Bullseye”, and how would he presume to deal with the character through the prism of Shadowland?
Layman: If I were Daredevil, I would want to do something to put an end to Bullseye once and for all. But of course, I have a hair-trigger temper, and Daredevil is a level, grounded superhero.
Nrama: In the last issue of “Dark Avengers”, Bullseye was essentially defeated in one panel. Do moments like those make you slap your forehead in terms of the effectiveness of your character, or did you find it okay, given the context?
Layman: Every writer does things differently, and everybody has a method to their madness and a reason to focus on what they do. I don't find myself doing a lot of "armchair editing." "Oh, that writer should have done that," or "Oh, this is what I would have done." I tend to focus on my own work, and let others do their own thing.
Nrama: Why should readers gravitate to this story in particular?
Layman: Bullseye has always resonated with readers, which is why he's become such an integral part of the Daredevil Mythos. And while Bullseye has had a wild couple of years recently, I can say with no exaggeration what's going on with Bullseye in Shadowland is more extreme and shocking anything that's been done to him... well, maybe ever!