Daredevil #114For the last three issues of Daredevil, Lady Bullseye, a new character with a variation on an old name has been a thorn in the titular hero’s side, targeting him, both in his civilian identity as Matt Murdock and as Daredevil, as well as other heroes within Daredevil’s immediate circle.
As readers know, Lady Bullseye took her name as homage to Bullseye, the villain who inadvertently freed her from a life of slavery in Asia. Since then, she’s been busy, and is currently working with The Hand – the ninja army that pops up like a bad penny in Daredevil’s life. Oh yeah, despite his wife being in a long-term care facility, Matt is sleeping with private eye Dakota North, and a strange old man – who happens to be a martial arts master – has inserted himself into Daredevil’s life as well.
No one ever said being Daredevil was easy.
We spoke with Daredevil writer Ed Brubaker for more on Lady Bullseye, the Hand, and what’s going on in Matt’s head these days.
Newsarama: "Lady Bullseye" - without seeing the art or character design, the name itself sounds so...badly '90s, but in seeing what you're doing with it, it's clearly not an exploitative knockoff. Where did the idea come from for the character and this arc?
Ed Brubaker: A few different places. Partly, obviously, from Bullseye. I wanted to have a crazy character like that, and needed something like that for this big Hand story I was planning, and then I was thinking about Lady Snowblood, and I just thought, "Lady Bullseye" and then her origin just appeared to me. This girl who is accidentally saved from being sold into slavery because Bullseye is taking out this whole warehouse of Yakuza. He doesn't know he's inspired this insane tortured soul, even, but it's the formative experience of her life.
NRAMA: Her origins, and easily some of what you've done and are doing in Captain America can almost be seen as "ripples" in a way - that is, in this world where "Marvels" walk, their existences and actions have unintended consequences, like pulling your hand through water, and creating ripples that are independent of the initial action. Am I putting too much into it, or is that something that you like to hook on to in your playing within the Marvel Universe?
EB: Oh yeah, that's one of the main things that happens in life, that's what karma is about, how everything you do creates ripples. But I think that's what's cool about having this big expanded universe, is that when you bring in new things, you can connect them to the rest of the world, and then readers care about them more.
NRAMA: Lady Bullseye's costume design. Who did it, and what, as far as you saw, had to be there? Is there a significance to the three target patterns on her costume?
EB: Marko [Djurdjevic], it's all Marko. With notes from all of us and Joe Q. The idea was something that said both Bullseye and had a Japanese vibe to it. And I think he came up with something that really leaps out at you. She's got a great look, and is really fun on the page.
Daredevil #115NRAMA: And her relationship with the Hand – just an employee?
EB: Right. She's a freelancer who has been wanting to join the Hand, and they've given her this mission because she's not a member. They want an outsider with no agenda, but they're getting more than they bargained for with her. As they'll soon find out next issue.
NRAMA: And just so we're on the same page, Iron Fist, the Black Tarantula, Wolverine, and the "Old Man" - Master Izo - they're on the "first list" of hits the Hand is making, correct? Do the four share the same reason, or is this just old grudges?
EB: I can't reveal why they were after them, but they were definitely testing Danny and Carlos when we first saw them in this. That's a clue.
NRAMA: And while we're speaking of The Hand - there are what…four or five factions now, as a result of Skrull-Elektra? (again with the unintended consequences…)
EB: Five factions. Yeah, they have ancient feuds to deal with, so they need a strong leader holding them together, or they break into factions. We'll learn this has happened in the past once, at least.
NRAMA: Matt is now sleeping with Dakota North. Let's talk about Daredevil's...er...libido for a moment. We've talked about this before, but does any other character in the Marvel Universe see as much action as he does? If you feel all nerdy weird answering that one, how about: does any other character in the Marvel Universe make as many bad relationship decisions as he does? What is it with him?
EB: He's a tragic character, but he has a good time on the way to his tragedies.
NRAMA: [laughs] That’s for sure.
EB: Yeah, he makes mistakes. I think it's because Matt is human, as much as anything. He's a lapsed Catholic, he's got a lot of family and trust issues, abandonment issues, and he's got this double-life. He's under a lot of strain, and sometimes he just does the wrong thing. This goes way back to at least the Frank Miller era. When Matt's hurting, he sometimes does the wrong thing, usually to the people who care about him most.
NRAMA: What facets of Matt are you looking to explore with Matt and Dakota here? There are whiffs of her being so very "right" for him, but him again choosing the noble/right/self-sacrificing thing over his own happiness...
EB: Yeah... that does appear to be the case, for now, at least. More than that, I can't say.
NRAMA: While it could be argued that you're putting a new spin on some familiar ground with Matt's affair with Dakota, you're clearly revisiting some familiar ground with Matt in bringing back the Hand, a martial arts master, and an army of ninjas active in NYC...things from the "Miller menu" of Daredevil. For you, why does that milieu work so well for DD that he keeps being put back into it?
EB: Well, Frank Miller made that all part of his history, really, by introducing Stick as his mentor. And you can't really write a character without getting back into his history once in a while. Plus, it's just flatout cool to have ninja explodo in your book once in a while. I love giving DD that kung fu vibe again for a while.
NRAMA: That said, how much 'Hand mythology' is left to explore? I mean – between Wolverine and Daredevil, it seems that there aren’t many stones that have been left unturned…
EB: A fair bit, I think. I've done a good amount of research and I think what I'm getting at is left unexplained. It's less mythology and more methodology, which I think is more interesting, honestly, but there's some history we'll be learning.
NRAMA: Since we're talking about them, there's a question that always comes up - the army of ninjas that appears in their storylines...do they fly them in, or are there Hand agents in all major metropolitan areas?
Daredevil #116EB: They're like a virus or a mold, yeah. Some probably travel in, some are probably local. It'll actually be explained a bit in these storylines that we're doing. The Hand has major resources and does also have a business side, remember.
NRAMA: That is true… Finally Ed, and broader picture wise, where are you heading with the series?
EB: We're heading for the first major revelation about what Lady Bullseye and the Hand are after, and then coming right on the heels of that, we're going to see the Kingpin returning in a way I hope no one is expecting.Daredevil #114, part 4 of the Lady Bullseye arc is due in stores on Decmeber 24th