The Comics History of Bullseye
See how one of Marvel's most dangerous assassins went from near miss to heavy hitter.
When you think about Daredevil's most nefarious, maniacal villains, you don't have to mull for long before Bullseye comes to mind. The man with near-perfect aim has tormented the Man Without Fear ever since his 1976 debut in the pages of DAREDEVIL #131.
Soon, fans of the Netflix series “Marvel’s Daredevil” will meet FBI Agent Benjamin “Dex” Poindexter (played by Wilson Bethel), who is inspired by the character, as Season 3--debuting Friday, October 19--will include the origin story of Bullseye.
In the comics, Bullseye has often set his deadly sights on the protector of Hell's Kitchen and those he loves, earning broken necks, severe wounds, trauma, burns and even death in the process. But none of that seems to stop Bullseye from trying again and again.
Let's take a look at some of Bullseye’s most notable and notorious appearances from the Marvel Comics!
EARLY HITS... AND MISSES
The Man Who Never Misses debuted in DAREDEVIL #131, from Marv Wolfman, Bob Brown and Klaus Janson, when he killed a man with a pen and then introduced himself to ol' Horn Head with a grenade instead of a handshake. The villain set the whole thing up so that their battle would continue in a circus surrounded by police and cameras in the following issue. Though he failed to defeat Daredevil, Bullseye succeeded in making a name for himself, even though he got beat and locked up not long after...
Bullseye came around several more times to try and prove his mettle against Daredevil, but he got a lot more serious about it when Frank Miller took over the book. In DAREDEVIL #169, suffering from a brain tumor, Bullseye saw everyone as his red-clad enemy and killed as many as he could. DD hero defeated the villain and even got him treatment, but when Bullseye heard that Elektra had become Kingpin's number one assassin, he broke out of jail. The assassin changed the course of his life forever by impaling Elektra with her own sai in DAREDEVIL #181. Filled with thoughts of revenge, Murdock allowed Bullseye to fall from a great height, breaking his spine in the process. The Man Without Fear did visit his locked up enemy after that, though not to cheer his sparring partner up, but instead to play Russian roulette, as depicted in DAREDEVIL #191.
TURN THE PAGE
Bullseye only appeared in two of the eight issues that launched the second volume of DAREDEVIL, which kicked off in 1998, but he made quite an impact thanks to Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada. Hired by the story's main antagonist, the man with perfect aim sought out a mysterious child. To get her, he beat up a church full of people, including Sister Maggie, someone Matt was particularly close to. After Karen Page tricked him into taking a doll instead of the kid, Bullseye threw DD's own billy club at the downed hero, but Karen jumped in the way and gave her life for Matt's - adding yet another entry to Bullseye's list of sins against the devil.
During the Brian Michael Bendis-written attempt by Wilson "Kingpin" Fisk to reclaim his title as the head of crime in NYC, Bullseye came to him asking for work in DAREDEVIL #48 and #49. The assassin thought he could be a good asset to Fisk's empire, especially if he could deliver Murdock's head on a platter. First he intended to torture Murdock's then-girlfriend Milla, but Daredevil showed up. In the ensuing brutal battle, DD revealed that Bullseye's real name is Lester as well as some details about his youth before beating him and carving a bullseye into the villain's forehead with a rock shard. Soon after, Daredevil defeated Fisk and took over as Kingpin himself.
Bendis' final arc with Matt Murdock ran from DAREDEVIL #76 through #81 and revolved around a race for the Kingpin's Murdock Papers which would prove without a doubt that Matt and Daredevil were one in the same. To get out of jail, Fisk told the FBI about the papers, but the ensuing press also alerted Elektra and Bullseye who both wanted them for various reasons. After facing off with both red-clad fighters, Lester saw the writing on the wall and bolted...only to get hit by a bus! Elektra wanted to kill him, but DD stopped her, leaving him for the FBI to arrest. After healing up, he was moved to Ryker's at the same time that Matt Murdock briefly served his own sentence at the New York jail.
As initially revealed at the end of CIVIL WAR #4, Bullseye eventually made his way into the Thunderbolts at a time when villains were used to hunt down and capture anti-registration heroes. That status transitioned the character into the team's adventures in THUNDERBOLTS #110. Soon after, he tangled with American Eagle in THUNDERBOLTS #115, which resulted in another broken neck. He eventually got up and around again to help Norman Osborn stop the Skrull invasion in SECRET INVASION #8. With Osborn in power, he offered Bullseye a gig as his new Hawkeye in DARK AVENGERS which lead to the DARK REIGN: HAWKEYE limited series as well. He lost the Hawkeye identity in the wake of SIEGE, after Norman Osborn ordered an attack on Asgard.
IN THE LAND OF SHADOWS
During his time as Osborn's soldier, Bullseye went after his old foe in DARK REIGN: THE LIST – DAREDEVIL #1 to stop the Man Without Fear from completing his takeover of the supernatural ninja clan known as The Hand. In doing so, the criminal blew up a building, killing 107 people. Not only did DD survive, but he took control of The Hand and built a tower called Shadowland where the building once stood. After Bullseye broke out of jail in SHADOWLAND #1, he raced to attack his old foe. Unknowingly possessed by a demon at that point, Murdock first killed Bullseye and then almost resurrected him to use as one of his soldiers, but his hero friends interrupted the ceremony.
NOT DEAD YET
During Mark Waid's run on DAREDEVIL, our hero discovered that one person had been orchestrating his misery from the shadows: Bullseye! In DAREDEVIL #23 - #27, stuck in a kind of high-tech, life-sustaining sarcophagus, Bullseye revealed that Lady Bullseye attempted to fix him with Hand magic, but failed. Instead, she had his life-granting suit built. With his body out of commission, Bullseye focused his mind on ruining his enemy. While DD fought Lady Bullseye and Ikari, Bullseye's container fell through the floor into radioactive waste which left him badly burned and blind.
GIVE A GUY A HAND
Bullseye spent his following days blind to the world in a high-tech prison developed by S.H.I.E.L.D. He remained there until ELEKTRA #8 - #11 when The Hand broke him out before Elektra could. Before long, she got Bullseye back and invaded his mind to get information. The Hand had him long enough to rejuvenate and upgrade the killer, though and he immediately went after Elektra. During their battle, Elektra used a skull with Kiss of Death powers that failed to murder Lester, but did age him incredibly.
BACK IN ACTION
More recently, Bullseye came gunning for the Man Without Fear once again in DAREDEVIL #15 and #16, but our hero beat him soundly. After that, the bad guy got his own limited series, BULLSEYE, wherein he took on the Black Knife Cartel in Colombia. These days he's backing Turk Barrett, current holder of the Mind Stone in the pages of INFINITY WARS.
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