We’re ONE week away from the release of the 3rd season of Daredevil on Netflix. The flagship show of the “Defenders-verse” has got many a fan waiting on bated breath for October 19th to see if all of their questions will be answered. One such question is whether or not Bullseye is finally here.
Next to The Kingpin, Bullseye is probably the most famous of Daredevil’s rogues’ gallery. His perfect aim and precision make him a formidable foe for Matt Murdock. Add in his sadistic personality and flare for the dramatic and that’s one bad dude you’re dealing with. For those that are unfamiliar with the character, below is a list of the top 5 stories involving Bullseye. Enjoy.
Last Hand (Daredevil Vol. 1 #181)
Writer and Artist: Frank Miller (with Klaus Janson)
This is without a doubt the most important single issue of Daredevil. Nearing the end of Frank Miller’s epic run on the title, this book had some of the biggest gut punches for a reader to endure. After ex-girlfriend-turned-assassin Elektra decides not to kill Foggy Nelson, she’s attacked by Bullseye in a dirty fight that doesn’t end well. After trading blows, Bullseye gets the upper hand and stabs Elektra with her own sai blade. With her last gasps of life, she’s able to crawl her way to Matt Murdock’s door and die in his arms. This causes Daredevil to hunt down Bullseye and drop him from a very tall height, leaving the mercenary paralyzed. This alone made for an amazing issue. I would be remiss if I didn’t also add that at the start of the book, Bullseye stages a daring escape from prison.
Everything that happens in this issue could’ve been stretched out over 6 or 7 installments. But Miller serves it up in one crack of the bat, showing the reader just how dark a Daredevil issue can get.
Roulette (Daredevil Vol. 1 #191)
Writer and Artist: Frank Miller
This issue is the perfect companion piece to Last Hand. Daredevil pays Bullseye a visit in the hospital. Is he there to check up on how he is? No. Instead, he’s there to play a game of Russian Roulette. Usually, this game involves two men taking turns holding a gun to their head that has only one bullet in it and clicking away until one person’s luck runs out. The game is modified slightly seeing as Bullseye can’t move. So Daredevil holds the gun up to each of their heads on their respective turns. Murdock’s got a captive audience, so he tells him of a recent experience with a troubled child who he couldn’t help. Matt vents to the one guy that he get away with taking his frustrations out on.
In the end, the gun isn’t loaded and Bullseye doesn’t do much but lie in his bed, helpless. What’s important is Bullseye’s relationship with Daredevil. There is no honor among their rivalry. Matt truly hates Bullseye for killing Elektra. But his moral code will not let him kill a helpless man. But he still wants to punish him. So Matt resorts to immature taunting of a violent nature. It’s an uncommon hero/villain dynamic that shows off the fragility of both men’s psyches.
Devil’s Despair (Daredevil Vol. 2 #5)
Writer: Kevin Smith Artist: Joe Quesada
In 1998, Daredevil was reborn in the direct comics market. Before Marvel Knights relaunched the title, the Man Without Fear was on the road to cancellation. But Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti breathed new life into the character with the 8 issue Guardian Devil arc. The story was equal parts greatest hits and surprises as Smith pulled from various corners of the Marvel Universe while still presenting a fresh take that played into Daredevil’s Catholic sensibilities. A young woman comes to Daredevil with a baby that she believes is the second coming of Christ. Daredevil is then charged with protecting this baby from any and all threats. Enter Bullseye.
Bullseye is hired to retrieve the baby. Daredevil has the baby under the protection of Sister Maggie and the nuns at the New York Mission (which will make an appearance this Season!). Karen Page is also there when Bullseye arrives. A classic battle between the two adversaries transpires and Bullseye gains the upper hand. Karen attempts to shoot him with a gun he discarded, but it isn’t loaded. Just when it looks like Bullseye is about to get away scott free, he stops and turns back to DD. He picks up his billy club and throws it at him. In a sacrificial act, Karen jumps in Matt’s way and takes the lethal hit from the club. This adds more fuel to the fire as Bullseye is now responsible for the death of two women that Daredevil loves.
Bullseye (PunisherMAX #6 to #11)
Writer: Jason Aaron Artist: Steve Dillon
Another major foil for Bullseye is everyone’s favourite killing machine, The Punisher. The two have squared off on many occasions. The most memorable is their altercation in the “out of continuity” title PunisherMAX. A 22 issue series from Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon, the story gave a new origin for the Kingpin, and re-introduced several Marvel characters, including Elektra, Nick Fury and Bullseye. Bullseye’s introduction is rather simple as he’s hired to kill Frank Castle. In order to do so, Bullseye must become the Punisher. He must BE the Punisher. This involves the hitman taking up residence in one of Frank’s old safe houses and taking a family hostage just to have them murdered in front of him in Central Park.
All of this leads to the two facing off in the Kingpin’s home base. As the two bloody each other up using every tool at their disposal, Wilson Fisk sends additional men to kill them both. Naturally, both Bullseye and Punisher are still standing (but just barely). As Frank reaches his main target (Fisk), Bullseye jumps him from behind and the two brawl atop a skylight on the roof of the building. This is when Bullseye gets in close and explains that he finally understands him. Just as he’s about to reveal what that means, Kingpin shoots out the glass underneath them and both men take a great fall. The two are arrested and the fight ends in a draw. It’s a down and dirty brawl that shows that Bullseye can hang with the best of ’em.
Bullseye: Perfect Game (Issues #1 to #2)
Writer: Charlie Huston Arist: Shawn Martinbrough
This is the surprise entry on the list. There are most likely a lot of folks who have never even heard of Perfect Game. A two issue limited series released in 2011, Perfect Game is the story of the year when Bullseye went missing from the criminal underworld. Nobody knew where he was. That is except for one baseball memorabilia collector. He knew that Bullseye was hired by a high roller to kill a pitcher in the major leagues. But instead of just killing him, he decides to go incognito and make a play at being a major league pitcher himself. All for a crack at killing his target on the mound, during the game. But Bullseye finds out there might be something more important than killing. Throwing a perfect game might just be that thing.
Told from the perspective of the collector, we hear the story of a missed chance at greatness. But is that greatness the perfect murder or the perfect performance on the field? The answer to that question is an interesting one and adds a new layer of to the man with perfect aim.
So there you have it. These are my picks for the greatest Bullseye stories of all time. Did I leave any of your favourites out? Let me know in the comments. The 3rd Season of Marvel’s Daredevil begins streaming on Netflix on October 19th.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!