Brian Buccellato talks Deadshot and Suicide Squad Most Wanted

SUSQ_MW_DEADSHOTKATANA_1_56240e803028b3.04781561Two of the stars of next year’s highly anticipated action movie break out in their own solo adventures in an extra-sized, 6-issue miniseries! This week sees the release of Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot and Katana #1.

First, in a story by Brian Buccellato, Viktor Bogdanovic and Richard Friend, Deadshot is on the run, taking on a series of new contracts, and re-establishing himself as the world’s most deadly marksman. But things are about to get complicated for Floyd Lawton when a figure from his past threatens to expose a dark secret…and Deadshot gets word of his next target: Lex Luthor!

Then, writer Mike W. Barr returns to the character he co-created in “Katana, Cult of the Kobra,” with art by Diogenes Neves. Katana needs to know more about Soultaker’s origin if she’s going to have any hope of controlling the sword instead of falling under its influence. Dr. Helga Jace, a Markovian astrophysicist, may be able to shed some light—but before Katana can get the info, Kobra’s forces attack!

I got a chance to talk to Brian about how he got involved with the comic, the influence of Deadshot’s big screen debut, and who Deadshot is to him.

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved with Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot and Katana?

Brian Buccellato: I was talking to DC Comics last year about the next thing I was going to work on and the name Deadshot came up. As part of the conversation, I think Dan (DiDio) was the first to say Deadshot, but once he did, it felt like a natural fit. I tend to like darker material, and he’s definitely that. I jumped at the chance to write Floyd Lawton.

GP: Was the comic always planned as an issue with two characters? Did the project change at all over time?

BB: It was always designed to be a six issue series. Early it was a larger plot, but as I was working on it with my editor, we all moved the story in this direction focusing on Floyd and his personal journey. That became the focus.

GP: Who is Deadshot to you? What do you like about the character?

BB: He’s obviously very good at what he does. He’s an antihero in a lot of ways. What I respond to, is he’s somebody without something to live for. He came with a deficit and he’s very dangerous and very good at what he does because he doesn’t have that fear of dying. So writing the story exploring what type of man is that way was interesting to me. When he have someone who has his own suicidal death wish, giving him something to live for and seeing what he does with that is natural story telling.

GP: Throughout the story it’s clear he doesn’t care whether he lives or dies. Having that sort of freedom in the storytelling, you can easily get silly with it. Do you dial back at all to prevent going to that extreme.

BB: I don’t think so, because I don’t consider myself that type of guy who does over the top type of stuff. I try to be grounded in all of my writing. Even when you’re writing characters who can fly, or lift an airplane, I try to be grounded in my approach and it’s not he’s a 90s Deathblow, Killboy type of character where he’s a knockoff version of Wolverine. He’s a troubled guy. He’s a guy that’s dangerous in a real way. He’s dangerous because he isn’t afraid to die. The challenge of a writer is to put him in situations where there’s real threats and taking him through the meat grinder. That’s good storytelling. To me that’s more interesting than seeing how many people he can shoot and what type of body count he can have.

GP: You have him team up with a character named Will Evans, who’s not someone I know. Evans makes a comment that there’s some history. Is that continuity? Something you created?

BB: He’s a new character. He’s a brand new character. He has an important role in the story and he’ll be a big part of all six issues. I don’t want to give spoilers, but he’s important.

GP: The issue is interesting in that it dives in Deadshot’s past. You’re hinting at that and there’s a nice twist at the end. Did you do a lot of research for the character?

BB: Any time you have the honor of writing a character who has had a long and important run you owe it to the character, yourself, and everyone, to understand where that character came from. I read all the major mini-series and tried to understand him as best I could. I do that with any character I write. That’s the right thing to do, it helps inform your choices. And some times it helps inform your choices so that you don’t repeat a story that’s been told. A lot of characters have been around a long time, and there’s been a lot of stories told. If you don’t think to read those, you might accidentally rehash what’s been seen before.

GP: The character is getting some major screen time in the coming months and the profile is increasing. As a writer is that on your mind?

BB: Only when you say “yes.” You know it’s going to be awesome. The Suicide Squad movie comes out, it’s going to be cool. People are going to be talking about him, and Will Smith being Deadshot. You’re excited about it, because you might have more eyeballs on the comic book that you’re writing. When you sit down to write, none of that was in my head. Storytelling is storytelling and it comes character first, not from any kind of external force.

GP: With it being a six issue series, how do you as a writer approach that differently than an ongoing? What about the series also featuring a story with Katana.

BB: Even if it was an ongoing series, you’re probably not going to write a twelve issue story arc. Four to six issues is a great length in terms of story arcs. You want to write something that’s interesting and feels important to yourself. And that’s it. As far as it being piggybacked with Katana. I started writing it, I don’t think they made a final decision in how they were going to package it. Even if they had, I don’t think it’d have impacted how I’d have told the story. At the end of the mini-series, you want to leave it in a place that feels natural and if it’s successful you can spin it out. But, I told the story in six issues because that’s what I knew it’d be.

GP: When writing the character was there something you found you particularly enjoyed that you didn’t think you would?

BB: He’s such an interesting person. He’s tortured. Out of the Suicide Squad members, he’s the one that’s suicidal. There’s some natural things that you can exploit when writing Deadshot. But he’s a cool character. He’s an assassin. He rocks a mustache. Not many people can rock a mustache. I think he’s an interesting character and he has something that’s a real deficit in his life. I think when you have a character that’s really good at something, but also really bad at life, they’re interesting to write about. Being bad at life, he doesn’t care about anything. He’s haunted about his past, which we explore.

GP: For as much of a loner as he is, he’s also the senior member and leader of the Suicide Squad. There’s this weird dichotomy in that.

BB: Yeah, he’s sort of the reluctant leader. I remember in college someone saying the best type of leader is the reluctant leader, the benevolent despot, someone that doesn’t want the job. And I think that totally fits Floyd’s character. Sadly for Floyd, he’s a guy that if he didn’t have the Suicide Squad and didn’t have something else to do, who knows what he’d be doing. He’s not a happy person. I think he needs the Suicide Squad and he’s sort of fell in to being the leader and I think he’s really good at it.

GP: The other thing that strikes me about the character is that he doesn’t care if he lives or dies, but he’s also not suicidal, trying to take his own life.

BB: Yes. Right. When I say suicidal I mean he doesn’t care whether he lives or dies. And that makes for a very dangerous person because he’ll make choices without regarding for his own safety, which makes him very good at what he does and very dangerous. But, he’s not going to kill himself. Will he go out there and test his mettle and if he dies he dies? Yeah.

GP: Thanks for chatting!