#111 cover by
By Kiel Phegley
While Matt Murdock has spent much of his career as Daredevil being something of a romantic ladykiller, this month he's going to meet one lady who's actually out to kill him.
On September 24, DAREDEVIL #111 introduces Lady Bullseye into the Man Without Fear's rogues gallery, but while the assassin may share a name with DD's most infamous foe, her origins stretch beyond simple villain worship to the sai-slinging psycho.
"Partially it was trying to come up with a new villain that also had ties to Daredevil's past and to try to find a new and more interesting way to use the Hand," explains writer Ed Brubaker of Lady Bullseye's origins. "With the death of Elektra, who would have been leading the Hand for a while in Marvel time and was then revealed to be a Skrull, it seemed the perfect time for me to bring the Hand back into DAREDEVIL and for the first time ever really define how the Hand actually works and what they are—flesh out a bit of their history without ruining the vagueness of it."
As the secret cult of ninja warriors share strong ties to Japan, Lady Bullseye draws her initial inspiration from some of that country's most well known comics.
"She's got a really twisted character and has a really fascinating history—inspired as much by [manga and Japanese film
#111 cover by
character] Lady Snowblood as Bullseye," Brubaker shares. "It's explained in the first issue why she's chosen that name. It ties into her origin. I like to play with people's expectations sometimes, and when someone hears 'Lady Bullseye' they think of a very specific story. Hopefully the story we're telling completely subverts that."
That story, a five-part arc with art by regular DAREDEVIL artist Michael Lark and assists by Clay Mann, serves as an extension of Brubaker's entire DD run while also turning the focus of the series slightly away from the soul-crushing machinations of villains like Mr. Fear.
"It grows out of everything that came before," the writer confirms. "Part of super hero books is stuff outside their control coming at them. This isn't one of those 'masterminds are coming after Matt Murdock and trying to destroy his life' kind of moves. This is a while different thing. The Hand has its own problems, and while Matt Murdock is going on with his life and the things he's dealing with, suddenly—wham
! The Hand is here!
"In the second part of the arc, we start to see what the Hand is up to. It's kind of mysterious, but I guarantee that what they're not up to is to try to destroy Matt Murdock's life and ruin him…again. He comes pre-destroyed and ruined."
#112 cover by
And as for the mysterious visual look of Lady Bullseye, fans can thank a who's who lineup of Marvel talent and editorial for tweaking the assassin's fine features into perfection, starting with lead designer and cover artist Marko Djurdjevic.
"[Marko took] notes from me and Michael and [editors] Tom Brevoort and Warren Simons," says Brubaker. "I think even Joe Quesada had notes on it. [Marko] tried a couple of different designs and went with that one just because it was the one we all thought looked the coolest. It had a little bit of Bullseye in it, but also felt like its own thing and had a little bit of an Asian flavor to it.
"It was funny. I didn't even assume ever that she'd be wearing Bullseye's costume. I figured she'd have something new that had a bullseye design on it somehow, but I love the way that he did those giant bullseyes so that you really have to see her in full turnaround to realize what that is. It's a great graphic."
Of course, the task falls upon Lark to bring the Lady to life, and Brubaker notes that his longtime collaborator made the villainess fit flawlessly into the Daredevil world:
"Michael actually had to do a lot of different drawings of her in various poses to figure out how to get it right. He sent those to Marko so see little pieces to tweak here
#113 cover by
and there so he could get the right angles at the right poses. Michael now really likes drawing her, and he was very much 'This costume's going to be hard to draw' and it wasn't. He's totally into it now."
And while a new villain always means a dicey proposition for an established hero, the writer has high hopes for Lady Bullseye's connection to some of DD's most well-known mythos and her killer opening arc will help propel her to the top of fan favorite lists much like another assassin who's crossed Murdock's path.
"If you really look at Bullseye, he wasn't really a popular Daredevil villain until the Frank Miller era," reminds Brubaker. "When Frank was drawing the book, it was really when people started giving a damn about Bullseye. He'd only been used a few times before that and was considered kind of a goofy character."
Lady Bullseye makes her deadly debut in DAREDEVIL #111 on September 24! For more Daredevil, visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.