Back Issues: From Superman to Suicide Squad, Get Ready for Bloodsport

Bloodsport is a new face in The Suicide Squad and a lot of fans were confused when Idris Elba’s character was named. After all, the 2016 film had Will Smith as Deadshot. But James Gunn had something different in mind this time around. We all know DC Comics has a veritable treasure trove of bad guys who are also marksmen. However, Bloodsport is a little bit different. He’s more dangerous in The Suicide Squad, for one thing. Another is the fact that the filmmaker is playing up some of the more wild elements of his cast of characters for this DC movie adventure. Instead of being able to just summon weapons from the ether, the director took a much more futuristic approach.

Gunn told IGN, “In the comics, his ability is to pull weaponry out of thin air. And the way we interpret that in this film is he has a costume that is covered with all these different gadgets that he uses, all this weaponry that are these transforming pieces of weaponry. And then he has this sort of creepy, Xenomorph-looking skull helmet, which I liked a lot. So I fell in love with the design, even though it looks very different from Bloodsport’s comic suit, [where he] wears camo pants and a bandana.”

(Photo: DC Entertainment)

Robert DuBois is a Superman villain in the comics. (Yes, we can hear you back there, how in the world is a dude with guns a threat to the Man of Steel?) John Byrne and artist Karl Kessel introduced Bloodsport to the world in Superman Volume 2 #4 in 1987. He was a kid who always dreamed of being a soldier. When he was drafted to go fight in the Vietnam War, Bloodsport opts to dodge his deployment — this ends up doing more harm as his younger brother goes in his place. In Vietnam, the younger DuBois ends up losing all of his limbs, which sends the villain into a mental breakdown because of his role in the accident. (These events are relayed again in Suicide Squad Volume 7 #5.)

Lex Luthor brainwashed the contract killer to try and take out Superman with a Kryptonite bullet. He nearly succeeds by using a small needle instead of a normal-sized round, but was defeated by the Man of Steel and sent to Belle Reve. Jimmy Olsen finds DuBois’ brother and has him slow the killing spree that Bloodsport began. If you’re a fan of the Suicide Squad, you know what comes next; Amanda Waller approached Bloodsport with the hope that he would help with the next wild mission. Task Force X needs a bunch of guns, so of course, Bloodsport is up for the challenge. (Especially when you dangle his family as a bargaining chip.)

Alex Trent is another person to wear the Bloodsport moniker. The character had a boxing match with DuBois in prison after the first Bloodsport was taken into custody for that Kryptonite bullet fiasco, with Superman serving as the referee in the bout. Unfortunately, that directly lead to DuBois' death as the pair managed to snag weapons out of his unlocked power void. They blew a hole in the side of the prison and DuBois was killed by the prison guards on the outside when he made a break for it. Trent is a member of the Aryan Brotherhood in the prison and an admitted white supremacist. You probably won't see him in the movie.

(Photo: DC Entertainment)

Funny enough, Bloodsport does come into contact with Deadshot during World’s Finest #10, a nice nod to two men who have similar skillets and have been pains in the sides of DC heroes across the multiverse. This isn’t a character made up on the spot to replace Smith, but rather a fun addition to the film universe DC is building. Gunn is excited too.

"Each one of these heroes, they're all from different genres of movies," Gunn told Suicide Squad fans at Brazil's virtual CCXP convention last year. "Idris' character, Bloodsport, he's actually a pretty cool character. He looks cool, his costume is cool." Elba also mentioned, "I think James described it: he has a very cool costume. His costume is seriously innovative and technically advanced, and he's the only guy that can use it. And in this film, he gets to show it off — and he's brutal."

The Suicide Squad debuts in theaters and on HBO Max beginning Thursday, August 5th.


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