Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at the circus performer turned ghostly hero: Deadman
Appearances in Heroclix: Justice League Trinity War, Justice League 52, Brightest Day, Justice League
First Appearance: Strange Adventures #205
Team Affiliations: Seven Soldiers of Victory, Black Lantern Corps, White Lantern Corps, Justice League Dark
Created By: Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino
Boston Brand is a circus trapeze artist that performs in a garish red costume and white corpse makeup under the name Deadman. Brand is murdered during a performance by a mysterious assailant known as the hook. Desperate for revenge, Rama Kushna stops Brand’s spirit from crossing over and gives him the power to possess any living being so that he may search for his murderer. Over time, Brand comes to believe that Rama Kushna is the supreme power in the universe.
Deadman eventually learns that the man who killed him did so as an initiation into a society of contract killers who then killed the murderer to silence him. Deadman discovers another man named Hook who belongs to a group of one-handed men that call themselves the “Scavengers” and steal advanced technology in order to turn a profit. Deadman, alongside the Forver People, battle the Scavengers for some time and were even able to gain Deadman a robotic body for a time.
Deadman continued adventuring in service of Rama’s goal of achieving good in the world. Brand eventually possesses his twin brother, Cleveland, and performs his old act. Cleveland is then killed by someone out to kill the already dead Boston Brand. Deadman assists the Spectre in defeating a newly formed demonic being. This powerful demon is able to cause great harm to the Spectre, forcing Deadman to merge with the spirit of vengeance until he is again stabilized and “healed.”
Deadman is eventually sent back through time in order to save dead heroes, though he is prevented from using his knowledge of the future to change the time stream. Deadman is among several heroes reduced to a preteen age, though still a ghost, by Klarion the Witch boy. He is eventually able to confront Klarion’s companion and restore everyone to their proper age. Deadman and other heroes travel to the frozen wastelands of Hell during the Day of Judgment in order to try and restart Hell’s fires. An accident leaves the heroes trapped under the frozen waters of the River Styx, with each hero living out their own personal hell. Brand’s hell was that his killer only hit him in the shoulder and left him alive. It was at this time that Brand realized that his early death had actually taught him more about heroism and living than his daredevil lifestyle ever would have.
During the Blackest Night, Deadman begins to hear the voices of the dead. Most shocking is when his own corpse cries out to him. Deadman is forced to watch as his body is risen as a Black Lantern. Brand tries to possess himself and stop this madness but feels incredible pain and is ejected. Deadman rushes to other heroes and helps them battle the Black Lanterns. He is eventually sent to possess Jason Blood and summons the Demon, Etrigan. Using Etrigan’s demon flame, Deadman is able to hold the Black Lanterns back for a time until Etrigan forces Deadman’s spirit from his body. Deadman eventually helps the Phantom Stranger free himself from a Black Lantern ring and spirit the body away. When the White Lantern is discovered and used to repel the Black Lanterns, Deadman is gifted with a white lantern ring which returns him to life.
Deadman’s white ring can actually resurrect the dead and after a while, Brand begins to enjoy being alive again. He eventually teams up with Hawk and Dove, who also have white lantern rings, as the trio try to find out what mission the White Lantern has in store for them. During this time, Dove and Brand fall in love. The Entity, inside the White Lantern, reveals to Brand that Nekron’s attack on earth had left behind a corrupting residue. This residue resurrects the Swamp Thing construct and it now believes it is Nekron. Meanwhile, Alec Holland and the Star City forest are the key to save the earth’s “soul.” Captain Boomerang comes to the forest while the Black Lantern Swamp Thing attacks and throws his boomerang at Dove. Brand throws himself in front of the boomerang and is mortally wounded. As he dies, Brand gives his ring to Holland which tranforms the man into a White Lantern Swamp Thing that is able to destroy the Black Lantern avatar and save the day.
Deadman goes on to join the Justice League Dark team and tries to continue his relationship with Dove, though it predictably fails.