His name is Boston Brand, and he has just been murdered. A mysterious man known only as Hook has slain him. This turn of events does not sit well with the deceased circus acrobat. His soul screams for vengeance. A good news/bad news situation unfolds.
The gods do not like to directly meddle with the affairs of men. They generally work from a distance, manipulating the various agents of change. All is not lost for Brand, however. A Hindu goddess named Rama Kushna takes pity on the man for his plight. She decides to transform him into such an agent. Specifically, Boston Brand is turned into a ghost, one straightforwardly named Deadman.
The powers of Deadman are simple. As a ghost, he is imbued with the ability to invade and control the bodies of others. Brand's life as a ghost is one of subservience for the most part. His agreement with Rama forces him to perform good deeds for the betterment of mankind. The rest of his time is spent investigating clues about the identity and whereabouts of Hook. Deadman is a unique character in the comic book world since he must work through others, making him only as powerful as the vessel he temporarily inhabits.
The obvious similarities here are to the Brandon Lee comic book adaptation, The Crow, with a touch of The Fugitive thrown in. The difference between Brand and Dr. Richard Kimble is that he is looking for his own killer. The surface similarity with The Crow in terms of wrongful death and justice ends when we considered that The Crow is corporeal, while Deadman must inhabit the bodies of others.
There was also some discussion of Deadman becoming a television show on TNT, but those plans were eventually scrapped. Concerns were raised that a man jumping from body to body in order to make a positive difference in the lives of others had already been done recently on television with Quantum Leap.
Guillermo del Toro announced at Comic Con 2006 that he would be producing this project. This is also a chance he will direct movie as he did with the hugely successful Hellboy. The presence of del Toro in the director's chair will go a long in determing whether this an Elektra-sized production versus a potential blockbuster. (David Mumpower/BOP)