Cover to Suicide Squad (vol. 3) #1.
Art by John K. Snyder III.
The Brave and the Bold #25 (September 1959)
Legends #3 (January 1987)
|Base(s)||Belle Reve Prison, IMHS|
|See:List of Suicide Squad members|
The Suicide Squad, also known as Task Force X (actually the name of a closely related but independent supervisory organization), is a name for two fictional organizations in the DC Comics Universe. The first version debuted in The Brave and the Bold (vol. 1) #25 (1959), and the second in Legends #3 (1987). An "original" Suicide Squad was retconned into existence in Secret Origins (vol. 2) #14, in order to form a connection between the two Squads. The modern Suicide Squad (created by John Ostrander in the aforementioned Legends #3) is an antihero team of incarcerated supervillains who act as deniable assets for the United States government, undertaking high-risk black ops missions in exchange for commuted prison sentences. The group operates out of Belle Reve Penitentiary, under the directorship of Dr. Amanda Waller.
This entry covers the various incarnations of the Suicide Squad (and the four associated monthly Suicide Squad comic book series) that exist throughout DC Universe canon, from its origins in the Silver Age, to its modern-day post-Crisis reimagining, to the current version that was introduced in the wake of DC's New 52 continuity reboot.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 The Silver Age Suicide Squad
- 3 Suicide Squad (vol. 1)
- 3.1 Background
- 3.2 Plot synopsis
- 3.3 Membership: Amanda Waller's Squad
- 4 Interim stories (between Vol. 1-2)
- 5 Suicide Squad (vol. 2)
- 6 Interim stories (between Vol. 2-3)
- 7 Suicide Squad (vol. 3)
- 8 Interim stories (between Vol. 3-4)
- 9 Suicide Squad (vol. 4)
- 10 Collected editions
- 11 In other media
- 12 Squiddy Awards
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
The original Suicide Squad featured in The Brave and the Bold consisted of Rick Flag, Jr., his girlfriend Karin Grace, Dr. Hugh Evans, and Jess Bright. This team was created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru. Later continuity established that the team's earliest incarnation was expressly formed to fight monstrous menaces as a replacement for the Justice Society of America, whose members had mostly retired in the wake of unjust accusations during the McCarthy Era.
The Suicide Squad was revived in the Legends miniseries, with writer John Ostrander at the helm. The renewed concept involved the government employing a group of supervillains to perform missions that were almost certainly suicide runs, a concept popular enough for an ongoing series titled simply Suicide Squad. The Squad was often paired together with DC's other government agency, Checkmate—culminating in the Janus Directive crossover.
The team's concept self-consciously emulated the World War II film The Dirty Dozen and the television series Mission: Impossible. In addition, the Squad's existence was top-secret, creating much tension within the group, and leading the Squad to be targeted (unsuccessfully) by the likes of Lois Lane and Batman (the latter was forced to back off from his investigation when Squad leader Amanda Waller threatened to use her considerable government resources to expose Batman's secret identity). While some Squad members—such as Bronze Tiger, Captain Boomerang, and Deadshot—were permanent fixtures, the balance of membership comprised a rotating cast of often very minor-league villains. These villains would agree to tackle missions in exchange for commuted prison sentences; thus, the Squad served as a partial explanation for what sometimes appeared to be a revolving-door justice system in the DC Universe.
While the Squad succeeded on most of their missions, failure occasionally resulted (most notably the capture of Nemesis by Russian forces after a botched mission), as well as the death of one or more members. The use of minor characters added to the jeopardy, as it was not clear whether any given character would survive a mission. Writer John Ostrander did not shy away from killing off some of the Squad's principal characters, most notably Rick Flag, Jr.—who was eliminated at the end of the book's second year. At the time, the series was also notable for examining the lives, motivations, and psychological makeup of its characters, with one issue per year featuring the group's psychologist interviewing various team members.
Suicide Squad (vol. 1) lasted 66 issues, along with one Annual and one special (Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special #1). After the series' cancellation in 1992, the Squad went on to make several guest appearances in titles like Superboy (this Squad incorporated many of Superboy's enemies, as well as Superboy himself), Hawk & Dove, Chase, and Adventures of Superman.
Suicide Squad (vol. 2) was published in 2001, written by Keith Giffen, with art by Paco Medina. Though the series' first issue featured a Squad composed entirely of Giffen's Injustice League members, the roster was promptly slaughtered, save for Major Disaster and Multi-Man (whose powers make him unkillable). This prompted Squad leader Sgt. Rock to recruit new members—most of whom died during the missions they undertook.
Suicide Squad (vol. 3) (initially subtitled Raise the Flag in DC's solicitations) was an eight-issue miniseries published in 2007. It featured the return of writer John Ostrander, with art by Javier Pina. The story focused on the return of Rick Flag, Jr., and the formation of a new Squad for the purpose of attacking a corporation responsible for the development of a deadly bio-weapon. Along the way, the group had to deal with the treachery of involuntary Squad member General Wade Eiling, and—true to the series' form—several fourth-string villains died in the line of duty.
Suicide Squad (vol. 4) debuted as part of DC Comics' line-wide New 52 continuity reboot in 2011. The relaunched book was written by Adam Glass, with art by Federico Dallocchio and Ransom Getty. Amanda Waller once again directs the group from behind-the-scenes; Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and King Shark feature prominently on this version of the Squad. The series' current creative team, as of issue #24, consists of writer Matt Kindt and artist Patrick Zircher.
The Silver Age Suicide Squad
The original Suicide Squad appeared in six issues of The Brave and the Bold (vol. 1), as well as Action Comics (vol. 1) #552. Though this early incarnation of the team (created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru) did not have the espionage trappings of later Squads, it laid much of the groundwork for Squad field leader Rick Flag, Jr.'s personal history.
In the wake of DC's line-wide Crisis on Infinite Earths event, several new book launches were conceptualized, with writer John Ostrander assigned the task of resurrecting the Suicide Squad for an ongoing monthly series. While Ostrander initially found the concept absurd, he soon hit upon the government black ops hook. The team and its administrator Amanda Waller were introduced in the Legends miniseries, with the original Silver Age Squad's backstory fleshed out further in Secret Origins (vol. 2) #14, and modern Suicide Squad member Nightshade getting her own origin story (involving the Squad) in Secret Origins (vol. 2) #28.
The Brave and the Bold
The original Suicide Squad stories revolved around a quartet of non-powered adventurers fighting superpowered opponents. Their adventures often involved conflict with dinosaurs, giants, and other monstrous creatures. In the team's final mission, Dr. Evans dies, and Jess Bright is captured by forces of the Soviet Union and transformed into the monstrous Koshchei. Rick Flag, Jr. and Karin Grace split up, and Flag eventually joins the Forgotten Heroes.
In the midst of Darkseid's attempt to turn humanity against Earth's superheroes via his minion Glorious Godfrey, Amanda Waller assigns Rick Flag, Jr. leadership of a reformed Task Force X, composed of Blockbuster, Bronze Tiger, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, and Enchantress. The Squad's first mission is to eliminate Darkseid's rampaging fire elemental Brimstone; Blockbuster dies during the conflict, and Deadshot takes the creature down with an experimental laser rifle. Waller dismisses the group, though they soon reconvene to collect Captain Boomerang after Godfrey captures him.
Secret Origins (vol. 2)
During World War II, a number of Army riffraff are assembled into a unit that is highly expendable, and therefore nicknamed the Suicide Squadron (shortened to Suicide Squad). Several such teams existed, but their history in comics is only scarcely recorded before Rick Flag, Sr. becomes the leader of the team (and even then, only a few adventures of this Squad are shown). After the war ends, the team (together with the Argent group) is put under the umbrella organization of Task Force X. After his father's death, Rick Flag, Jr. goes on to lead the group that is featured in The Brave and the Bold (vol. 1). A deadly encounter with a Yeti during a mission in Cambodia sends Flag back to the U.S. with a wounded Karin Grace, and after a stint with the Forgotten Heroes, Flag is drafted into the Squad that Waller assembles in Legends.
"A Princess' Story" from Secret Origins (vol. 2) #28 sheds light on Nightshade's origin, revealing that her mother hailed from the Land of the Nightshades. An ill-fated trip to this world ends with Nightshade's mother dead and her brother abducted, and Nightshade spends the following years honing her shadowy powers and building a reputation as a crimefighter. She falls in with King Faraday at the C.B.I.; Faraday eventually introduces her to Amanda Waller, who agrees to help her rescue her brother, in exchange for Nightshade's participation in the Squad.
Other World War II Suicide Squads
The World War II Squad of Secret Origins (vol. 2) #14 was a means of tying the Silver Age Suicide Squad to the war-era Suicide Squad (also called the Suicide Squadron) created by Robert Kanigher for his "The War that Time Forgot" tales in the pages of Star Spangled War Stories. This Suicide Squadron is described as a "top-secret Ranger outfit" whose members were trained to tackle missions from which ordinary volunteers were not expected to return alive. It is unclear whether this team is part of the modern Suicide Squad canon, or if the Squad introduced in Secret Origins was intended as a replacement for them in DC continuity.
Another classic version of the Squad (Rick Flag, Karin Grace, Jess Bright, and Dr. Hugh Evans) appears in the non-canon 2004 miniseries DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke. The group is briefly shown undertaking the sorts of dangerous missions the Squad is known for, and Flag eventually drafts Hal Jordan onto the team to assist in preparing a manned space flight to Mars. The experimental rocket's test run quickly goes south, and the group (sans Jordan) dies in the explosion.
Suicide Squad (vol. 1)
|Suicide Squad (vol. 1)|
Cover to Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #1.
Art by Howard Chaykin.
|Publication date||May 1987 – June 1992|
|Number of issues||68 (#1-66 plus 1 Annual and 1 Special)|
David M. DeVries
John K. Snyder III
|Vol. 1: Trial by Fire||ISBN 1-4012-3005-9|
The first volume of Suicide Squad, written by modern Squad creator John Ostrander, launched in May 1987, shortly after the team was introduced in the Legends crossover event. It lasted for 66 monthly issues, along with one annual and one special (Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special #1), both published in 1988.
This series details the covert operations of the modern, post-Crisis Squad, created (in-universe) and directed by Amanda Waller. It is notable for bringing obscure characters such as Captain Boomerang and Deadshot to prominence; the latter received his own tie-in miniseries in 1988, co-written by Ostrander and Kim Yale. The Suicide Squad also presents a modern context for field team leader Rick Flag, Jr.'s modern-day activities, and his involvement in the Silver-Age Suicide Squad. Former Batgirl Barbara Gordon makes her first appearance as the wheelchair-bound information-broker Oracle, and serves as the Squad's remote radio support, after being shot by the Joker.
Suicide Squad (vol. 1) takes pains to humanize its relatively obscure ensemble cast, partly via an in-house chaplain and psychiatric staff at the Squad's Belle Reve headquarters. These staff members are frequently seen interviewing various Squad operatives or providing evaluations of their mental states; several full issues are dedicated to examining the personal lives and motivations of prominent characters.
Several Suicide Squad story arcs reference or deconstruct the real-world political climate of the times, including hostility from Middle East terrorist organizations, the Cold War, and covert American responses to international dictatorships. Real-world political figures such as Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev make occasional appearances. Ostrander claims that one friend, before making vacation arrangements, used to ask him where he planned to send the Squad next, so as to avoid potential political hotspots.
Over the course of 66 issues, this incarnation of the Suicide Squad undertook numerous high-risk missions for the U.S. government.
"Baptism of Fire"
The team's first mission in the Suicide Squad title set them up against their recurring enemies, the Jihad. They infiltrate their headquarters (the fortress known as Jotunheim, situated in Qurac) and proceed to defeat and kill most of the Onslaught members. Elements from this first story arc return over the series, such as: the death of Mindboggler, Captain Boomerang's cowardly and treacherous nature, Nightshade's attraction to Rick Flag, Jr., a rivalry between Rustam and Rick Flag, Jr., and Ravan's defeat at the hands of the Bronze Tiger.
"Mission to Moscow"
On orders of Derek Tolliver (the team's liaison with the NSC) the Suicide Squad is sent to Moscow in order to free the captive Zoya Trigorin, a revolutionary writer. Although the mission is largely successful in its first half, the team finds that Zoya does not want to be freed at all, causing friction amongst the team as they must plan their escape.
In the end, the mission ends with the Squad having to travel across a tundra to reach safety, but come face to face with the People's Heroes, the Russian's own group of metahumans. In the conflict, Trigorin dies and Nemesis (Tom Tresser) is captured. It turns out Tolliver never even considered the possibility of Trigorin wishing to become a martyr, automatically leaping at the conclusion she would be eager to leave the Soviet Union, and thus risked Waller's wrath upon the mission's end.
Nemesis eventually escapes thanks to a collaboration between the Suicide Squad and the Justice League International, although the two teams fight one another first. This conflict is primarily the result of Batman's investigation into the Suicide Squad, and his confrontation with Waller, and his being forced to drop the investigation when she reveals that she can easily figure out his secret identity if need be.
"Rogues" and "Final Round"
In this story arc, building on subplots from previous issues, Rick Flag goes after Senator Cray in order to assassinate him. Previously, Senator Cray had been blackmailing Amanda Waller in order for her to ensure Cray's reelection, threatening her with the exposure of the Suicide Squad to the public, something potentially very dangerous for the existence of the Squad and Waller's career.
At first, there is also the threat of Waller being usurped by Derek Tolliver, the now former liaison between the Squad and NSC, who conspires with Cray against Waller. Waller deals with the situation by counter-blackmail (with help of Checkmate), but refrains from informing Flag, who, thinking that the existence of the Squad is in danger, decides to deal with the problem himself.
In order to stop him, the Squad is sent after Flag, and it is eventually Deadshot who confronts Flag shortly before he can shoot Cray, but too late to prevent Tolliver's murder in Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #21. Instead of disarming or killing Flag, Deadshot opts to kill Cray, nonetheless keeping to the mission statement: preventing Cray's murder at the hands of Flag.
Against Flag's intentions, the Suicide Squad is exposed to the public, thanks to a note for a press release (exposing the Suicide Squad) left in Tolliver's office, which the police discover thanks to his murder and which a corrupt officer reveals to the staff of the Daily Planet. Flag flees the scene, while Deadshot is shot by the arriving police officers. Unfortunately for Deadshot, who has a deathwish, he does not die from the injuries.
As the result of being exposed, Amanda Waller is replaced by a man called Jack Kale, in fact an actor, working as a cover so that Waller can continue to run the Squad. The team then goes on a public relations offensive, becoming for a time, a prominent heroing team by saving a renowned nun from a repressive regime. Rick Flag travels to Jotunheim, where the Onslaught are still headquartered, and finishes the mission his father could not, blowing up Jotunheim with a prototype nuclear Nazi weapon but gives up his life to do so.
"The Janus Directive"
"The Janus Directive" is a crossover storyline that involves an interagency war between Checkmate, the Suicide Squad, and Project Atom, who are manipulated by Kobra in order to distract the United States intelligence community from his activities. During the crossover, the headquarters of Checkmate and the Suicide Squad are destroyed as the war between the agencies worsens, as well as costing the lives of all members of the Force of July but Major Victory. In the end, with the defeat of Kobra, the various government agencies are made autonomous, to be overseen by Sarge Steel.
"The Coils of the LOA"
With the Suicide Squad on the verge of being disbanded by her superiors after Waller's lone wolf tactics during "The Janus Directive", Waller gathers Ravan, Poison Ivy, and Deadshot in an assassination mission of the LOA, a group that are planning to create a zombie army. The deal for the villains is simple: the three will be set free after helping Waller kill the LOA. While the villains run after the assassination, Waller allows herself to be put into custody.
"The Phoenix Gambit"
The storyline running through Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #40-43 reassembles a scattered Suicide Squad after a year of imprisonment for Amanda Waller. She receives a presidential pardon, courtesy of Sarge Steel, as well as one million dollars and her old privileges concerning the use of imprisoned villains.
This is done so that Waller can reassemble her Squad and prevent a confrontation between American and Soviet forces in the war-torn country of Vlatava. As the Suicide Squad succeeds and finishes their mission, they go into a new direction, free from the government, as freelance operatives, per the terms negotiated by Waller. Under the leadership of Waller, who herself now also goes into the field as an operative, they are a mercenary squad open to the highest bidder.
"Serpent of Chaos"
This storyline ran through Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #45-47, Amanda Waller and the Squad covertly sneak into Jerusalem seeking to capture or kill Kobra. However, the squad's arrival is detected by the Hayoth, and their Mossad liaison Colonel Hacohen takes Waller and Vixen into custody in order to show them that the Hayoth has already captured Kobra. Amanda figures out that Kobra allowed the Hayoth to capture him but is unsure of why. Judith follows Vixen to a meeting with the Bronze Tiger and Ravan, critically wounds Vixen, and is nearly killed by the Bronze Tiger. Meanwhile, the Atom discovers Kobra's true plan all along was to corrupt Dybbuk the Hayoth's AI team member. Kobra "corrupted" Dybbuk through a series of philosophical conversations about the nature of good and evil; he then attempts to use Dybbuk to start World War III. The day is saved by Ramban the team's kabbalistic magician who has a lengthy conversation with Dybbuk about the true nature of good and evil, choice, and morality. Meanwhile, Ravan and Kobra have their final battle which results in Ravan's supposed death via poisoning.
"Mystery of the Atom"
This storyline ran through Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #59-62, the Hayoth mistakenly believe they would be allowed to take Qurac's former President Marlo into custody. This misunderstanding caused the Hayoth to become embroiled in a four way conflict with the Justice League (Superman, Batman, and Aquaman) who were there searching for Ray Palmer (the Atom) as well as the Suicide Squad, and the Jihad. After a series of skirmishes Superman ends the free for all with a shockwave caused by clapping both his hands together. The League confront Ray Palmer and he tells them about Micro Force and their murder of Adam Cray, the man who had been impersonating him as a member of the Suicide Squad.
"Rumble in the Jungle"
The series concludes in issues #63-66, in which the Suicide Squad travels to Diabloverde (an island near the Bermuda Triangle) to depose a seemingly invulnerable and invincible dictator calling himself Guedhe, who has his own personal bodyguards, a group of villains calling themselves the Suicide Squad. Insulted by the rival team usurping the Suicide Squad name, Waller accepts the mission to liberate Diabloverde at the price of one peso, paid by an exiled resident, Maria, with the addendum of exterminating the island's dictator.
During that mission they face the other Suicide Squad, who the actual Suicide Squad beats. At the end of the storyline Amanda Waller tricks the despot, actually Maria's husband, into a form of suicide (the despot believes himself to be immortal, when in actuality he was a formidable psychic whose consciousness kept animating his remains; Waller convinced him her touch brought death, and thus he died). Before that each of the Squad members travel through the mystic jungle to Guedhe's fortress and in that jungle face their personal demons (except for Deadshot. The creative team makes a point of showing he is seemingly unaffected or simply does not have any fears. Also note-worthy, the other Bat-villain, Poison Ivy, is not shown facing her fears and shows more concern for her nylons). Afterward, Waller disbands the Suicide Squad and the series ends.
Membership: Amanda Waller's Squad
Notable team members from Suicide Squad (vol. 1) include:
Interim stories (between Vol. 1-2)
Though John Ostrander's Suicide Squad (vol. 1) series was canceled in 1992 with issue #66, the concept lived on in various DC storylines throughout the years. What follows is a breakdown of the Squad's various odd appearances over the years.
Superboy (vol. 3): "Watery Grave"
The Squad resurfaces in a three-issue Superboy (vol. 3) arc, with a lineup consisting of Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, King Shark, Knockout, Sam Makoa, and Sidearm (who meets his death in the following issue). Superboy himself joins the Squad, to assist in taking out a Pacific Rim crime cartel called the Silicon Dragons. Writer Karl Kesel claims to have come very close to killing Captain Boomerang during this arc.
Hawk & Dove (vol. 4)
In the Hawk & Dove (vol. 4) miniseries, superheroes Hawk and Dove (Sasha Martens and Wiley Wolverman) are targeted by the government, who assemble a new Suicide Squad to subdue the pair. Squad members at the time include Bronze Tiger, Count Vertigo, Deadshot, Flex, Quartzite, Shrapnel, and Thermal.
Chase (vol. 1): "Letdowns"
Amanda Waller reforms the Squad once again in Chase (vol. 1) #2. D.E.O. agent Cameron Chase joins Bolt, Copperhead, Killer Frost, and Sledge on a mission to take out a South American military base, only to be betrayed by the villains.
Superman: Our Worlds at War Secret Files & Origins: "Resources"
The brief story "Resources" (one of several in the issue) depicts Amanda Waller assembling the Squad that is seen in the Adventures of Superman arc.
Adventures of Superman (vol. 1): "The Doomsday Protocol"
Lex Luthor organizes another Suicide Squad during his term as President of the United States, so that they can recruit Doomsday to battle the alien Imperiex. This version of the Squad consists of Chemo, Mongul, Plasmus, and Shrapnel; it is led by Manchester Black, under the supervision of Steel. Doomsday seemingly kills most of the Squad upon his release, but all of the characters turn up alive in later comics.
Suicide Squad (vol. 2)
|Suicide Squad (vol. 2)|
Cover to Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #1.
Art by Paco Medina.
|Publication date||November 2001 – October 2002|
|Number of issues||12|
Keith Giffen's short-lived Suicide Squad run (which began in November 2001 and lasted 12 issues) is something of a darkly humorous analog to the writer's former work on Justice League International, and follows a new version of the Squad, designated Task Force Omega, and run by Sgt. Frank Rock. Together with his right-hand (and wheelchair-bound) man Bulldozer, Rock taps new characters Havana and Modem to round out the team's mobile HQ. President Lex Luthor and Secretary of Metahuman Affairs Amanda Waller are shown to be supplying the Squad's assignments.
Rock is thought by several other characters to have been deceased since the end of World War II, and they are surprised to see him alive and well. Two flashback stories provide some context for Rock's current-day activities, but the series' final issue strongly implies that Rock is an (as-yet-unidentified) impostor.
The first issue details the former Injustice League's terminally botched attempt to extract a kidnapped scientist from an Icelandic facility. With all but one team member (Major Disaster) presumed dead by issue's end, Sgt. Rock forms a new Suicide Squad for the missions ahead. Major Disaster, Deadshot, and Killer Frost are mainstays of the field team. For his part, Rock is every bit as ruthless as Amanda Waller was (though far more affable), remorselessly sending his agents to die for the good of their country.
The Squad's missions involve eliminating an out-of-control colony of bio-engineered army ants, and investigating the mysterious island of Kooey Kooey Kooey to discourage its telepathic inhabitants from declaring war on Earth. Havana is revealed to be Amanda Waller's daughter, and the final story arc revolves around an all-out attack on the Squad by the members of Onslaught, led by the son of longtime Squad enemy Rustam. Onslaught kills Modem and captures Rock, Havana, and Waller.
Upon learning that the Squad has been compromised, Waller's office drafts the Justice Society of America to counterattack Onslaught alongside the Squad, but they arrive too late to save Havana from Rustam's wrath. Deadshot discovers a discarded Sgt. Rock mask inside an empty holding cell, which prompts Bulldozer (who is monitoring the situation remotely via Deadshot's video camera) to stand from his wheelchair and announce that "I guess the gig is up, then" before leaving. Back in her office, Amanda Waller reviews Bulldozer's file, and states that he and Sgt. Rock died in 1945.
Membership: Task Force Omega
Notable team members from Suicide Squad (vol. 2) include:
- Amanda Waller
- Sgt. Frank Rock (implied to be an impostor)
- Big Sir
- Clock King (William Tockman)
- Killer Frost (Louise Lincoln)
- Major Disaster
Interim stories (between Vol. 2-3)
Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad were heavily involved in the events and fallout of 52. During much of this time, Waller ran the Squad covertly, due to her station as the White Queen of Checkmate. This inter-faction tension is a recurring theme throughout many Squad stories of this era.
Superman (vol. 2): "Dead Men"
Superman Secret Files & Origins 2004: "Suicide Watch"
Amanda Waller assembles a short-lived Suicide Squad, led by Atom Smasher, to take on an out-of-control Black Adam. Atom Smasher's team ambushes the Black Marvel Family, getting Waller the evidence that she needs to expose their threat to the world. As Waller reviews future potential Squad members, Atom Smasher quits the team, threatening to inform Checkmate of Waller's unauthorized field ops unless she grants him a full pardon. Later, as World War III rages, Waller informs Bronze Tiger that Rick Flag, Jr. is alive.
Checkmate (vol. 2): "Rogue Squad"
As part of DC's One Year Later event, Greg Rucka penned the two-part "Rogue Squad" arc for Checkmate (vol. 2). After Bronze Tiger finds Rick Flag, Jr. alive, Amanda Waller (now the White Queen of Checkmate) taps the pair to track down a rogue Squad that's out to expose her off-the-books activities. The Squad is led by Mirror Master, and includes Icicle, Javelin, Plastique, Tattooed Man, Punch, and Jewelee.
Beginning in the pages of Countdown, the Squad makes various one-off appearances, where they are seen rounding up the world's villains for an unknown purpose. This culminates in the seven-issue Salvation Run miniseries (written by Bill Willingham), where the Squad sends the apprehended villains to a remote prison world via boom tube. Squad members seen rounding up villains include Rick Flag, Jr., Bronze Tiger, Captain Boomerang, Count Vertigo, the General, King Faraday, Multiplex, Nightshade, Plastique, Bane, Chemo, and Deadshot (the latter three are betrayed by the Squad and sent to the prison planet with the other villains).
Suicide Squad (vol. 3)
|Suicide Squad (vol. 3)|
Cover to Suicide Squad (vol. 3) #1.
Art by John K. Snyder III.
|Publication date||November 2007 – June 2008|
|Number of issues||8|
|Suicide Squad: From the Ashes||ISBN 1-4012-1866-0|
John Ostrander returned to the Suicide Squad for an eight-issue miniseries, starting in November 2007. The series takes place roughly between the Squad's appearance in Checkmate (vol. 2) #6-7 and the events of Salvation Run (as Amanda Waller has already been ousted from her position at Checkmate, but Deadshot and Chemo are still with the Squad and not exiled). It is functionally a sequel to the Checkmate arc, detailing how Rick Flag, Jr. survived his apparent death before returning to Waller's Suicide Squad.
DC Comics' official solicitations consistently referred to the miniseries as Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag, though this nomenclature is never used within any individual issue or collected edition of the miniseries.
Rick Flag, Jr. is revealed to be alive, having been transported to the dinosaur-infested island of Skartaris by his enemy Rustam after Flag's apparent death beneath Jotunheim. The pair works together for mutual survival, though Flag is forced to kill Rustam once the pair discovers a way home. Flag winds up as a prisoner of war in Qurac for the next four years; after being rescued by Bronze Tiger, Flag rejoins the Suicide Squad, which includes his now-superhuman former commanding officer, General Wade Eiling.
After reviewing several new recruits, Amanda Waller briefs the Squad on the latest target: a Dubai-based global conglomerate called Haake-Bruton, whose deadly and fast-acting new viral weapon is to be destroyed, and its board of directors eliminated. The Squad airdrops onto Haake-Bruton's island stronghold, where Flag encounters Rustam's revenge-seeking father. Eiling compromises the mission, conspiring with Thinker to betray the Squad to Haake-Bruton's board in exchange for asylum. The Squad suffers heavy casualties in the sudden internal conflict. Despite numerous setbacks, Deadshot manages to carry out the assassination, while Waller confronts the General personally. Eiling demonstrates control over Flag via psychological conditioning; Flag subdues him after revealing the cooperation as a ruse, and the Squad returns to Belle Reve. Flag is unfazed by Waller's revelation that his own identity and memories are implanted, asserting to Nightshade that—no matter what anyone else says—he is still Rick Flag, Jr.
Membership: Raise the Flag
Notable team members from Suicide Squad (vol. 3) include:
- Amanda Waller
- Rick Flag, Jr.
- Bronze Tiger
- Captain Boomerang (Owen Mercer)
- Count Vertigo
- King Faraday
- The General
- Thinker (Cliff Carmichael)
- White Dragon (William Heller)
Interim stories (between Vol. 3-4)
The Squad made prominent appearances in a four-issue Manhunter (vol. 4) arc and during the Blackest Night crossover event. In his multiverse-spanning adventures, Booster Gold briefly cooperated with a version of the Silver Age Squad. These issues mark the Squad's final appearances prior to DC Comics' New 52 continuity reboot in 2011.
Manhunter (vol. 4): "Forgotten"
The Suicide Squad has a run-in with Manhunter, after she unknowingly compromises their months-long undercover investigation into the Crime Doctor's metahuman genetic experiments in collaboration with Vestech Industries. Manhunter backs off of the trail at the insistence of the Squad and the Birds of Prey, but goes rogue in an effort to bring down the Crime Doctor—who futilely attempts to restrain the Squad after becoming aware of their deep-cover duplicity. The operation is dismantled, and Manhunter goes public with the takedown.
Booster Gold (vol. 2): "1952 Pick-up"
On one of his adventures throughout the DC multiverse, Booster Gold winds up in an alternate 1952, where Karin Grace drafts him into a Squad led by Frank Rock. The team infiltrates a U.S. military compound to root out a Soviet double-agent, who ultimately turns out to be the creator of the Rocket Reds' combat armor.
Blackest Night: "Danse Macabre"
In the three-issue Blackest Night tie-in arc "Danse Macabre" (written by Gail Simone and John Ostrander), several deceased Suicide Squad members are reanimated as Black Lanterns, led by Fiddler (this group is unofficially known as the "Homicide Squad"). They attack the Squad and the Secret Six, who are engaged in simultaneous conflicts at their respective headquarters, owing to Amanda Waller's plans to shut down the Six. The two teams join forces to wipe out the Homicide Squad; with the immediate threat resolved, the Six assert their independence, and Deadshot places a bullet mere centimeters from Waller's heart to punctuate the point. As she recovers at Belle Reve, she reveals that she is secretly Mockingbird, the Secret Six's mysterious benefactor.
Suicide Squad (vol. 4)
|Suicide Squad (vol. 4)|
Cover to Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #1.
Art by Ryan Benjamin.
|Publication date||November 2011 – present|
|Number of issues||25 (#1-24 plus issue #0, as of December 2013 cover date)|
|Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth||ISBN 1-4012-3544-1|
|Vol. 2: Basilisk Rising||ISBN 1-4012-3844-0|
|Vol. 3: Death Is for Suckers||ISBN 1-4012-4316-9|
A new Suicide Squad title, written by Adam Glass with art by Federico Dallocchio and Ransom Getty, launched in November 2011 as part of The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe). Amanda Waller once again directs a crew of black ops agents on covert government missions, with Deadshot serving as the field team's leader. The ongoing series is notable as serving as something of a showpiece for Batman villain Harley Quinn, and it has crossed over with other New 52 titles, including Resurrection Man, Grifter, and Justice League of America's Vibe.
After a botched government mission forces her to execute an injured teammate, Amanda Waller sets out to assemble an expendable field team, prompting the formation of a new Suicide Squad (the first and only Squad in the New 52 continuity). Waller forces dozens of Belle Reve's death row inmates into a series of rigorous tests and torture scenarios to evaluate their loyalty and value as potential Squad members. The finalists—notably including Deadshot, King Shark, and Harley Quinn—are outfitted with micro-bomb implants, and inducted into the Squad.
The Suicide Squad's missions typically involve the elimination or retrieval of high-value targets, such as the recovery of a newborn baby who carries the cure to a deadly viral outbreak. At one point, the team must track down an AWOL Harley Quinn; in another mission, the Squad goes after Resurrection Man. The Basilisk terrorist group serves as a recurring villain (echoing the Jihad organization from John Ostrander's original Suicide Squad series), and several issues delve into the twisted relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker.
Eventually, Waller recruits serial killer James Gordon, Jr. to act as Belle Reve's in-house psychiatric adviser—but unbeknownst to her, Gordon quickly develops a twisted infatuation with Waller. One ongoing and unresolved plot point involves the Samsara serum—a medical treatment that Belle Reve's doctors use to resurrect dead Squad members (including Deadshot and Voltaic). It is eventually discovered that the serum will permanently kill anyone that it's administered to; Waller is implied to be one such subject.
During the Forever Evil crossover event, Waller approaches Black Manta with an offer to join the Squad, just before the Crime Syndicate of America raids Belle Reve. Waller later convinces Deadshot to help her assemble a team to stop the Crime Syndicate. Amanda Waller gets to a secret area in Belle Reve, where she instructs Deadshot and Harley to take the team to the Rocky Mountains to intercept a weapon. Before doing so, Deadshot and Harley are able to recruit Captain Boomerang back to the team. Back at Belle Reve, James Gordon, Jr learns that the Thinker is building a satellite to control something and it is seen that King Shark is working with him. In a flashback, it is shown that Amanda Waller has recruited Warrant, Steel and Unknown Soldier, on the basis that the former Suicide Squad betrayed her by joining the Crime Syndicate and are using her intel to get the weapon in the Rockies for the Syndicate. In the Rockies, Power Girl arrives to assist the new recruits. When the new recruits arrive at the weapon, which turns out to be OMAC, they see that Deadshot, Harley and Captain Boomerang are already there. Unknown Soldier contacts Amanda Waller, letting her know there is a problem, and she instructs him and the rest of the new recruits, to kill the reformed Suicide Squad. However, it is revealed that Unknown Soldier is actually talking to the Thinker, while the actual Amanda Waller is attempting to contact Deadshot to not bring OMAC back to Belle Reve, as the Thinker has placed an explosive collar around her neck. The two teams continue to fight until Unknown Solider realizes that his team was approached by a holographic Waller and were tricked. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn (who is working for the Thinker) takes OMAC and activates him causing him to fire a laser on the mountain which collapses on the two teams inside it. At Belle Reve, James Gordon, Jr. finds Amanda Waller who proceeds to bring him to a secret sub-level in the prison. On the way, she tells him the history of the Task Force program and all the failed attempts that lead up to Task Force Team X before being found by King Shark. James Gordon Jr. holds him off telling him that if he kills Waller, he will never know who his real father is. Waller arrives at a vault labeled "Project Y" and opens it to reveal Kane.
Membership: The New 52
Notable team members from Suicide Squad (vol. 4) include (current members are indicated in bold):
- Amanda Waller
- Captain Boomerang (George Harkness)
- James Gordon, Jr.
- King Shark
- Harley Quinn
- The Unknown Soldier
- Black Spider (Eric Needham)
- El Diablo (Chato Santana)
Suicide Squad trade paperbacks include:
- Suicide Squad: From the Ashes (collects Suicide Squad (vol. 3) #1-8, 192 pages, softcover, August 2008, ISBN 1-4012-1866-0)
- Secret Six: Danse Macabre (collects Secret Six (vol. 3) #15-18 and Blackest Night: Suicide Squad #67, 128 pages, softcover, October 2010, ISBN 1-4012-2904-2)
- Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Trial by Fire (collects Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #1-6 and Secret Origins (vol. 2) #14, 232 pages, softcover, February 2011, ISBN 1-4012-3005-9)
- Suicide Squad (2011):
- Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth (collects Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #1-7, 160 pages, softcover, July 2012, ISBN 1-4012-3544-1)
- Vol. 2: Basilisk Rising (collects Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #8-13, #0 and Resurrection Man (vol. 2) #9, 192 pages, softcover, February 2013, ISBN 1-4012-3844-0)
- Vol. 3: Death Is for Suckers (collects Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #14-19, 144 pages, softcover, October 2013, ISBN 1-4012-4316-9)
In other media
- At the height of Suicide Squad (vol. 1), DC had meetings with writers and producers to discuss the possibility of a Squad television show. According to John Ostrander, the ideas were pretty bad, and nothing ultimately came of it.
- The Suicide Squad appears in the animated Justice League Unlimited series, in the episode "Task Force X." Field commander Rick Flag, Jr. recruits Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Plastique, and Clock King (who fulfills Oracle's radio support role here) for a mission to appropriate the Annihilator automaton from the Justice League Watchtower on behalf of Project Cadmus. The team succeeds, but Plastique is critically wounded in the process. According to the series' producers, this episode resulted from the realization that the Project Cadmus organization needed a solid victory to cement itself as a credible threat. The Squad was referred to throughout the episode as "Task Force X," due to concerns with using the word "suicide" for children's television.
- In Smallville's season 9 episode "Absolute Justice," the Suicide Squad is referenced directly by Checkmate's Amanda Waller. At the end of the episode, Waller shoots Icicle, who attempted to quit working for her. The end of the episode also reveals that Tess Mercer is a Checkmate agent. The Suicide Squad itself is featured in Smallville's 10th and final season; members who appear include Rick Flag, Deadshot (Floyd Lawton), Plastique (Bette Sans Souci), and Warp (Emil LaSalle). Halfway through the 10th season, it is revealed that the Squad has begun working for Chloe Sullivan.
- Arrow executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim hint that the Suicide Squad will appear in season 2.
- Rick Flag appears in the direct-to-video animated film Justice League: The New Frontier, an adaptation of Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier comic series. The Squad itself is cut from the story for brevity; only Flag and Hal Jordan remain.
- Warner Bros. is currently developing a Suicide Squad movie. Dan Lin is producing, and Justin Marks is scripting.
- DC writer and editor Geoff Johns confirmed in February 2012 that a video game based on the Suicide Squad is in development.
- At the conclusion of Batman: Arkham Origins, Amanda Waller recruits Deathstroke into the Suicide Squad, hinting at a possible Squad appearance in future Batman: Arkham games, or even the aforementioned Suicide Squad game itself.
- Several cut-scenes in Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate implicate Waller and the Squad in the game's prison riot plot. Waller and Rick Flag, Jr. are shown recruiting Bronze Tiger and Deadshot, who both feature prominently in the game as boss encounters.
The Squiddy Awards, given by the members of the rec.arts.comics newsgroup on Usenet, ultimately derive their name from the Suicide Squad comic book. The name originated April 1991, when a regular poster to rec.arts.comics typoed "i" for "a," and other posters—seeing an opportunity for humor—went into great detail about what was going on in the (non-existent) Suicide Squid comic title. The self-destructive cephalopod is often seen on official rec.arts.comics t-shirts at conventions.
- (Institute for Metahuman Studies)
- Irvine, Alex; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1950s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "In "The Three Waves of Doom", a story that filled The Brave and the Bold #25, writer Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru introduced the Suicide Squad, a band of World War II-era military misfits."
- Secret Origins (vol. 2) #14
- Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 228: "Writer John Ostrander gave the new Suicide Squad its own series, having brought the team to life in 1986's Legends miniseries...With the team's own title, Ostrander was helped by artist Luke McDonnell."
- The 11-part Janus Directive crossover consisted of Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #27-30, Checkmate (vol. 1) #15-18, Manhunter (vol. 2) #14, Firestorm (vol. 2) #86, and Captain Atom #30
- Flashback: The Suicide Squad (Back Issue #26, February 2008)
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #10
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #7
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #26
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #8, 19, and 31
- Superboy (vol. 3) #13-15
- Hawk & Dove (vol. 4) #3-5
- Chase (vol. 1) #2-3
- Adventures of Superman (vol. 1) #593-594
- Justice League (vol. 1) Annual #1
- DC Comics: Suicide Squad #1: Raise the Flag
- The Brave and the Bold (vol. 1) #25-27, 37-39
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #552
- Legends #1-6
- Secret Origins (vol. 2) #28
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #50
- Legends #1
- Legends #3
- Legends #4
- Legends #5
- Star Spangled War Stories #110-111, 116-121, 125, and 127-128
- DC: The New Frontier #1-4
- Deadshot (vol. 1) #1-4
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #23
- Batman: The Killing Joke
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #5
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #1
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #1-2
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #5-7
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #63-66
- Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special #1
- Justice League International (vol. 1) #13 and Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #13
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #21-22
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #8, 11, 14, 17, 19
- Flag finds out in Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #19
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #23-25
- Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #37-39
- Superman: Our Worlds at War Secret Files & Origins #1
- Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #6
- Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #1
- Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #2
- Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #4
- Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #10
- Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #12
- Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #3
- Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #7
- Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #8
- Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #9
- Suicide Squad (vol. 2) #11
- Superman (vol. 2) #182
- Superman Secret Files & Origins 2004
- 52 #24
- 52 #33
- 52 #34
- 52 #45
- World War III, Book Three: Hell Is for Heroes
- Checkmate (vol. 2) #6-7
- Countdown (vol. 1) #43-42, 39, 28, 25, 22
- All Flash (vol. 1) #1
- Checkmate (vol. 2) #18-20
- Green Arrow and Black Canary Wedding Special (vol. 1) #1
- Outsiders (vol. 2) #50
- Gotham Underground (vol. 1) #1, 3, 6
- Justice League of America (vol. 2) #15, 17-18
- Salvation Run (vol. 1) #1-2
- Catwoman (vol. 3) #74-75, 78
- Suicide Squad (vol. 3) #1
- Suicide Squad (vol. 3) #2
- Suicide Squad (vol. 3) #3
- Suicide Squad (vol. 3) #4
- Suicide Squad (vol. 3) #5
- Suicide Squad (vol. 3) #6
- Suicide Squad (vol. 3) #7
- Suicide Squad (vol. 3) #8
- Manhunter (vol. 4) #33-36
- Blackest Night: Suicide Squad #67 and Secret Six (vol. 3) #17-18
- Booster Gold (vol. 2) #20
- Resurrection Man (vol. 2) #8-9
- Grifter (vol. 3) #14-15
- Justice League of America's Vibe (vol. 1) #4-5
- Suicide Squad vol. 4 #0
- Suicide Squad vol. 4 #1
- Suicide Squad vol. 4 #2-5
- Suicide Squad vol. 4 #6-7
- Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #9
- Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #8, 10-13
- Suicide Squad vol. 4 #17-19
- Suicide Squad vol. 4 #14-15
- Suicide Squad vol. 4 #20
- Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #16
- Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #22
- Aquaman vol. 7 #23.1
- Justice League of America vol. 3 #7.1
- Suicide Squad vol. 4 #24
- Suicide Squad vol. 4 #25
- DC Comics: Suicide Squad: From the Ashes trade profile
- DC Comics: Secret Six: Danse Macabre trade profile
- DC Comics: Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Trial by Fire trade profile
- DC Comics: Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth trade profile
- DC Comics: Suicide Squad, Vol. 2: Basilisk Rising trade profile
- DC Comics: Suicide Squad, Vol. 3: Death Is for Suckers trade profile
- Hutchison, Michael. "John Ostrander: The Interview". Fanzing. August 1999.
- "Cadmus Exposed", Justice League Unlimited Season Two, DC Classics Collection, Warner Bros
- "The Undertaking" is Near on Arrow
- Arrow Bosses Tease New Villains, Black Canary and More Season 2 Scoop
- Kit, Borys. "Scribe In for 'Suicide Squad' Pact". The Hollywood Reporter. February 25, 2009.
- Narcisse, Evan (February 14, 2012). "Geoff Johns Says a Great Superman Video Game Needs the "Right Studio"". Kotaku. Archived from the original on October 27, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
- Totilo, Stephen (October 25, 2013). "Today's New Batman Games Tease A Very Cool Possible Sequel". Kotaku. Archived from the original on October 27, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
- "Rec.Arts.Comics Squiddy Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
- Suicide Squad (1987) at the Grand Comics Database
- Suicide Squad (2001) at the Grand Comics Database
- Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag (2007) at the Grand Comics Database
- Suicide Squad (2011) at the Grand Comics Database
- Suicide Squad (WWII Squad) at the Comic Book DB
- Suicide Squad (Brave & Bold backup) at the Comic Book DB
- Suicide Squad (post-Legends) at the Comic Book DB
- Suicide Squad (Sgt. Rock squad) at the Comic Book DB
- Suicide Squad (post-Infinite Crisis) at the Comic Book DB
- Suicide Squad (interim squads) at the Comic Book DB
- DC Cosmic Teams: Suicide Squad
- John Dalton's e-mail interview with John Ostrander, August 4, 1998
- Suicide Squad: Five Years of Treachery, Death, and... Redemption?, August 1999
- Fanzing #19 interview with John Ostrander, August 1999
- Keith Giffen: Suicide King, 2001
- Looking Back: Suicide Squad, Newsarama, November 28, 2002
- Justice League Unlimited Update, April 20, 2005
- Rucka, DeFilippis & Weir on the Return of the Suicide Squad, Newsarama, September 21, 2006
- Former Suicide Squad editor Bob Greenberger on Rick Flag's return
- John Ostrander on Returning to The Squad, Newsarama, January 15, 2007
- DC Previews For September 12th - 19th, Newsarama, Suicide Squad in Checkmate #18