Rick Flag threatening Derek Tolliver from the cover of Suicide Squad #19 (November 1988)
|First appearance||The Brave and the Bold #25 (1959)|
|Created by||Robert Kanigher
|Alter ego||Captain Rick Flag Jr.|
|Team affiliations||Suicide Squad|
The father, Richard Flag, was in the original Suicide Squad, a World War II unit. After the war, he was a member of Task Force X. His son, Rick Flag Jr., was a member of the Forgotten Heroes and led two different incarnations of the Suicide Squad.
Fictional character biography
Rick Flag Sr.
Richard Montgomery Flag led a division in World War II called the Suicide Squadron. In his first mission, Flag was the only survivor. After that he enjoyed increasing success and decreasing mortality. After the war, he married Sharon Race. In 1951, with the disappearance of the Justice Society of America and other super-heroes, President Harry S. Truman again called on Flag when he created Task Force X.
Task Force X would have two units: the military unit "Argent" (led by "Control"), and the civilian unit "Suicide Squad" which would deal with civilian matters — masked villains and the like. General Jeb Stuart would lead the military side to deal with national and international crises. Though Argent's recorded activity ceased after 1960, Stuart's Suicide Squad continued on. Eventually, Flag sacrificed himself in stopping the former Blackhawks' nemesis, the War Wheel.
Rick Flag Jr.
Flag was replaced in the Squad by his now-grown son, Richard Rogers Flag. Young Rick headed a new, public team which included his girlfriend, Karin Grace, Dr. Hugh Evans, and Jess Bright. In one tragic mission in Cambodia they were pursued by a Yeti. Evans and Bright and the Yeti fell into a crevasse, presumably to their deaths. Bright survived, angered at being left behind.
Bright, frostbitten and near-death, was found by the Chinese who nursed him back to health. He then passed onto the Russians who transformed him into the bionic monster called Koshchei the Deathless. With his expertise in engineering, Bright assisted in the creation of the Rocket Red Brigade and lent a hand to the nation of Qurac in assembling their metahuman team, the Jihad. Grace also secretly bore Flag's son and placed him with an adoptive family. Later, Rick was sent to infiltrate the Forgotten Heroes as a spy for the government. After the "death" of the Forgotten Heroes' leader, the Immortal Man, the team disbanded and Flag worked covertly for the U.S. government.
Rick Flag Jr. was then tapped by the government to lead the new Suicide Squad as formed by Amanda Waller, a role he reluctantly assumed. Immediately, Rick showed signs of instability, which were worsened when Karin Grace became the team's medic. Flag hated working with the criminals under his command, and resented the notion that he and Deadshot were alike in any way.
There were bright points amongst the Suicide Squad however, as the team was not completely filled with criminals. Nightshade, although she resented Flag at first when she was forced to become an accessory to murder when she became an undercover operative in the Jihad, grew attracted to him. She was never able to admit her feelings to him however, and he took no notice.
Flag also held good relationships with Nemesis and the Bronze Tiger, even though both were in some ways opposed to Flag. Although Nemesis had feelings for Nightshade, something to which Flag was oblivious, he stepped out of the way and respected Nightshade's feelings. Similarly, the Tiger was originally tapped to become the Squad's leader, but was instead replaced by Flag, something that the Tiger had no problems with.
The loyalty Flag had towards his teammates and Waller was evident in the fact that he did not shy away from a conflict with the Justice League in order to free Nemesis from Soviet captivity. He also threatened a bureaucrat who was threatening Waller's position.
This did nothing to ease Flag's mental instability, and it soon worsened. Flag led a different Squad in a deadly mission involving the Doom Patrol in which he was the only survivor. The death of Karin Grace also served to amplify this and it came to a head when US Senator Cray threatened to reveal the existence of the Suicide Squad to the public.
Unbeknownst to him, Amanda Waller had already dealt with the threat, and Flag set out to assassinate Cray in order to ensure the existence of the Suicide Squad, even though he loathed some of its members. The Squad set out to stop him, with the clearance to do so by any means necessary. The villain Deadshot found Flag and Cray, but instead of killing Flag however, Deadshot murdered the senator. Flag was forced to flee, and unwittingly, the existence of the Suicide Squad was still revealed.
Flag set out to destroy the Jihad team once and for all after learning that his father had previously attacked their stronghold, Jotunheim, during World War II in order to neutralise a Nazi prototype nuclear weapon. He left a note to Nightshade detailing his plans. The bomb was still there, buried under rubble and the Jihad was unaware of its presence. Flag sneaked in and slew his way through to the bomb itself. He battled the Jihad's leader Rustam personally, just before the bomb exploded.
After his death, Flag appeared in an issue of Captain Atom, where his soul was saved from an eternity in Purgatory and reunited with Karin in Paradise. His Purgatory self also appears in the Day of Judgement, limited series. Along with other Purgatory bound souls, he battles heavenly agents on the behalf of a still living superhero team. As stated in issue five of the series, his rebellious actions earn him another after-life chance.
One Year Later in Checkmate (vol. 2) #6, Rick Flag is revealed to be alive and is rescued from a secret Quraci prison by the Bronze Tiger. He had been imprisoned there for four years until Amanda Waller discovered him and alerted the Tiger to his whereabouts. Rick was later revealed to be leading a clandestine Suicide Squad unit at the behest of Amanda Waller, and against the expressed mandate of the Checkmate organization.
Bob Greenberger, who co-created the Suicide Squad alongside John Ostrander, has publicly objected to the resurrection of Rick Flag. According to Greg Rucka, Rick Flag's subsequent re-appearance had nothing to do with Infinite Crisis, and John Ostrander has stated that he knew how Rick Flag could survive the explosion at Jotunheim when he first wrote it.
As seen in Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag #2, Rustam used his Scimitar to teleport both Rick Flag and himself to Skartaris. In Raise the Flag #5, General Wade Eiling admits that Rick Flag Jr. is not actually the son of Rick Flag Sr., but is a soldier named Anthony Miller who was brainwashed by Eiling into believing he was Flag's son. Miller's conditioning means that Eiling still has control of him, and uses him as part of his takeover of the Suicide Squad. Forced to activate an explosive implant in Amanda Waller's brain, Miller breaks free from his mind control enough to activate Eiling's implant instead, leaving him helpless enough to be captured. Confronted with the possibility to give up his presumed identity and return home, Miller decides that the Suicide Squad needs a Rick Flag, and refuses the offer.
Rick Flag III
Rick Flag Jr.'s young son by Karin Grace who also shared his name was introduced in Suicide Squad #50. The boy was kidnapped by Koschei the Deathless (Jess Bright) a member of the Jihad, but was rescued by Nemesis of the Suicide Squad. He has since appeared in Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag #4, in which Flag Jr and Bronze Tiger visit his adopted home, but Flag refuses to approach him.
In other media
- Rick Flag Jr. appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X" with Adam Baldwin as Flag. Like the comics, Colonel Rick Flag Jr. is the leader of Task Force X, the son of Rick Flag Sr. and a patriot to his country. He recruited Captain Boomerang, Clock King (Temple Fugate), Deadshot, and Plastique for a stealth mission to steal the Annihilator from the Watchtower for Amanda Waller and the rest of Project Cadmus. His father Rick Flag Sr. is mentioned by Waller where she tells Rick that his "father would be proud."
- Rick Flag appears in the premiere episode of Smallville's tenth and final season, "Lazarus" portrayed by Ted Whittall. He captures and interrogates Green Arrow, as well as in episode two of season ten, "Shield", as the leader of the Suicide Squad, along with Deadshot and Plastique. He once again appears in episode seven, "Ambush", along with Emil LaSalle where he takes aim at a visiting General Sam Lane, who threatens his agenda of taking down the Vigilante Registration Act. In episode 12, "Collateral," it is revealed that Flag has been blackmailed into working for Chloe Sullivan, who is also trying to take down the Vigilante Registration Act.
- Rick Flag was mentioned in the Arrow episode "Suicidal Tendencies".
DC Extended Universe
- Rick Flag appears in the live action adaptation of Suicide Squad, portrayed by Joel Kinnaman. Tom Hardy was originally set to play the character, but scheduling conflicts with The Revenant forced him to drop out of the role. He is a Special Forces operative hired by Amanda Waller to watch over June Moone, with whom he falls in love, and later tasked to lead the Suicide Squad during field missions. His motive during the course of the film is to free June Moone of Enchantress, an ancient goddess who took over her body. When confronted by Deadshot over the mission details after Waller is captured by Enchantress's army, he relieves the Squad of their duties, but chooses to continue, and the rest of the Squad eventually decides to help him. He and El Diablo are the only ones to break out of Enchantress's illusions (albeit with some convincing from Diablo). When fighting Enchantress, he sets off a bomb and Killer Croc throws it towards Enchantress's "machine", while Deadshot shoots the bomb, forcing it to explode. When confronting a defeated Enchantress, he threatens her with her heart to release June from the curse. Enchantress refuses and mocks him, and Flag, remembering a promise to June, forces himself to crush the heart, killing Enchantress and seemingly June as well. However, June survives and Flag is reunited with her.
- Rick Flag Sr. appears in Justice League: The New Frontier voiced by Lex Lang. Flag serves as Hal Jordan's instructor, acting similar to a drill sergeant. Flag is also Hal's co pilot during a mission to Mars, sprung from the Martian Manhunter's arrival. When the spaceship is damaged Flag detonates several bombs on board the ship killing Flag while Hal is saved by Superman. A younger Rick Flag Jr. makes a cameo in the end.
- Rick Flag Jr. appears in Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, where Adam Baldwin reprises the role. He and Amanda Waller monitor Batman's work at Blackgate Penitentiary. In the post-credits, he and Amanda Waller get Deadshot and Bronze Tiger to join the Suicide Squad.
- Wallace, Dan (2008). "Flag, Rich". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 128. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
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- Ostrander, John (w), McDonnell, Luke (p), Hunt, Dave (i). "The Secret Origin of the Suicide Squad" Secret Origins v2, 14: 7/1 (May, 1987), DC Comics
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- Ostrander, John (w), McDonnell, Luke (p), Hunt, Dave (i). "The Secret Origin of the Suicide Squad" Secret Origins v2, 14: 26 (May, 1987), DC Comics
- Ostrander, John (w), McDonnell, Luke (p), Hunt, Dave (i). "The Secret Origin of the Suicide Squad" Secret Origins v2, 14: 27 (May, 1987), DC Comics
- Ostrander, John (w), McDonnell, Luke (p), Hunt, Dave (i). "The Secret Origin of the Suicide Squad" Secret Origins v2, 14: 28/1 (May, 1987), DC Comics
- "Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad" #1 (1988)
- Bob Greenberger's Blog – Suicide Notes Archived October 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- John Ostrander on returning to The Squad, Newsarama, January 15, 2007
- Jeff Sneider and Linda Ge (February 13, 2015). "Joel Kinnaman to Replace Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg in WB's 'Suicide Squad'". The Wrap.
- "'Suicide Squad' Cast Revealed: Jared Leto to Play the Joker, Will Smith is Deadshot". Variety. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- "Tom Hardy Suicide Squad: Actor Drops DC Comics Adaptation". SlashFilm. Retrieved 15 January 2015.