Suicide Squad

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This article is about the fictional group. For the 2016 film/theatre, see Suicide Squad (film).
Suicide Squad
Artwork for the cover of Suicide Squad vol. 5, 1 (December 2016 DC Comics). Art by Jim Lee.
Group publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance

Original:
The Brave and the Bold #25 (September 1959)

Modern:
Legends #3 (January 1987)
Created by

Original:
Robert Kanigher
Ross Andru

Modern:
John Ostrander
Len Wein
John Byrne
In-story information
Base(s) Belle Reve Prison, IMHS[1]
Member(s) List of Suicide Squad members
Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad -1.jpg Cover to Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #1.
Art by Howard Chaykin.
Series publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre Spy, superhero
Publication date Vol. 1:
May 1987 – June 1992
Vol. 2:
November 2001 – October 2002
Vol. 3:
November 2007 – June 2008
Vol. 4:
November 2011 – July 2014
New Suicide Squad:
September 2014 – July 2016
Vol. 5
August 2016 – present
Number of issues Vol. 1:
68 (#1–66 plus 1 Annual and 1 Special)
Vol. 2:
12
Vol. 3:
8
Vol. 4:
32 (#1–30 plus issue #0 and one Special)
New Suicide Squad:
22 (20 regular, 1 Special and 1 Annual)
Vol. 5
8 (as of December 2016, plus a Rebirth one-shot)
Creative team
Writer(s)
Penciller(s)
Inker(s)
Letterer(s)
Colorist(s)
Creator(s)

Original:
Robert Kanigher
Ross Andru

Modern:
John Ostrander
Len Wein
John Byrne
Editor(s)
Collected editions
Trial by Fire ISBN 1-4012-3005-9
Suicide Squad: From the Ashes ISBN 1-4012-1866-0
Kicked in the Teeth ISBN 1-4012-3544-1
Basilisk Rising ISBN 1-4012-3844-0
Death Is for Suckers ISBN 1-4012-4316-9
Discipline and Punish ISBN 1-4012-4701-6
Walled In ISBN 1-4012-5012-2
New Suicide Squad: Vol. 1 ISBN 1-4012-5238-9

The Suicide Squad, also known as Task Force X (the name of a closely related but independent supervisory organization), is a name of two fictional organizations appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. One of the first versions debuted in The Brave and the Bold #25 (September 1959), and the second version, created by John Ostrander, debuted in Legends #3 (January 1987).

The Suicide Squad initiative functions as an unorthodox work release program, which explains why many of the DC Universe's supervillains remain perpetually on the loose—regardless of how many occasions they are apprehended and incarcerated for their latest crimes. The modern incarnation, the Suicide Squad, is an antihero "strike team" of incarcerated, death row supervillains. Acting as deniable, covert assets of the United States government, it undertakes high-risk, black-ops missions in exchange for commuted prison sentences (see penal unit). The group operates out of Belle Reve Penitentiary under the directorship of Amanda Waller.

Various incarnations of the Suicide Squad have existed throughout DC Universe canon, as depicted in several self-titled comic book series, 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 2011 New 52 continuity reboot.

The group has appeared in various media adaptations, including television series and a 2016 feature film.

Contents

Publication history[edit]

Featured in The Brave and the Bold, the original Suicide Squad team included 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.[2]

The Suicide Squad was revived in the Legends miniseries with writer John Ostrander at the helm.[3] The renewed concept involved the government employing a group of supervillains to perform missions that were 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[4] crossover.

While the Squad is often depicted as succeeding on their missions, failure occasionally resulted. Ostrander remarked on how Squad stories sometimes purposefully brought in characters to be killed off.[5] The team's very name, Suicide Squad, relates to the idea that this group of characters is sent on dangerous and difficult missions - suicide missions.[6][7]

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 such as Superboy,[8] Hawk & Dove,[9] Chase,[10] and Adventures of Superman.[11][12]

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[13] members, the roster was promptly slaughtered, save for Major Disaster and Multi-Man. These developments prompt Sgt. Rock, who is by now written into the role of squad leader, to recruit new members—numerous of whom died during the missions they undertook.[14]

Suicide Squad (vol. 3) (initially subtitled Raise the Flag in DC's solicitations[15]) 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.[citation needed]

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 in this version of the Squad. This series concluded in 2014, with issue #30.

New Suicide Squad, was launched in July 2014. Written by Sean Ryan with art by Jeremy Roberts, the new series continues to feature Deadshot and Harley Quinn, with Deathstroke, Black Manta, and Joker's Daughter added to the mix.

Silver Age[edit]

The Squad's first appearance in The Brave and the Bold (vol. 1) #25. Art by Ross Andru.

Background[edit]

The original Suicide Squad appeared in six issues of The Brave and the Bold (vol. 1).[16] Although 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.[17] The teams administrator Amanda Waller was introduced in the Legends miniseries,[18] with the original Silver Age Squad's backstory fleshed out further in Secret Origins (vol. 2) #14.[19]

Plot synopsis[edit]

The Brave and the Bold[edit]

The original Suicide Squad first appears in The Brave and the Bold #25. Team members appearing here include physicist Jess Bright, astronomer Dr. Hugh Evans, Rick Flag, Jr, the team leader. and Karin Grace, flight medic. The characters have follow up appearances in issues #26, #27 and #37-#39. The team's introductory story depicts them being called in to deal with a super-heated, red-hued object, called the "Red Wave" which was heading toward a seaside resort and boiling the ocean along the way. They travel in a plane equipped with a testing and analysis lab. Follow up appearances show the team dealing with a variety of challenges: a meteor storm (the radiation from which causes them to shrink); a giant serpent in the Paris subway tunnels, and a giant monster that captures Karin and a nuclear bomb. Issues #38 and #39 show the team encountering dinosaurs and meeting the leader of the Cyclops.[20][21][22]

Legends[edit]

Main article: Legends (comics)

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.[23] Blockbuster, Bronze Tiger, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, and Enchantress comprise Task Force X. 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.[24] Waller dismisses the group,[25] though they soon reconvened to rescue Captain Boomerang after Godfrey captures him.[26]

Secret Origins (vol. 2)[edit]

Main article: Secret Origins

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.[19]

"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.[27]

Other World War II Suicide Squads[edit]

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.[28] 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 runs quickly goes south and the group (sans Jordan) dies in the explosion.[29]

Suicide Squad (vol. 1)[edit]

Background[edit]

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.[30] 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 using information-broker Oracle,[31] and serves as the Squad's remote radio support, after being shot by the Joker.[32]

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[33] or providing evaluations of their mental states;[34] several full issues are dedicated to examining the personal lives and motivations of prominent characters.[35]

Several Suicide Squad story arcs reference or deconstruct the real-world political climate of the times, including hostility from Middle East terrorist organizations,[36] the Cold War,[37] and covert American responses to international dictatorships.[38] Real-world political figures such as Ronald Reagan[39] and Mikhail Gorbachev[33] make occasional appearances.

Plot synopsis[edit]

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"[edit]

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.[36]

"Mission to Moscow"[edit]

On orders of Derek Tolliver (the team's liaison with the UNSC) 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.[40] 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.[41] This conflict is primarily the result of Batman's investigation into the Suicide Squad, 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.[42]

"Rogues" and "Final Round"[edit]

In this story arc,[43] building on subplots from previous issues,[44] 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.

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 [45] Squad's existence is in danger and 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. As a result of the developments, the Suicide Squad is exposed to the public, contrary to Flag's intentions. 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.

Resulting from the exposure, Amanda Waller is replaced by an actor named Jack Kale so that she can continue to run the Squad. The team then goes on a public relations offensive, becoming for a time, a prominent heroic team by saving a renowned nun from a repressive regime.[46] 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.[47]

"The Janus Directive"[edit]

Main article: Janus Directive

"The Janus Directive" is a crossover storyline involving 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, and the lives of all members of the Force of July are lost but Major Victory. In the end, with the defeat of Kobra, the various government agencies are made autonomous, to be overseen by Sarge Steel.[citation needed]

"Apokolips Now"[edit]

In this issue, the character known as Duchess regains her memory after suffering from amnesia and recalls her true identity as Lashina, of the Female Furies.[48] Lashina kidnaps several members of the Squad and takes them to Apokolips to win back her place among the Furies. Prevented by Steel from going, Bronze Tiger recruits Deadshot and others and joins with the Forever People to journey to Apokolips. Darkseid arrives to destroy Lashina for bringing humans to his world and allows the rest of the Squad return to Earth. Shade is returned to his home dimension as the Squad mourns Flo.[citation needed]

"The Coils of the LOA"[edit]

This issue details the plan of a group called LOA to raise a zombie army with drugs spread across the world. To ensure the Squad doesn't interfere, the reveal how Waller is still in charge and the White House decide to wash their hands of her. With the Suicide Squad on the verge of being disbanded by her superiors, Waller gathers Ravan, Poison Ivy, and Deadshot in an assassination mission of the LOA. 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.[49][50]

"The Phoenix Gambit"[edit]

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 money in the bank 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 in a new direction, free from the government, as freelance operatives, per the terms negotiated by Waller. Under the leadership of Waller, who now also goes into the field as an operative, they are a mercenary squad open to the highest bidder.[citation needed]

"Serpent of Chaos"[edit]

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.[citation needed]

"Mystery of the Atom"[edit]

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.[citation needed]

"Rumble in the Jungle"[edit]

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. This despot 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.

During that mission they face off against and defeat the other Suicide Squad. Each Squad member travels through the mystic jungle to Guedhe's fortress and along the way, faces their personal demons; except for Deadshot. 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. Afterward, Waller disbands the Suicide Squad and the series ends.[citation needed]

Membership: Amanda Waller's Squad[edit]

Notable team members from Suicide Squad (vol. 1) include:

Interim stories[edit]

Background[edit]

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.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Superboy (vol. 3): "Watery Grave"[edit]

Main article: Superboy (comic book)

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.[8] Writer Karl Kesel claims to have come very close to killing Captain Boomerang during this arc.[51]

Hawk & Dove (vol. 4)[edit]

Main article: Hawk and Dove

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.[9]

Chase (vol. 1): "Letdowns"[edit]

Main article: Chase (comics)

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.[10]

Superman: Our Worlds at War Secret Files & Origins: "Resources"[edit]

Main article: Our Worlds at War

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.[52]

Adventures of Superman (vol. 1): "The Doomsday Protocol"[edit]

Main article: Superman (comic book)

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.[11]

Suicide Squad (vol. 2)[edit]

Background[edit]

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.[53]

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.[54][55] Two flashback stories[56][57] provide some context for Rock's current-day activities, but the series' final issue strongly implies that Rock is an (as-yet-unidentified) impostor.[58]

Plot synopsis[edit]

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.[54] 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,[55][59] and investigating the mysterious island of Kooey Kooey Kooey to discourage its telepathic inhabitants from declaring war on Earth.[53][60][61] Havana is revealed to be Amanda Waller's daughter,[62] 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.[63]

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 "Oh, boy!" before leaving. Back in her office, Amanda Waller reviews Bulldozer's file, and states that he and Sgt. Rock died in 1945.[58]

Membership: Task Force Omega[edit]

Notable team members from Suicide Squad (vol. 2) include:

Interim stories (between Vol. 2-3)[edit]

Background[edit]

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, because of her station as the White Queen of Checkmate. This inter-faction tension is a recurring theme throughout many Squad stories of this era.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Superman (vol. 2): "Dead Men"[edit]

Main article: Superman vol. 2

A Squad composed of Deadshot, Killer Frost, and Solomon Grundy goes after Lois Lane in order to silence her investigation into Lex Luthor's presidency.[64]

Superman Secret Files & Origins 2004: "Suicide Watch"[edit]

A mystery agent sends Captain Boomerang, Double Down, Killer Frost, and Killer Shark to (unsuccessfully) assassinate an imprisoned Amanda Waller as she awaits trial. Nemesis also appears.[65]

52[edit]

Main article: 52 (comics)

Amanda Waller assembles a short-lived Suicide Squad, led by Atom Smasher,[66][67] 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.[68] 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.[69] Later, as World War III rages, Waller informs Bronze Tiger that Rick Flag, Jr. is alive.[70]

Checkmate (vol. 2): "Rogue Squad"[edit]

Main article: Checkmate (comics)

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 is 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.[71]

Salvation Run[edit]

Main article: Salvation Run

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).[72][73][74][75][76][77][78][79][80]

Suicide Squad (vol. 3)[edit]

Background[edit]

John Ostrander returned to the Suicide Squad for an eight-issue miniseries that began in November 2007. The series takes place between the squad's appearance in Checkmate (vol. 2) #6-7 and the events of Salvation Run. It is functionally a sequel to the Checkmate arc, detailing how Rick Flag, Jr. survived his apparent death[47] before returning to Waller's Suicide Squad.

DC Comics' official solicitations consistently referred to the miniseries as Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag,[15] though this nomenclature is never used within any individual issue or collected edition of the miniseries.

Plot synopsis[edit]

After he is believed dead, Rick Flag, Jr resurfaces on the dinosaur-infested island of Skartaris alongside his enemy Rustam.[81] The pair works together to survive.[82] Unfortunately, Flag is forced to kill Rustam once they discover a way home. Afterward, he becomes a prisoner of war in Qurac for four years. Flag rejoins the Suicide Squad, after he is rescued by Bronze Tiger.

After reviewing several new recruits,[83][84] Amanda Waller briefs the Squad on the latest target: a Dubai-based global conglomerate called Haake-Bruton, whose new viral weapon is to be destroyed, and its board of directors eliminated.[85] 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.[86] The Squad suffers heavy casualties in the sudden internal conflict.[87] Despite numerous setbacks, Deadshot carries 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 he is still Rick Flag, Jr.[88]

Membership: Raise the Flag[edit]

Notable team members from Suicide Squad (vol. 3) include:

Interim stories (between Vol. 3-4)[edit]

Background[edit]

The Squad made prominent appearances in a four-issue Manhunter (vol. 4) arc[89] and during the Blackest Night crossover event.[90] In his multiverse-spanning adventures, Booster Gold briefly cooperated with a version of the Silver Age Squad.[91] These issues mark the Squad's final appearances prior to DC Comics' New 52 continuity reboot in 2011.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Manhunter (vol. 4): "Forgotten"[edit]

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.[89]

Booster Gold (vol. 2): "1952 Pick-up"[edit]

Main article: Booster Gold

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.[91]

Blackest Night: "Danse Macabre"[edit]

Main article: Blackest Night

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 (unofficially known as the "Homicide Squad"), led by Fiddler. 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.[90]

Suicide Squad (vol. 4)[edit]

Background[edit]

A new Suicide Squad title, written by Adam Glass with art by Federico Dallocchio and Ransom Getty, launched in September 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,[92] Grifter,[93] and Justice League of America's Vibe.[94]

Plot synopsis[edit]

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.[95] 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.[96] The finalists—notably including Deadshot, King Shark, and Harley Quinn—are outfitted with micro-bomb implants, and inducted into the Squad.[97]

The Suicide Squad's missions typically involve the elimination or retrieval of high-value targets. At one point, the team must track down an AWOL Harley Quinn;[98] in another mission, the Squad goes after Resurrection Man.[92][99] The Basilisk terrorist group serves as a recurring villain[100][101] (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.[98][102]

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 her.[103] 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[104]). It is eventually discovered that the serum will permanently kill anyone that it's administered to; Waller is implied to be one such subject.[105]

Forever Evil[edit]

During the Forever Evil crossover event, the Crime Syndicate of America emerges as the new threat which the Suicide Squad must avert.[106] After the desctruction of Belle Reve and the release of it's inmates, Waller recruits Deadshot to a new Suicide Squad team. He in turn recruits Harley Quinn. Amanda Waller later reviews to James Gordon, Jr that the current Suicide Squad is but one version of the Task Force; she calls out Task Force Y to assist in battling the Crime Syndicate.[107]

Membership: Suicide Squad (vol. 4)[edit]

Notable team members from Suicide Squad (vol. 4) include:

New Suicide Squad[edit]

Background[edit]

This 2014 relaunch, from writer Sean Ryan and artist Jeremy Roberts, sees Deadshot and Harley Quinn teaming up with new Squad members Black Manta, Joker's Daughter, the Reverse Flash and Deathstroke.[108][109]

Membership: New Suicide Squad[edit]

Notable team members from New Suicide Squad include:

Suicide Squad (vol. 5)[edit]

Background[edit]

Using the end of the New 52 initiative as a launching point, DC Comics began a second relaunch of its entire line of titles called DC Rebirth in 2016. Suicide Squad (vol. 5) #1 (August 2016) was the debut bimonthly relaunch of the team's comic book title which consisted of Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Rick Flag Jr., Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Katana & The Enchantress.[citation needed]

Plot Synopsis[edit]

The Black Vault[edit]

The Suicide Squad are sent to a Russian prison to retrieve a secret item, which turns out to be a portal to the Phantom Zone.[110] During the unfolding events, a Russian group of metahumans, known as the Annihilation Brigade, shows up and the situation worsens.[111] General set gets free of the Vault, and Captain Boomerang is killed.[112][113] The battle is brought to an abrupt halt as a new character, Hack,[114] breaches the Russian database and learns how to pull General Zod back into the portal.[115][116]

Going Sane[edit]

Back in Belle Reve, scientists working for Waller are examining the portal.[117] Waller shares her intent to weaponize Zod and add him to her Suicide Squad. Flag disagrees, and conflict escalates between the two leading to Flag firing his gun at Waller.[118][114]

In the next issue, Amanda's scientists continue trying to extract Zod. Meanwhile, the portal is sending out electromagnetic waves, and the characters appear to act in increasingly erratic ways. The portal waves are shown as having the opposite effect on Harley, causing her to realize she must intervene in the escalating bloodlust.[119][120]

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad[edit]

This episode follows the Squad to the fictional island of Badhinisia, where the team has been dispached to prevent the Brimstone Brotherhood from causing an earthquake. During the events, the Squad is confronted by the Justice League, having learned of the teams existence from Batman.[121] Waller shares her intention to blow the bombs in their necks if they are captured by, or surrender to the League.[122][123] The Suicide Squad are defeated by the Justice League until Killer Frost absorbs a portion of a weakened Superman's life force and freezes everyone.[citation needed]

Back at Belle Reve Penitentiary, the Justice League has been captured by Amanda. Batman escapes his confinement and confronts Waller about her plans for the League.[124] When the plot reveals the approaching threat of Max Lord and his super-villain team, the two teams must pool their efforts in order to prevent the theft of a powerful weapon from inside Belle Reve. [124][125]

As the story progresses, Lord succeeds in stealing the Heart of Darkness (aka the Eclipso Diamond) and uses it to control the League, and through them, gains control of the world. Batman rallies Lobo and the remaining Squad members to make a final stand against Lord; escalating to conflict with the compromised Justice League. Meanwhile, Amanda observes that Lord himself is falling under the influence of the Eclipso Diamond, and warns him of this when Lord has her brought to the White House. Lord realizes too late that Waller's warning held truth. In the following chaos, Batman deems them the new Justice League.[126][127][128][129]

Collected editions[edit]

Silver Age[edit]

Title Material collected Year ISBN
Suicide Squad: The Silver Age Omnibus Volume 1 Brave and the Bold #25-27, #37-39,
Star Spangled War Stories #110-111, #116-121, #125, #127 and #128
2016 978-1-4012-6343-0

Post Crisis[edit]

Volume 1[edit]

Title Material collected Year ISBN
Trial By Fire Suicide Squad #1-8, Secret Origins #14 2015 978-1401258313
The Nightshade Odyssey Suicide Squad #9-16, Justice League International #13, Doom Patrol/Suicide Squad Special #1 2015 978-1401258337
Rogues Suicide Squad #17-25, Annual #1 2016 978-1401260910
The Janus Directive Suicide Squad #26-30, Checkmate! #15-18, Manhunter #14
Firestorm #86, Captain Atom #30
2016 978-1401262617
Apokolips Now Suicide Squad #31-39 2016 978-1401265427
Volume 6 Suicide Squad #40-48 2017 978-1401269043

Volume 1 Spin-Offs[edit]

Title Material collected Year ISBN
Deadshot: Beginnings Deadshot #1-4, Detective Comics #474, #518 2013 978-1401242985
Deadshot: Bulletproof Deadshot #1-5, Legends of the Dark Knight #214 2015 978-1401255190

Volume 3[edit]

Title Material collected Year ISBN
Suicide Squad - From The Ashes Suicide Squad: From The Ashes #1-8 2008 978-1401218669

New 52[edit]

Volume 4[edit]

Title Material collected Year ISBN
Kicked in the Teeth Suicide Squad #1-7 2012 1-4012-3544-1
Basilisk Rising Suicide Squad #0, #8-13, Resurrection Man #9 2013 1-4012-3844-0
Death is for Suckers Suicide Squad #14-19 2013 1-4012-4316-9
Discipline and Punish Suicide Squad #20-23, Detective Comics #23.2,
Justice League of America 7.1
2014 1-4012-4701-6
Walled In Suicide Squad #24-30 2014 1-4012-5012-2

New Suicide Squad[edit]

Title Material collected Year ISBN
Pure Insanity New Suicide Squad #1-8 2015 978-1401252380
Monsters New Suicide Squad #9-12 2016 978-1401261528
Freedom New Suicide Squad #13-16 2016 978-1401262648
Kill Anything New Suicide Squad #17-22 2016 978-1401270001

Suicide Squad Most Wanted[edit]

The Most Wanted miniseries highlight individual members of the Suicide Squad.

Title Material collected Year ISBN
Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot The Deadshot portions from Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot and Katana #1-6 2016 978-1401263805
Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Katana The Katana portions from Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot and Katana #1-6 2016 978-1401264642

Rebirth[edit]

Volume 5[edit]

Title Material Collected Year ISBN
The Black Vault Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1, Suicide Squad #1-6 2017 978-1401269814

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • At the height of Suicide Squad (vol. 1), DC had meetings with writers and producers to discuss the possibility of a Suicide Squad television series. According to John Ostrander, the ideas were pretty bad, and nothing ultimately came of it.[130][unreliable source?]

DC Animated Universe[edit]

Main article: DC Animated Universe
The Suicide Squad in the animated series, Justice League Unlimited. From left to right: Plastique, Deadshot, Clock King, and Captain Boomerang.
  • The Suicide Squad appears in the animated Justice League Unlimited series.[131] The group is first mentioned in "Ultimatum" where Amanda Waller tells Maxwell Lord to find the Ultimen before she calls in the "Squad." 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 attacks the Watchtower during its weakest point when there is a minimal number of super humans on duty. They defeat Atom Smasher, Vigilante and Shining Knight with ease only running into problems when they encounter Martian Manhunter and Captain Atom. 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.[citation needed]

Live-action[edit]

  • In Smallville's season 9 episode "Absolute Justice", the Suicide Squad is referred to 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.[citation needed]
Arrowverse[edit]

In Arrow season 2 episode "Suicide Squad", the team appears under the direction of Amanda Waller and consists of Deadshot, Shrapnel, Bronze Tiger, and Lyla Michaels. John Diggle was also a temporary member of the team, but left at the end of the episode; Harley Quinn was locked in her room and not called for duty, but is a member. Shrapnel is apparently killed by Waller as a result of him abandoning the mission. Diggle releases the team again in the season 2 finale "Unthinkable" to help him save Starling City from being bombed to stop Slade Wilson's army. In "Draw Back Your Bow" Oliver hands over Carrie Cutter / Cupid to Waller for the Suicide Squad to put her skills to use, having taken pity on her. In "The Brave and the Bold" it is revealed that Digger Harkness was once a member of the Suicide Squad but his last mission became a failure and Michaels ordered the mission and him to be terminated, which proved to be unsuccessful. The team appears in the episode "Suicidal Tendencies" with Deadshot and Cupid, when both of them accompany Diggle and Lyla to rescue a senator from a hostage situation. The storyline depicts Deadshot sacrificing himself to save the other three when it is revealed that the senator set up the attack to stage his own rescue, with the goal of using the reputation he'd gain to mount a presidential campaign.[132]

At San Diego Comic-Con 2014, actor David Ramsey revealed there had been talk of a spin-off that would focus on Arrow's version of the Suicide Squad.[133] However, Arrow co-producer and comic book writer Keto Shimizu stated in January 2015 that with the Suicide Squad feature film in development, "it doesn't seem like it’s a possibility."[134] In September 2016, series producer Greg Berlanti confirmed that the team's inclusion within the TV show was used in order to test the audience's reception and interest prior to David Ayer's film, in the DC Extended Universe, being put into production.[135]

Film[edit]

DC Extended Universe[edit]

Main article: DC Extended Universe
The Suicide Squad in the DC Extended Universe. From left to right: Slipknot, Captain Boomerang, Enchantress, Katana, Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, and El Diablo.

A live-action film based on the titular comic book team was released on August 5, 2016.[136][137] The film was written and directed by David Ayer[138] starring Will Smith as Deadshot, [139] Jared Leto as the Joker, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, [140] Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. [141]

Also appearing, Jai Courtney steps in as Captain Boomerang,[139][142] Jay Hernandez portrays El Diablo, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje takes on the role of Killer Croc. [143] Cara Delevingne is in the role of Enchantress,[144] Karen Fukuhara portrays Katana, [145] and Adam Beach fills the role of Slipknot. [146] The film also stars Ike Barinholtz as Security Officer Griggs, Scott Eastwood as Lieutenant GQ Edwards,[147] Raymond Olubowale,[148] and Jim Parrack as Jonny Frost. Ben Affleck reprises his role as Batman from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[149]

On July 13, 2015, Warner Bros released the official Suicide Squad Comic-Con sizzle reel via YouTube.[150] During the film, Waller provisionally contacts various team members to use them to oppose future threats after Superman's death in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[citation needed]

Animation[edit]

  • 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.[citation needed]
  • The Suicide Squad appears in Batman: Assault on Arkham as the main focus of the film. The line up consists of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, King Shark, Killer Frost, Captain Boomerang, Black Spider and KGBeast while Amanda Waller monitors their activities and controls their every move with bombs surgically implanted in all of their spines. KGBeast was killed as an example of Amanda Waller's claim when he thought she was bluffing. It is eventually revealed that Riddler was once also a part of the Squad. Riddler's knowledge of how to defuse Waller's bombs caused him to become a target of Waller, who sends the squad after him. Throughout the course of the film, Black Spider and King Shark are killed via the bombs before they can be defused and Harley Quinn is eventually locked back in Arkham (as seen in Batman: Arkham Asylum). Captain Boomerang is left on Arkham grounds and re-captured by the GCPD, Deadshot escapes and attempts a hit on Waller, while Killer Frost's fate remains unknown.[citation needed]

Video games[edit]

  • DC writer and editor Geoff Johns confirmed in February 2012 that a video game based on the Suicide Squad is in development.[151]
  • Since the 14th update of DC Universe Online (June 2012) Hero and Villain characters could work together in PVP matches as the Player Character had been recruited into various Task Force X teams. This does not affect gameplay whatsoever apart from a brief message from Amanda Waller. This message is only given if there are not enough Heroes and Villains to occupy different teams.[citation needed]

Lego Batman[edit]

  • A downloadable content pack in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham features the New 52 versions of the Suicide Squad as characters. Named "The Squad" considering the implications of the word "Suicide" to the game's target audience, the pack's minifigures includes Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, King Shark, Deathstroke, and Katana. In the DLC map, the Squad are ordered by Amanda Waller to find the person who infiltrated Belle Reve. By the end of the mission, it was discovered that Killer Moth had infiltrated Belle Reve as part of a plan to expose the existence of the Squad and was defeated by the Squad.[citation needed]

Batman: Arkham[edit]

  • In the post-credits of Batman: Arkham Origins, Amanda Waller recruits Deathstroke into the Suicide Squad, hinting at a possible Squad appearance in future Batman: Arkham games, or the aforementioned Suicide Squad game.[152] In this same game, if the player looks up the character trophy of Harley Quinn, she can be seen holding a dossier similar to what Waller gives Wilson.
  • Several cut-scenes in Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate implicate Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad in the game's prison riot plot. Waller and Rick Flag, Jr. are shown recruiting Bronze Tiger and Deadshot in the post-credits scene.[152]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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