The Many Faces of the Suicide Squad

And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth’s mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Aveng—nope, wrong super team. Sorry ‘bout that.

With the Suicide Squad film’s cast and line-up having been revealed, the biggest question on most people’s minds have been which iteration of the characters will we be seeing and what role will they play in the story… also, what the hell is a Suicide Squad?!

While I can’t answer the other questions, I can help out a little bit more on what the Suicide Squad is really about… unless, of course, the movie basically leaks onto the ‘net a few months before release. Which is entirely possible ‘cause that seems to be DC’s new marketing tactic: see Supergirl and Flash.

Original Suicide Squad

First appearing in The Brave and the Bold #25 in 1959, the Suicide Squad consisted mainly of Rick Flag Jr. and his girlfriend Karin Grace, along with a team of non-powered adventurers against powered opponents. The stories were more of pulp tales with the squad facing monstrous threats that even included dinosaurs!

It was only in 1987 when the awesome John Ostrander was assigned to retool the concept of the title, the now-familiar black ops team of ex-super villains introduced to readers. Retaining Rick Flag Jr., this team now included Blockbuster, Bronze Tiger, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot and Enchantress.

With a line-up that rotated according to the mission, the team featured incarcerated super villains who were given the opportunity to fulfil their sentences by taking on dangerous assignments. So dangerous, that there was a possibility the team members may not make it out alive, making these assignments almost suicidal.

OH, so that’s why they’re called the Suicide Squad! Heh, I never really got that one… I wonder if the Secret Six actually have six secrets….

New Suicide Squad

With DC’s “soft reboot,” dubbed the New 52, the Suicide Squad returned with a new line up that included popular Batman villainess Harley Quinn, and retained veteran members like Deadshot and Captain Boomerang although Amanda Waller pretty much replaced Rick Flag in this version.

The title was then renamed and renumbered, continuing as the New Suicide Squad and saw the return of Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang and Deadshot, along with the inclusion of Black Manta, Deathstroke, Duela Dent and the Reverse-Flash.

Although the Suicide Squad film will only be released in August 2016, their first proper on-screen appearance was in the animated series Justice League Unlimited but referred to by their alternate name: Task Force X. (I’m guessing no one thought it’d be a good idea to have a team named Suicide Squad in a show that kids watched).

While there wasn’t very much else done with the characters, the team did see their first live action depiction in CW’s miraculously long-running series Smallville, which somehow managed to introduce characters as obscure as Warp even before anybody even uttered the word “Superman.”

Arrow Suicide Squad

More recently (and memorably), CW has taken a second stab at the squad in Arrow, which has not only proven to be a great success, but was also considered for its own spin-off before the film adaptation was confirmed.

With Bronze Tiger, Shrapnel and Deadshot in the line-up (Captain Boomerang is mentioned as an ex-member), the team was assembled by Amanda Waller, led by John Diggle and Lyla Michaels with later members including Cupid.

While there was much talk about featuring Harley Quinn in the series (to the extent of even casting her) the role was reduced to an offscreen cameo due to the character already being used for the film.

Arkham Suicide Squad

Nevertheless, the popularity of the squad led to them receiving their own movie misleadingly entitled Batman: Assault on Arkham. (Apparently, no matter how popular the squad was, WB still had more confidence in the Batman branding… ’cause he’s Batman.)

In the upcoming 2016 film, we will not only be seeing Harley Quinn in her first in-costume live action depiction, but also Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Enchantress, Killer Croc, Katana, Slipknot and El Diablo, led by Amanda Waller and Rick Flag, presumably going up against the Joker himself.

Movie Suicide Squad

Sheez, between this and the cast of Batman v. Superman, it’s almost like DC is trying to make up for all of its previous movies only having shown the same characters over and over again.