The Suicide Squad: Who’s Who
A few years ago, Warner Bros. introduced the badass team the Suicide Squad to the bigscreen. The film was a horrible mess, but luckily this year James Gunn is stepping up to give moviegoers a Suicide Squad they can be proud of. Instead of a music video made by Hot Topic, this take on the team was influenced by John Ostrander’s run on Suicide Squad back in the 1980’s when the legendary writer originally created this concept of a black-ops team of supervillains. Given the high turnover the team, we will have plenty of new faces this go-around leaving fans in need of an introduction to the latest members of Task Force X AKA the Suicide Squad.
Harley Quinn (first appearance Batman: The Animated Series “Joker’s Favor”): The former psychiatric professional has seemingly ditched the Joker and is carving out her own path. A character originally created simply because Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini thought it would be fun to give the Jester of Genocide of girlfriend; Harley Quinn has become one of the most popular characters in the superhero genre. Since leaving the Joker’s side, Harley has become the top antihero in the DC Universe as creators like: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Terry Dodson, and Karl Kessel helped her evolve as a character. Quinn joined the Suicide Squad when the book was relaunched with the New 52. She has also embarked on a romantic relationship with fellow former villain Poison Ivy and together they have become one of DC’s great power couples.
Amanda Waller (first appearance Legends #1): A secretive but powerful government agent, Amanda Waller is going to accomplish whatever mission she in charge of with a ruthlessness and a No-BS attitude. Unafraid of ruffling feathers of supervillains OR superheroes, Waller founded Task Force X to go on black-ops missions where they can be disavowed should they fail. Living as an impoverished wife and mother in inner city Chicago, Waller clawed and maneuvered her way into the world of politics and government. Here she rediscovered the old Task Force X files and took it upon herself to restart the program for a new generation. While she remains behind the scenes, Waller never has any problem exerting her power on those in her way.
Col. Rick Flag (first appearance Legends #1): During World War II, Rick Flag Sr. was a decorated member of Task Force X AKA the Suicide Squadron. A proud team of service men and women who fought for their country on dangerous missions. When Amanda Waller tapped his son to lead the new Task Force X, he was less than happy to see his father’s legacy was now in the hands of supervillain scum. Personal feelings aside, his tremendous sense of duty means Col. Flagg is not about to give a half-assed performance as the team’s field leader. Supervillains need someone tough to keep them in-line and he is the man to do it.
Bloodsport (first appearance Superman #4 volume 2): After skipping out on his draft notice to go to Vietnam, Robert DuBois, learned that his younger brother died on the battlefield in his place. This drove him into a dark and militaristic mindset which exploited by Lex Luthor. Given an arsenal of weapons and dubbed Bloodsport, the troubled man was turned loose on Metropolis to take on Superman. Instead he went on a killing rampage under the delusional belief that the people of the city did not appreciate the freedoms his brother (and in his own mind) he had fought for. While Superman stopped his rampage, the title of Bloodsport was taken by a white supremacist named, Alex Trent. While it has not been explicitly stated, it does seem that DuBois has returned to his Bloodsport identity and begun collaborating with other lower-tier Superman enemies.
The Thinker (first appearance All Flash #12): Superheroes as a whole tend to solve problems with their fists, which is why the Thinker has been able to keep his career in villainy going for close to eight decades. With his “Thinking Cap” helmet, Clifford DeVoe posed a mental challenge to the original Flash and later to the entire Justice Society. While others have taken on this mantle and even an AI during Geoff Johns’ historic run on The Flash), DeVoe is the one most associated with being the Thinker. Currently sporting a rather cool redesign courtesy of artist Patrick Zircher, he has been utilized as a master strategist for Task Force X thanks to his unparalleled mental prowess.
Peacemaker (first appearance Fightin’ 5 #40): While many of the old Charlton Comics characters like Blue Beetle and the Question maintained relevance when folded into the DC Universe, Peacemaker did not. Christopher Smith is a man who wants peace, and he is willing to get it through any violent means necessary. As he became more willing to leave a body count, Peacemaker caught the attention of the secretive agency of the DC Universe, Checkmate. It was during this tenure he was believed to have died during battle.
King Shark (first appearance Superboy #9): Stealing the show in The Suicide Squad trailer was a certain shark voiced by Sylvester Stallone. Stalking the waters off the coast of Hawaii, Nanaue AKA King Shark was responsible for a number of vicious killings as a sort of local legend, the son of a shark god. When Superboy came to the Aloha State he battled and defeated King Shark. From there Amanda Waller brought him into the Suicide Squad because of his ability to operate underwater. In the years that followed King Shark has become one of Aquaman’s greatest enemies.
Captain Boomerang (first appearance The Flash #117): Living in Australia, Digger Harkness realized he had a gift for making and throwing boomerangs. It was not long before he began weaponizing his tools and venturing off to Central City to begin a life of crime. Naturally, this meant he ran afoul of the Flash and joined the collective of the Scarlett’s Speedster’s greatest enemies the Rogues. During the 1980’s, writer John Ostrander made him a staple of the Suicide Squad, where he was often the troublemaker in the group, even betraying a teammate in the first story arc. During the crossover Identity Crisis, Captain Boomerang had a deadly encounter with Robin’s father leaving his son Owen Mercer to take over the mantle for a while. Following in his father’s footsteps, Mercer also had a stint in the Suicide Squad. Since then Digger Harkness has returned to the land of the living but continues to be the same villain he was before.
Polka-Dot Man (first appearance Detective Comics #300): One of the many embarrassing members of Batman’s rogues gallery during the Silver Age. Each of the dots on his costume has the ability become a weapon or other resource he used in matching wits with the Caped Crusader. Years later, Polka-Dot Man was given a bit of a story when he was beaten-up by Harvey Bullock, incentivizing him to sue the Gotham City PD for police brutality. Since then he has only made rare appearances usually in alliance with other villains such as in the War of the Jokes and the Riddles.
Savant (first appearance Birds of Prey #56): A memorable villain who emerged during the legendary Birds of Prey run of Gail Simone and Ed Benes. Brian Durlin moved to Gotham City to use his wealth, intellect, computer skills, and fighting prowess, to become one of the many local superheroes. Easily seeing his heart was not in the right place, Batman put a stop to his superhero career before it started sending him on the villainous path. Oracle did take a chance on the genius with memory issues and tentatively allowed him to join the Birds of Prey. While he played the part of a good guy, there was something definitely untrustworthy about Savant. In the New 52 he was brought in by Amanda Waller to take his place in Task Force X where he has made recurring appearances.
Ratcatcher (first appearance Detective Comics #585): In the trailer for The Suicide Squad, fans were introduced to a new version of the Batman foe Ratcatcher who is set to be the protege of the original. As an employee for the Gotham’s sanitation department, Otis Flannegan learned he had a skill for training the rats he caught in the sewers. Soon he began to use his rodent army to carry out crimes as he retreated from society and took refuge in the sewers calling himself Ratcatcher. While he is not exactly on the A-list of Batman villains, Ratcatcher has earned the respect of his fellow supercriminals. His knowledge of the city’s sewage system can be relied on to help make a quick getaway from a job. During stints in prison, his rats have been used to smuggle contraband and communicate with others. As mentioned before, the Suicide Squad will feature a woman trained by the Ratcatcher to take on the mantle and continue this legacy.