With the extremely anticipated Suicide Squad film coming out in just under a year, many casual moviegoers have a lot of ground to cover if they hope to understand what is going on in the movie. With the Suicide Squad trailer surpassing Batman v Superman’s in YouTube views, there is little doubt that this movie will be one of the biggest movies of next year, holding its own against BVS, Captain America: Civil War, and Star Wars: Rogue One.
Apart from The Joker, however, most people don’t really know who any of these characters are or what they are meant to do, and there are even those who love comic books, but don’t know some of the more interesting aspects of the squad. Even though most people don’t know a lot about the Suicide Squad, they are actually one of DC’s longest running groups and have had an integral part to play in their universe. So, in anticipation for the star-studded film, let’s take a look at the Suicide Squad and raise excitement levels to an even higher degree!
Here is Screen Rant’s list of 12 Facts You Need To Know About The Suicide Squad.
they were originally called “task force x” and assembled to fight monsters
The team, formerly known as Task Force X, got their start in the post-WWII DC world. As written into The Brave and the Bold issue #25 in 1959, they were a team of scientists and military personnel gathered to fight the battles that others could not. During this time in DC comics, many of the “Golden Age” superheroes from the ’40s had retired, leaving the world unprotected from the forces of evil. This was manifested in the form of large monsters and creatures that would terrorize the people of the world. Without enough heroes left to stand up to these monsters, the U.S. government assembled Task Force X to combat these threats around the globe.
It may seem campy to think that a team that would eventually be called the Suicide Squad got its start in the monster hunter business, but monster hunting is no joke. Every member of the original team was just a regular human being that either had skills of the mind or the body. That is all! Fighting beings as large and destructive as these monsters was no small feat and this WWII team deserves recognition and credit for keeping the world safe while the heroes wouldn’t!
suicide squad consists mostly of villains
There have been two primary leaders of the Suicide Squad since its birth in the late 50s until present day. The first leader of Task Force X was Rick Flag Sr.. He was the head of the post-WWII incarnation that was previously mentioned. In John Ostrander’s revival of the team in 1987, however, Flag Sr. was plagued with the idea of mortality. This caused him to pass on his position as the team leader to none other than his now adult son, Rick Flag Jr., and Task Force X was changed quite a bit when Jr. took on his position.
When Sr. headed the team, it was filled with military personnel, yet when Jr. led the team, his superior Amanda Waller recruited supervillains to fill the roster. This maddened Jr. because he did not like associating with criminals (who does?). Rick Flag Jr. continued his role as team leader and still leads it today, but he always had conflicts with the other members, most notably Deadshot.
The Suicide Squad is kept together by blackmail and coercion
If you don’t know much about the Suicide Squad you might be wondering, how exactly does the government get all of these supervillains to do their bidding? The answer is as simple as you might expect: blackmail and coercion. We often think of villains as soulless monsters who hurt others for the sake of hurting them, but the Suicide Squad reminds us that almost everyone has something to lose. In one of the more famous cases of coercion, Amanda Waller often tantalizes Deadshot with the idea of seeing his daughter again to motivate him to carry out an assassination.
The general promise that motivates the team and keeps them on task is the promise of a reduced sentence. With most of the team being supervillains, they have all worked up huge rap sheets. Along with these come all of the sentences for each offense. For most of them, they would spend lifetimes in prison, but this allows them to take large portions of their sentences off. Although it might not seem worth it to risk your life for the possibility of a reduced sentence, supervillains are the type of people to take that wager.
Suicide Squad can be brought back to life by a Super Serum
Over the years, the Squad’s death toll began to rise higher and higher. Seeing this as a problem, Amanda Waller researched and developed a serum, called the Samsara serum, that can resurrect fallen members so that they may live to die another day. This was also a great way of keeping some of our favorite characters on the roster, while still having there be consequences for their actions. Many see this as a bit of a cop-out, but it really is a perfect representation of Waller’s psyche. If anyone in the DC universe was crazy enough to find a way to cheat death for the sole purpose of completing missions, Amanda Waller would be that person.
As amazing as the Samsara serum is, it remains one of the more ambiguous plot points throughout the Suicide Squad’s publication. On one hand, it is used regularly to resurrect the likes of Deadshot, but has also been said to permanently kill others that have it administered to them. Despite this ambiguity, it is one of the most useful and slightly tortuous items the squad has at their disposal.
The Enemy Is Not Who You’d Think
We’ve been talking a lot about all of these villains and their missions, but they may not be taking on who you’d think. Since they are on a government team, they often fight anti-American forces or other corrupt agencies. They very rarely ever take on a hero or an individual arch nemesis. As much as we all love seeing Harley interact with Batman, Black Manta take on Aquaman, and the Reverse Flash fight The Flash, this isn’t what the Suicide Squad is all about. Don’t worry though, this is what makes this comic series so special.
Getting to see how these second-rate and iconic villains interact with each other is actually a key component to the Suicide Squad. Seeing them come together and act as a team can be hilarious, endearing, and a bit frightening. Also, when the likes of Checkmate (another agency similar to ARGUS) and Kobra (a terrorist organization) threaten the group, you realize very quickly that sometimes what fights fire best is fire. That’s to say that, evil can sometimes be the best opponent for evil. These villains are able to get things done that most heroes might not be able to.
suicide squad members are not very trustworthy
Considering the blackmail, promises of reduced sentences, and threats of death, one would think that each member of the squad has sufficient reasoning to remain loyal to ARGUS, but these are supervillains, and they are known for being wildly selfish and corruptible. With all of this said, throughout the many years of Task Force X’s existence, members have back-stabbed, double-crossed, and betrayed their way out of their contracts and often times lost their lives doing so.
One of the more famous storylines that has a lot to do with the allegiances of each member is in the pages of Forever Evil. In this plotline, the Suicide Squad is tasked with retrieving OMAC (a highly advanced and deadly weapon). However, when Deadshot, Harley, and Captain Boomerang arrive in the Rocky Mountains to fight for the OMAC, their back-up, The Unknown Soldier, is instructed to kill them by Amanda Waller.
They Aren’t All Supervillains
For the most part, the Suicide Squad is an all around villain-fest, but some of the greatest members have actually been heroes! Heroes have regularly joined the ranks over the years to assist the team with missions involving direct conflicts with either America, or the Justice League. Often times, the heroes that are recruited have ties to the government or very specific abilities that could aid in a certain mission. Some examples of government influenced roster additions have been Sergeant Steel, Unknown Soldier, and Power Girl.
Perhaps the most notable and important hero squad member was Barbara Gordon as The Oracle. After Barbara was paralyzed from the waist down by The Joker, she couldn’t maintain her spot as Batgirl. This is why she then put her hacking skills to use by becoming The Oracle. She would often run the technical sides of ops for the squad, allowing them access to servers and buildings. She remained on the team for some time, but later moved on to aid Batman in his crusade once again. Her time on the squad was not only a great shake-up, but her contributions were invaluable.
The Suicide Squad has been featured in many Mediums
With the live-action movie’s release date getting closer with every passing day, you may be wanting to get your Suicide Squad fix right now! Luckily for you, there are several existing incarnations of Task Force X for you to watch. Versions of the Squad can be seen on Arrow, Smallville, and Justice League: Unlimited. Each version has a similar roster and act as worthy incarnations of the squad. However, there is only one incarnation that stands out far above the rest: Batman: Assault on Arkham.
Do not be fooled by the title, this is NOT a Batman film. Much like the upcoming live-action version, Batman is in the film, but acts as a background character. The movie is centered on the Suicide Squad and their interactions with each other. This film, though animated, is very mature and delivers everything you’d expect from a movie all about villains. There is well-animated violence, phenomenal voice acting, and great roster choices. This is the film that you want to watch in order to hold you over until the live-action version comes out. Without spoiling the film for you, Batman: Assault on Arkham really is the quintessential version of the Suicide Squad we know and love.
John Ostrander Is The Godfather
We’ve covered several versions of the team throughout their many years in publication. However, during all of that time, there has only been one man that has a grasp on these characters like no other. John Ostrander has become the guiding light for the Suicide Squad and has created some of the greatest series for Task Force X. Despite Ostrander leaving the series for about fifteen years, he triumphantly returned for the Raise the Flag miniseries in 2007-2008.
Ostrander was responsible for the creation of some of the greatest characters involved with the Suicide Squad and made an environment much more suited to their villainous backgrounds. By far, John Ostrander’s biggest contribution to DC comics was the creation of Squad handler Amanda “The Wall” Waller.
amanda “The Wall” waller is the most important member
The Suicide Squad has had plenty of integral members over the years, but none are as important to the team as Amanda Waller. She was created when John Ostrander took over writing for the Suicide Squad. She was the team handler and acted as an ARGUS agent who would give the team their assignments. She would also be the one who would threaten and ultimately kill those who got out of line.
In more recent iterations, she’s actually been a member of the team and acted in the field alongside her squadron. In this version, she is a much leaner version who has advanced tactical training that allows her to combat the enemies that the Suicide Squad is used to taking on. However, she wasn’t always like this.
When she was created in the comics, she got the nickname “The Wall” for her stubbornness and acts of aggression towards those who tried to control her. During this time, she relied much more on her intelligence to get people to do what she wanted and has even successfully gone up against the likes of Batman.
Deadshot Is The Mainstay
After the original team disbanded and the new Suicide Squad was formed with Rick Flag Jr., Deadshot was immediately recognized as one of the team’s most reliable members. He was also intensely popular with the readers and earned his spot on the team. Known for being an expert marksman, Deadshot usually carried out a lot of the hits on the targets given to the team. One of his defining traits is his disregard for his own life. Floyd is known for wanting to die in a spectacular way but is unable to kill himself. This is why he thinks the Suicide Squad is a great fit for him because he gets the opportunity to earn a good death.
For a lot of the characters, reduced sentences were their motivation. For Floyd Lawton, he wants a reduced sentence so that he may be able to get out and see his daughter again. He works tirelessly to ensure her safety and even tries to earn money for her and his ex-wife.
Deadshot has become the defacto leader of the team due to his natural ability to lead and the respect he earns from his fellow villains. He and Rick Flag Jr. develop a rivalry to lead and direct the team.
No One Is Safe
During the entirety of the Suicide Squad’s existence, only one thing has remained the same: anyone can die. What makes the series and team so interesting is the idea that anyone can be killed in action or make the wrong moves with Amanda Waller, thus resulting in an exploded head. There have been dozens of exciting deaths over the years in every incarnation of the team.
One first memorable deaths in the Squad occurred when Brimstone killed Blockbuster. The brutal, fiery death showed the team and the readers that no one was safe. Over the years we had several other deaths, but some of the most shocking Amanda Waller-induced deaths come from the animated movie Batman: Assault on Arkham. In this, Waller chooses to activate the explosive collars that team is required to wear because they have betrayed her and are trying to escape. While most of the team uses electrical shocks to disarm the bombs around their necks, King Shark is unable to do so because his skin is too tough. While the rest of the team looks on, King Shark’s head explodes all over the wall and the team. As brutal as this moment is, it reminds us that Amanda Waller is not to be trifled with.
Even though the film is just under a year away the excitement for the live-action Suicide Squad only intensifies each day. Hopefully now the Suicide Squad has become a bit more clear, and we now know what to expect. Thanks for reading! Did we miss any facts about The Suicide Squad that newcomers deserve to know? Let us know in the comments below!