With Suicide Squad now in theaters, moviegoers are getting a chance to see a group of supervillains act in the part of heroes for a change. And many fans are happy enough to be entertained by the villains, laughing at their jokes, dressing up as Harley Quinn, and cheering on the bad guys. It’s hard not to root for the protagonists, after all.
But it’s important to remember that anyone in the Task Force X group is there because they really are not good people. They each have rap sheets that put them in prison to begin with, and no amount of one-liners or monologues about being a dysfunctional family can change what they’ve done. Or what they probably would continue to do if they were ever set free again. So before you start thinking this team of villains isn’t so bad after all, allow us to go through the Squad’s history in the comics to remind you of the 15 Worst Things Members Of The Suicide Squad Have Done.
15. BANE — BREAKING BATMAN AND UNLEASHING AZRAEL
Despite being one of Batman’s most memorable villains, Bane is one of the few who has actually mellowed as the years have gone by. He’s shown the capability to work with others, like his time as a member of the Secret Six. Since he’s on this list, you obviously know that he has been part of Suicide Squad, meaning whether it was against his will or not, he still did some good. Or at least good according to the government’s perception. And in recent years, during his solo time, he has actually done some heroic work. It’s almost enough to make you forget that he tried to paralyze Batman once.
It was an incredible introduction for Bane to see him not only deduce Bruce Wayne was the man behind Batman, but immediately defeat Gotham’s Dark Knight and seemingly put him out of commission for good. And worse yet, an unintended side effect of Bane’s attack was Azrael taking up the mantle of Batman, whose methods were far more brutal than his predecessor’s. Bane’s back breaking assault may not have personally caused the violence to follow, but it still set the stage for Azrael to take over.
14. AMANDA WALLER — COERCING CRIMINALS UNDER THREAT OF DEATH
Make no mistake about it, the leader behind the Suicide Squad is in no way above the criminals she utilizes. For starters, the very concept of the Suicide Squad is pretty messed up. Amanda Waller picks supervillains locked up in prison who she believes could be useful to her, implants bombs in their body, and will legitimately detonate those explosives if the villains are not loyal to whatever mission she has planned. In earlier iterations of the Suicide Squad, those bombs would just maim the Squad members. But as the concept has evolved, the implants are now in the heads or necks of the villains. Meaning that when Waller orders them detonated, the would-be Squad member is not walking away from the incident with their head on their shoulder. And for those of you who saw the Suicide Squad movie, you know that’s not an idle threat.
And maybe you don’t feel much sympathy for the exploitation of thieves, murderers, and psychopaths. That’s understandable. But even outside of that, Amanda Waller has proven her moral compass has some kinks in it. Some of the missions she has sent the Suicide Squad on have been quite self-serving, and while we won’t spoil her arc in the movie, she definitely does some things as awful as the criminals she commands.
13. REVERSE-FLASH (DANIEL WEST) — PARALYZING AND ATTEMPTING TO KILL HIS OWN FATHER
We all have moments that we wish we could change in life, and super humans are no different. The Daniel West version of Reverse-Flash knows a thing or two about that — when he was a kid he had to deal with an abusive father. But Daniel actually did do something to change that situation when he finally fought back and pushed his father down a flight of steps. Daniel was free from his abuse since his father was now paralyzed, but Daniel’s sister was never able to forgive her brother for doing that to another person.
So Daniel West agonized over that incident for years, and finally one day he decided to use his powers to do something about it. He attempted to go back in time to set things right with his family. His plan? Instead of paralyzing his father, he wanted to avert the incident altogether by simply killing his father. Maybe he just never thought of the third alternative. You know, like just not hurt his father at all?
12. DEADSHOT — KILLING HIS OWN BROTHER
Deadshot, aka Floyd Lawton, frequently boasts that he never misses a shot. He prides himself on being the best assassin around. But it’s not a desire for glory that makes him strive to be the best. A big part of his motivation is he knows the consequences of missing a shot. It can mess up a mission, or out hsi life directly in danger. Or it can even lead to the wrong person getting killed.
Bad things can be accidents, but that doesn’t change the damage they do. So when Lawton’s brother was attempting to shoot their father, Floyd had the best of intentions when he tried to intervene in the situation. He was going to shoot the gun out of his brother’s hand to save his sibling from becoming a murderer. But accidents happen. Deadshot fell as his gun went off, and his bullet missed its mark. He succeeded in stopping his brother from killing their dad, but accidentally shot his own brother in the head in the process.
11. POISON IVY — TRAPPING THE MINDS OF HER VICTIMS IN THE CREATURE HARVEST
A common theme among members of the Suicide Squad is that several of them did not commit their worst acts out of evil intentions. Some of them have had their worst moments come about inadvertently, and while that certainly doesn’t absolve them, it makes them more understandable. For instance, Poison Ivy is a woman who loves plants, so it stands to reason that she would never deliberately do anything to make one suffer. And yet, she nonetheless created the sentient plant Harvest after it took on the personalities of the human victims she used to nurture it.
Obviously it’s bad enough that she was feeding people to a plant, but this creature was particularly gruesome, since its victims had their consciousness locked inside the flora, creating a mish-mash of identities that coalesced into this collective known as Harvest. It referred to itself in the plural, speaking for all of its victims, and it wanted revenge on Ivy for trapping them in this new form. Accident or no, leaving so many people locked in such a tragic state is a pretty terrible thing for Ivy to have on her record.
10. THE PENGUIN — TORMENTING A MAN INTO COMMITTING SUICIDE
Externally, the Penguin is typically depicted like the dude from Monopoly decided to shave off his mustache, and just really let himself go. Like it’s hard to be intimidated by guys who wear top hats and monocles. And maybe the Penguin is conscious of that. He knows a lot of people don’t take him seriously, so perhaps that insecurity is what led him to do the thing that gets him on this list.
While on a date with a woman at a restaurant, the Penguin was in the midst of telling her he was falling in love with her, when the chef in the restaurant laughed. It’s unclear why he was laughing, and it could have been about any random thing. But the Penguin happened to notice it and assume the laughter was directed at him. Rather than brush it off and move on with his life, the Penguin spent the next two months making the chef’s life hell.
The chef was fired from his job, lost his friends to due to very suspicious circumstances, had any place of solace in his life literally bulldozed or else made miserable to be in, and was tempted back into alcoholism by an oddly convenient liquor store opening across from his home. With everything that made him happy taken away from him, the man was driven to suicide just for laughing in the same room as the Penguin.
9. JAMES GORDON JR. — TRYING TO CREATE A NEW GENERTATION OF PSYCHOPATHS
Poor Commissioner Jim Gordon. The guy really can’t catch a break. First he’s serving in Gotham City, which never seems to have a break from being attacked by criminals. Then his daughter Barbara Gordon infamously became a victim of the worst criminal of the bunch, the Joker, who shoots and paralyzes Barbara. And to top it all off, his son, James Gordon Junior, then becomes one of those criminals, so that even in his own family, Gordon can’t escape from the darkness.
James Junior’s dangerous tendencies were apparent even when he was a child, but obviously his family wanted to hold out hope that it was a phase he could grow out of. So when he returned to Gotham as an adult after leaving the city for a while, his family was leery, but optimistic. James Junior tried to assuage them of his desire to help people now by telling his dad how he was working to make medicine for children. But after a body is discovered, and James Junior attacks his own sister, people are understandably suspicious about what he was doing at his new job. It’s eventually revealed that the medicine James Junior was working on diminished the capacity for empathy in the human brain, and it was going to be sent out to children. He was trying to create an entire generation of child psychopaths like himself.
8. JOKER’S DAUGHTER — ASPIRING TO BECOME LIKE THE JOKER
For a while it was hard to imagine anyone being a bigger fangirl for the Joker than Harley Quinn. For years, you could count on Harley to be by the Joker’s side, an eager accomplice to his schemes, and looking at him with adoration. But then, by the time she got wrapped up in the Suicide Squad, Harley had finally started to shake loose of her infatuation with the Clown Prince of Crime. And apparently with the vacancy light on above the Joker, the Joker’s Daughter came rushing in to take the spot.
Joker’s Daughter isn’t even Joker’s actual daughter. She’s just so obsessed with him that she’s convinced herself it’s true. And with a role model like that, it’s not hard to image how she chooses to honor him. The worst thing the Joker could ever do is have a successor, which is what earns Joker’s Daughter her spot. She emulates his cruelty, his love of torture, and his capacity for bloodshed. She gleefully harms her victims, and has even gone as far as wearing the Joker’s skinned off face as a mask just so that the two of them can be one. Lovely.
7. BLACK MANTA — KILLING AQUAMAN’S BABY
If you’ve read the New Suicide Squad featuring Black Manta on the team, you know he’s one of the closest things the group has to a leader. He follows Amanda Waller’s orders to the best of his ability, he keeps the other members focused, and he repeatedly risks his life to save the other members when they’re in trouble and even the people operating Task Force X have encouraged him to just leave them behind. All in all, he seems like a pretty nice guy, and you might wonder why he and Aquaman can’t get along. So we’ll remind you why.
Black Manta suffocated Aquaman’s infant son. He trapped Aquababy in a container filling with air, while forcing Aquaman to fight with his older son. By the time Aquaman could get to his baby, his youngest son was dead. The incident caused a rift between Aquaman and his remaining son, caused him and his wife to get divorced, and left Aquaman to bury one of his children. Oh, and afterwards, Black Manta destroyed the burial site. No wonder Aquaman drinks in the Justice League movie; it looks like he’s gonna have to deal with this jerk on the big screen as well.
6. HARLEY QUINN — BLOWING UP CHILDREN
Why is Harley Quinn so high on this list, you say? She’s just the whacky sidekick to the Joker, right? Surely she’s never done anything as evil or cruel as the man she’s so often infatuated with. Well, that depends. How cruel would you consider it to be for Harley to give out free video game systems to children…with bombs inside them? And not only did she detonate those bombs, killing dozens, if not hundreds of children, but the comic that she did all of this in? It was released in 2013, on September 11. Oof.
This was one of the moments that really soured a lot of readers on the New 52’s interpretation of Harley Quinn. Yeah, we get to see a more liberated Harley, since she’s not stuck in an abusive relationship with the Joker anymore, but she wound up doing something as bad as he would ever do. Worse yet, she did it in the hopes of getting the Joker’s attention because she still wasn’t over him. People usually talk about Harley being a villain with a wink and a smile, like she’s more of a prankster than an evil threat. But this moment was a reminder to everyone just how dangerous this fun, silly, clown girl can actually be.
5. DEATHSTROKE — SACRIFICING HIS FAMILY
Deathstroke is another character who has just done so many horrible things that picking out just one as the worst is a challenge. The man does anything for the right amount of money and to demonstrate his prowess as a killer. It’s because of this man that Deadshot is DC’s number two assassin. Torturing people? He’ll do that. Betraying his teammates? Sure thing. Killing children? Without a doubt. While he showed some compassion in his earlier years, he’s only become more hardened the longer he’s been around. At this point, it’s hard to imagine a line he wouldn’t cross.
It’s not the most terrible thing he’s done, but it’s hard to ignore the moment that really seemed to be the turning point for Deathstroke’s lack of compassion. Early in his mercenary days, Deathstroke’s young son was taken captive by a man who wanted the supervillain to give up the name of one of his clients. Out of a personal honor code, Deathstroke refused, and attempted to resolve the situation using his typical methods. And that move is what got his son’s throat slit by his captors.
His son survived (somehow), but it was a clear demonstration of how selfish Slade Wilson is. He might have been able to spare his son by just doing what the captors said, but instead he prioritized his clients over his family. It was a telling decision, especially for his wife, who attempted to kill Deathstroke because of it. The bullet didn’t prove fatal, but it did take his eye, a permanent reminder of the costs he’s willing to pay to be the best.
4. CAPTAIN BOOMERANG (OWEN MERCER) — FEEDING LIVE CHILDREN TO HIS ZOMBIE DAD
If your perception of Captain Boomerang is just thinking of him as the goofy Australian guy from the movie, you’re about to be in for a shock. So it was Digger Harkness who bore the name Captain Boomerang in the movie, but in the comics, Harkness also has a son named Owen Mercer who takes on his father’s mantle. The new Boomerang seems like a decent enough guy. Then the Blackest Night crossover event happened in the DC storylines, and many superpowered characters who had died were resurrected as zombies, including Owen’s father Harkness. For most of the characters, this just resulted in them fighting the zombies. But Owen’s story got a little more…gruesome.
Putting it simply? The new Captain Boomerang kept his zombie father “alive” by feeding him. Feeding him people, to be exact. As in living people, including children. Yeah. Not a lot of villains can lay claim to being that messed up. And what was Owen’s reward for being a doting son? His comrades were so sickened by what he was doing that when they found out, they decided to push him into the pit with his father, giving the original Captain Boomerang one last meal.
3. KILLER CROC/ KING SHARK — CANNIBALISM
Everything that was messed up about Captain Boomerang’s entry goes for these guys as well. After all, Owen Mercer was doing a terrible thing, but at least he was only providing people to someone else to eat. He wasn’t necessarily committing that horrible act himself. But Killer Croc and King Shark? What’s there to say? They eat people. They aren’t apologetic about it. The both of them are just huge, dangerous, cannibals.
We could get into the technicalities of whether they fit the dictionary definition of cannibalism, since both criminals are animalistic in appearance, but you know what we mean. If you’re intelligent enough to be capable of speech and you decide you’re cool with eating humans, that’s close enough to the definition to be pretty messed up. Killer Croc in particular has been shown to be able to cooperate with others if need be (hence his association with the Suicide Squad), but him and King Shark use the threat of devouring others to exert their power.
2. BLACK ADAM — GENOCIDE
The Suicide Squad has taken in a lot of villains who, while not exactly ready to give up their villainous status, have at least shown the capacity for redemption given the right circumstances. You could almost believe some of the members are ready to turn the corner and maybe aspire for something better. One such member is Black Adam, who was initially meant to be a successor for Shazam. Black Adam has even done heroic things in the past, so you might think he’s one of the villains who shows the promise of rehabilitation. And yet, there’s one huge problem in his way: his anger issues.
Black Adam’s response to getting upset can make the Incredible Hulk look downright docile. In one especially noteworthy incident, Adam finds out the country of Bialya has been aiding the cause of Darkseid and other threats to the universe. Any hero would have tried to reform Bialya, since it was a country after all, meaning millions of people lived there and they couldn’t possibly all be evil. And yet, Black Adam went with the simpler solution to the problem — punishing Bialya by bringing about a mass genocide in the country.
1. DOOMSDAY — KILLING THE TRUST OF READERS
Doomsday was proof that not every supervillain can be controlled for the Task Force X program, because when he was enlisted to help the Suicide Squad battle Imperiex, he promptly slaughtered his fellow Squad teammates. But he technically was assigned to help them, so he does qualify for this topic. The hard part is, this article is about the worst things these characters have ever done. But Doomsday has done such an extraordinary amount of awful, cruel, genocidal acts, how can we possibly pick one out as the worst in his history of destruction?
Like a force of nature, he’s torn through so many planets in the universe, killing off a slew of Green Lanterns, slowly devastating entire worlds, and defeating people as powerful as the entire Justice League at once, as well as Darkseid in single combat. But thinking about it, the worst thing Doomsday has done might have been something he did to affect real life rather than fiction.
We all know he “killed” Superman in his debut, but honestly that’s not so bad in retrospect, since Superman wound up still being alive. And that’s exactly why Doomsday has such a bad real life stigma attached to his name. He faked out millions of people into believing Superman was dead, only for it to (ultimately) be little more than a sales gimmick. Doomsday didn’t kill Superman, but he played a huge part in killing our ability to believe comic writers about any of their shocking twists anymore, and helped bust down the door for any and all comic characters to be resurrected. Sure Doomsday does evil things, but the worst thing he’s done is permanently damage our ability to trust comic creators.
So tell us, does it get any worse than that? If you think you can come up with a Suicide Squad member who has done something worse than any of the ones here, take up the challenge and tell us about another contender in the comments! And you can check out the Suicide Squad movie in theaters right now to see how the worst of the worst stack up on the big screen.