Young Justice: Outsiders Adds Its Own Suicide Squad

Young Justice Outsiders Suicide Squad

The latest episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders introduced their own version of the Suicide Squad. While the popular animated series has drawn deeply upon a variety of sources in building its unique take on the DC Universe, it had yet to adapt the anti-heroic organization officially known as Task Force X.

While the Suicide Squad name has been used at DC Comics since 1959, the most famous incarnation was first introduced in 1987. It was during the Legends mini-series that career bureaucrat Amanda Waller proposed a bold plan to President Ronald Reagan that the American government build a team of loyal agents partnered with conscripted metahuman criminals to take on those missions where they needed plausible deniability. Officially labeled as Task Force X, the group became known as the Suicide Squad - both because of the danger of their missions and because of the lethal implants used to keep the criminal members of the team under control. The original Suicide Squad comics were considered a cult classic for many years, but they (and the titular team) achieved a new popularity in the wake of the 2016 film based on the series. A sequel is currently in the works, under the supervision of filmmaker James Gunn.

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Young Justice's version of Task Force X is introduced in "Leverage," episode 15 of the third season. The episode sees several of the Justice League's younger members sent on a covert mission to investigate a building in a remote part of Russia they believe is part of a metahuman trafficking operation. The team determines that the building is a legitimate Russian military base for the Rocket Red Brigade, where willing volunteers are being transplanted with technology that enables them to pilot the unit's Iron Man-style mecha suits. The team also discovers supervillains Black Manta, Monsieur Mallah and Captain Boomerang preparing to attack the base with heavy ordinance.

After dealing with the supervillains and convincing the Rocket Red Brigade that it's better to let them go than admit to the world that two different covert groups were able to locate their secret base, the young heroes return Black Manta and company to Belle Reve Penitentiary, where they were supposed to be locked up. They are met by Kaldur (Black Manta's son and the current Aquaman), who has several questions for the prison staff regarding how his terrorist father got out of prison and why he was spying on the Russians. He is told that he will be met by the person in charge and is surprised when he is greeted by Amanda Waller - the former warden of Belle Reve Penitentiary, who had been fired following a break-out attempt seven years earlier, in the season 1 episode "Terrors."

Waller explains the concept behind Task Force X and how it recruits convicted supervillains to act as covert agents for the American government. When Kaldur asks how Waller can possibly justify releasing someone like his father and risk unleashing him on the world, Waller assures him that "there are carrots and sticks - very persuasive sticks" that keep the criminals under control, and that they are fully aware that they are expendable and that their actions will be disavowed if they are captured or killed in action. Kaldur is not convinced and threatens to expose the group, which he refers to as a "suicide squad." Waller is prepared for this, however, and reveals that she is aware of the existence of the Justice League's covert ops team (which is technically illegal under the League's charter with the United Nations) and will respond in kind.

It remains to be seen just how the Suicide Squad will be utilized over the remainder of Young Justice: Outsiders. While Waller is a master manipulator, she truly does believe in American supremacy and works toward what she sees as the greater good. This has led to her allying with the Justice League just as much as she has worked against them in the comics. The bigger question may be if Waller's team is another element of The Light's plans for world domination or if she truly is an independent enemy of the World's Finest heroes.

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