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What on earth is Suicide Squad?


1st Jan 2015 Film & TV

What on earth is Suicide Squad?

From its comic book conception to the big screen, here's everything you need to know about Suicide Squad, and the comic history of this antihero ensemble. 

Who are the Suicide Squad?

Suicide Squad
The Suicide Squad assemble in the 2016 film adaptation

To start with, we are in the DC comic universe. Superman is dead and the Justice League are nowhere to be found. Panicked, government official Amanda Waller assembles a team of imprisoned super-villains for high-risk missions. The idea being, that they can have reduced sentences for going out on what are essentially suicide missions.  

Although these super-villains have made respective appearances in various superhero comics, their first appearance in The Brave and the Bold (vol 1) #25, in 1959. The comics set to bring some of its obscure villains to the forefront and humanise them. And now, Warner Bros. have made a film out of it.

Just like superheroes, super-villains are humans who are deeply flawed, but whereas tragedy has led our heroes to do good, our antiheroes have gone to the bad side and ended up in jail. 



Deadshot first featured in a Batman comic in 1950 as the world's deadliest and most accurate marksman. He often appears as a hired assassin, boasting about his ability to never miss a target. His skills with a variety of devastating weapons made him a rival of Batman, and he aspires to one day replace the winged vigilante. 

He's a man of loose morals. So long as he's paid, Deadshot will carry out a hit. However, as Batman discovered when he froze Deadshot's bank account, if he can't get paid, then he'll walk away and so will his mark.

The original Deadshot in 1950
Deadshot as he originally appeared in 1950

Deadshot grew up as Floyd Lawton. His father was dominating and abusive. One day young Floyd got his hands on a gun and aimed it at his father, ready to end his reign of terror. But as his finger clasped the trigger, a large branch fell from a tree causing his aim to turn on his brother, who he killed. 

This accounts for his dedication to a perfect aim but also his inability to kill Batman—the good guy. However, his heartbreaking childhood and failure to become Batman has caused him to instead become a hardened antihero with a disregard for human life and the desire to die a spectacular death.

More recent comic rendering of deadshot
A more evolved Deadshot in his full uniform

Like Batman, Deadshot has no superhuman powers and is deeply affected by his condition as a human. His desire to die spectacularly makes him unpredictable to enemies, as he is willing to suffer incredible amounts of injury during a battle. 

His most human superhero flaw (and I use flaw flippantly) comes in the shape of his estranged young daughter, who he wants to do right by. His desire to be reunited with his daughter, combined with his death drive, makes him a perfect candidate for the Suicide Squad.


In the 2016 film adaptation, Deadshot is played by Will Smith.



The Joker

The Joker's first appearance in Batman

The Joker made his first appearance in Batman in 1940. Many words can be used to describe the Joker; a criminal mastermind, a psychopath, and perhaps the ultimate super-villain. 

As Batman's nemesis, he has played a role in many of the superhero's defining moments. 

The Joker supposedly gained his messed up looks and mind when he fell into a vat of chemicals after being confronted by Batman. He was involved in a crime that went wrong, and was informed by the police that his pregnant wife had died in a domestic accident shortly before he fell into the vat—was his fall actually a suicide attempt? 

Already a chemical engineer (with dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian) his interests got more sadistic as he dabbled in mind games, and murder. This is about the extent of our knowledge of the perverse clown. 

Jared Leto as The Joker
Jared Leto and the concept drawing for his character in the 2016 adaptation

Although he has no comic book history with Suicide Squad, his entanglement with Suicide Squad becomes clear through our next character. 


Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn in her first appearance
Harley Quinn and the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series

Harley Quinn first featured in the 1990s during Batman: The Animated Series. She made a series of appearances and became so popular that she made it to the pages of Batman comics as an adversary to Batman and counterpart/lover to the Joker.

She first met the Joker in Arkham Asylum where she worked as a psychiatrist. She grew obsessed with the Joker and fell in love with him. This is where things get a little out of hand. Her personality almost dissolves into his, and she becomes his equal. Her mad obsession leaves it unclear whether she's madly in love with him or simply wants to be him.

Harley Quinn

As far as relationships go, this one's particularly toxic—which is ironic as she's immune to most toxins. In the comics, falling out with the Joker has led her onto murderous sprees.

Her one weakness is compassion. Yes, in spite of her serial killings she has been known to show mercy, especially towards Batman.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in the 2016 adaptation


Captain Boomerang

Captain Boomerang made his first appearance in The Flash, 1960. The illegitimate son of an American Soldier and an Australian woman, he's an absolute bogan (an Australian ruffian).

Having grown up poor making boomerangs, he landed a job as a teenager showing off his skills for a Toy company, which as it turns out, is owned by his biological father. But Boomerang was a laughing stock and a bitter resentfulness grew which made him use his boomerang skills as dangerous weapons.

Captain boomerang in Suicide Squad magazine

In the Suicide Squad, he is still a bit of a joke. His bogan routes are considered obnoxious by the others who find his bigoted and racists remarks intolerable—even by their standards. 

In the 2016 adaptation, we meet Captain Boomerang Jr. He's less of a laughing stock and certainly less bigotted but still has his own psychotic streak.


El Diablo—Chato Santana

There have been many El Diablo incarnations throughout DC history. The most recent one, Chata Santana, will be appearing in the 2016 movie and as a relatively new character, little is known about him except hints of a dark past. 

Chato Santana
Jay Hernandez plays Chato Santana in 2016's Suicide Squad

A former gangster with pyrokinetic powers, he once burned down a building to collect a debt, killing an innocent woman and her children.

It is all the more harrowing for a regretful Chato Santana when he discovers that the innocents killed were his own wife and children.

He turns himself over to the police and diminishes his flaming powers to a single sorrowful flame, that is until he joins Suicide Squad.


Killer Croc

Killer Croc Suicide Squad
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays Killer Croc in 2016's Suicide Squad

Making his first appearance in 1983, Killer Croc is commonly associated with Batman. He has a rare skin condition giving him a scaly appearance. Croc initially had aspirations to become the crime kingpin of Gotham City and kept in the shadows, eliminating his competition.

Raised by his alcoholic aunt who couldn't abide his hideous appearance and brutal behaviour, he was bullied and abused in her care spurring his rage and ongoing anger issues. The day he killed his aunt was a turning point from which he never looked back. 

The Croc also has cannibalistic tendancies—and we're not talking reptiles.



Cara de Lavigne as Enchantress
Cara Delevigne as The Enchantress in 2016's Suicide Squad

Enchantress first appeared in 1966. The original story has her as June Moone, an artist who is invited to a costume party in an old castle where she meets a spirit that possesses her with evil powers. But in the 2016 version, she's an archaeologist possessed by an ancient evil force.

Although she's had a long publication history, not much else is known about her backstory, and it seems that the evil spirit possessing her leads her villainous reputation.

It's the challenge of Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad to keep the evil aspect of her powers under control when carrying out missions.


Amanda 'The Wall' Waller 

Viola Davies as Amanda Waller
Viola Davies as Amanda Waller in 2016's Suicide Squad

Now we're onto the leaders of the pack. Amanda Waller first appears in 1986. She is completely human, a powerful antagonist and ally to the DC superheroes. 

She is a widow escaping the projects in Chicago after her husband and two children were murdered. After gaining a doctorate in in political science she discovers the history of 'the Squad'.

In the 2016 version, it is her baby entirely. Ruthless and bold she creates a team of dysfunctional villains to fight for good. 


Rick Flag

Rick Flag in the comics

The father and the son, Rick Flag are two generations of hero. First, Flag senior headed up the Suicide Squadron during World War II. And after a series of misfortunes, Rick Flag junior found himself in the same position over this motley crew. 

He is ex-military and somewhat conflicted by his position, refusing to affiliate himself with the likes of Deadshot. He also has some bother with Amanda Waller's commands.



Batman and Killer Croc in Batman - Earth One

We all know Batman. He also makes an appearance in the 2016 version of Suicide Squad thanks to the Joker.


Suicide Squad hits UK cinemas 5 August. Read our review

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