DC has a slew of great teams from the Justice League of America, the Teen Titans, Legion of Superheroes, The Doom Patrol, Outsiders and even some cool villain teams including the Secret Society of Super-Villains, the Injustice League and Flash’s Rogues, but no other team combines heroes and villains like the Suicide Squad.
David Ayer will be bringing the team to the big screen in the second 2016 film in DC/Warner’s massive roll-out of movies featuring the DC Universe. You’re no doubt familiar with the stars who will be headlining from Will Smith, Jared Leto, Tom Hardy, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney and Cara Delevingne, but for those unfamiliar with the comic and the characters, here’s a primer on the Squad itself and its roster.
The team was the original Expendables – Amanda Waller formed Task Force X to help Darkseid from conquering the Earth by getting humanity to turn against its heroes. The initial team was comprised of Rick Flag Jr. as the squad leader and criminals Blockbuster, Bronze Tiger, Deadshot and the Enchantress and quickly thereafter, Captain Boomerang is brought into the fold. Waller uses criminals to have deniability in case they’re caught behind enemy lines and no one would care if a villain gets killed in the line of duty.
A team with a certain set of skills – The Squad is comprised largely of villains for a reason — to do the kinds of things that Superman, and even Batman, won’t do namely assassinating political targets and carrying out missions on the behalf of the government.
Things that make you go boom – Squad members are coerced to joining missions as a means of reducing their prison sentences or by a devices that force good behavior. In some versions of the Squad, the team has implants that will explode if they act out of line.
Heroes are welcome, but not encouraged — Through the course of the 66-issue run, only a handful of heroes sign up with the team: Shade, the Changing Man; the former Justice League member Vixen, Nightshade, Nemesis and Barbara Gordon in her guise as Oracle.
Now let’s meet the team:
Deadshot – Floyd Lawton is one of DC’s preeminent assassins thanks to his reputation of never missing and lack of concern if he lives or dies. While he’s capable with any weapon, he prefers to use two silenced, wrist-mounted guns. He started his career as a crime-fighter in Gotham City, but reveals a more sinister nature when he tries to kill Batman and become Gotham’s kingpin. Lawton grew up with an abusive father who threatened his brother. In attempting to defend him, Lawton accidentally kills his brother with a rifle instead of shooting their father leading to his obsession with his aim. Will Smith will be portraying him in the film.
Rick Flag, Jr. — The son of the original leader of the first Suicide Squad from the 1950s, Flag reluctantly agreed to head the team of villains, but loathed being considered on the same level as the killers and psychopaths he worked alongside. While he hated Capt. Boomerang and any comparisons to Deadshot, Flag found reliable allies with Bronze Tiger, Nemesis and Nightshade. Flag is a less super-powered, slightly less together version of Captain America and it’ll be fun watching Joel Kinnaman (‘Run All Night‘) tackle the role. Tom Hardy was originally set to play Flag, but backed out due to scheduling issues.
Harley Quinn – Initially created for the “Batman: The Animated Series” show, Harley became such a fan-favorite that she was added to the comic book. Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzell attempts to treat The Joker at Arkhum Asylum, but instead finds herself drawn to him and helps him escape time after time. The sight of seeing Joker badly beaten by Batman makes Harleen snap and she becomes Joker’s psychotic sidekick Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie gets what will no doubt be the scene-stealing role in the film as the Squad’s most unpredictable member.
Captain Boomerang — A longtime foe of the Barry Allen incarnation of The Flash, George “Digger” Harkness grew up poor and learned to make and use boomerangs like no other. He was mocked for his skill and quickly turned to crime fighting alongside the other Flash Rogues before being added to the Suicide Squad where he alienated himself amongst his teammates for his ineffectiveness and racist views. Jai Courtney will be playing the movie role, titled simply Boomerang.
Enchantress – Cara Delevingne will be playing freelance artist June Moore, who is empowered to become a powerful sorceress with nearly limitless ability. June joins the Squad provided they can help her keep Enchantress’ more evil tendencies in line, but she’s unable to keep her evil side in check and ruins a Squad mission as a result. She’s going to be the Squad’s wildcard and may be used as the example character to keep the others in line for the film.
Killer Croc – A longtime Batman foe, Waylon Jones was born with atavism, a disease that give him reptilian traits including a tough exterior and superior strength. While typically portrayed as the dumb muscle to the A-list members of Batman’s Rogue Gallery he’s grown in popularity thanks to his role on ‘Batman: The Animated Series.’ ‘Lost’s’ Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje will be playing Croc. Typically, Croc hasn’t been a member of the Squad and I’m tempted to peg him as one of the members that won’t survive to the end credits.
The Joker – No explanation necessary, but it will be interesting to see how the movie makes use of Batman’s main adversary, especially since Jared Leto’s take will be the DC universe encompassing version of the character making his first appearance in a non-Batman film. Joker was never a member of the Squad and his screen time should be limited to a cameo appearance, much like how he was utilized in “Batman: Assault on Arkham [Blu-ray].” Leto marks the third time an Oscar winning actor has portrayed the character, which tops the other DC characters combined. Ben Affleck as Batman marks the only other Oscar-winner to star as a DC hero.
I am a bit disappointed with the lack of longtime member Bronze Tiger, one of the coolest black characters in either Marvel or DC. The guy beat Batman in a fight and provides a balance between the villains of the Squad. Hopefully he just is being cast by a relative unknown and not sitting this one out.
Amanda Waller’s casting took a bit longer, but yet to be announced as well. Getting Viola Davis to play the tough as nails organizer of the Squad who is quick to remind each member they’re completely expendable was a coup and there’s no doubt she’s going to be excellent in it.
“Suicide Squad” comes to theaters on Aug. 5, 2016.
Looking forward to it?