(Spoilers for Suicide Squad – The Movie)
“They told me they need heavy hitters. This crew is meant to perform the dastardly deeds others might consider… well… suicide. Huh. I just got the name” -Manchester Black
A woman observes the monitors in front of her. Armed guards are bringing in the last of her recruits. As they are fitted with kill-switches, she reviews the intel about them, the assassins, the clown, the witch, the atoning heroes, the soldier, and the freaks. She gets up and tells the Squad that they are going to perform black ops missions that no one else can handle. In return, they will be freed once their service is done. Try to run or deviate from the mission? She can kill them remotely. Welcome to Task Force X.
Mission Statement: Origin of Task Force X [TOP SECRET]
“I am the law of last resort. My name is Amanda Waller. I am not your mother, your maiden aunt, or your friend. I am your warden, and you are my prisoners” -Amanda Waller: Young Justice
In 1987 the United States was in peril. Due to the machinations of Darkseid, superheroes were banned from operating in public and a nuclear monster called Brimstone was defeating every hero who went up against it. Desperate, the government turned the matter over to Task Force X, their paranormal division. Task Force X, under command of Amanda ‘The Wall’ Waller, then forcibly recruited several supervillains to stop Brimstone.
Equipped with shock collars and led by then-Captain Rick Flag Jr., these villains, ranging from Blockbuster and The Enchantress to Captain Boomerang and Deadshot, fought Brimstone and eventually managed to kill it at the cost of Blockbuster’s life.
Deemed a success, the Suicide Squad was kept on hand by the government so that they could be used for missions the U.S. couldn’t be implicated in. If the squad failed or died, they could easily be disavowed and would be difficult to connect to the U.S. government. More members would join, from heroes like Bronze Tiger (voiced by Michael Jai White in the animated Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and Vixen (Megalynn Echikunwoke from television’s Arrow) to villains like Bane (Tom Hardy in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises) and Harley Quinn. Eventually, the Squad would be exposed to the public, and Waller would be sent to jail. She would later be pardoned and asked to bring back the Squad which she would, now that they were out of the spotlight.
Recovered Dossiers: the Most Frequent Members [TOP SECRET]
Deadshot: “Most fun I’ve had since my last root canal. Well gang, guess I’ll be saying-“
[He is attacked by Colonel Flagg]
Colonel Rick Flagg: “Dream on, dirtbag. Five years. You sign up for missions like this for five years. If you survive, then you go free. You don’t like it, there’s a nice warm seat waiting for you back at Belle Reve Correctional.”
Deadshot: “Tell me, Colonel – what’s Waller got on you?”
Colonel Rick Flagg: “Not a thing. Some of us don’t have to be blackmailed into serving their country.”
Let’s start with the boss, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis in Suicide Squad). Originally a housewife, Waller clawed her way through government work as the leader of Task Force X after she lost her family to the violence of Cabrini-Green Homes*. She is known for being manipulative, uncompromising, and ruthless, willing to do whatever she must to defend the U.S.A., hence her nickname, The Wall. She has managed to keep several supervillains in check, survive working for President Lex Luthor**, and even managed to convince Batman that her organization was less dangerous than the Justice League.
Next up is Rick Flag Jr. (Joel Kinnaman in Suicide Squad), an officer who is alternately captain and colonel and works for Task Force X. He was one of only two survivors when his team fought a yeti in Cambodia. Ohhh-kay. He was tapped to join the new Suicide Squad by Waller and served as their leader in the field. Deeply uncomfortable leading a team of criminals, he would still come to care for them, even fighting the Justice League to protect them.
Slowly going mad from all the suicide missions, Flag learned that a U.S. Senator had intel about the Squad and was threatening to expose them. He snapped and went on a solo mission to assassinate the Senator, unaware that Waller had already dealt with him. The Squad was dispatched to stop Flag’s mission by any means necessary to avoid exposing the Squad. Deadshot got the job done… by killing the Senator first. She did say any means necessary, right? Regardless, this was what wound up revealing the Squad to the world and brought an end to the first team.
Finally, we have Deadshot played by Will Smith in Suicide Squad. Originally a crook who pretended to be a hero to get rid of the competition, he was later retconned into being an assassin with a grudge against Batman. He was one of the first recruited, but has stayed on the longest because he actually is suicidal.***
While he is an assassin, he also has a code of honor and is barely good enough to be considered an anti-hero. He’s an expert marksman who uses wrist mounted guns and is considered one of the deadliest assassins in DC only trumped by Deathstroke and the League of Assassins, led by Ra’s Al Ghul (Liam Neeson in Nolan’s first film, Batman Begins). **** He is also dating Harley Quinn and has worked with another team called The Secret Six.
Didya Get All that?
A team of criminals led by one of the toughest women in comics, performing black ops for the red, white, and blue
* A public housing project in Chicago, known for poverty and gang violence.
** Yeah, Luthor became the president once. We’ll get to that some other time.
*** Depending on the writer. Sometimes he want’s to die, sometimes he’s just apathetic about death.
**** Pronounced Raysh, not Raz. Fun Fact: his name translates to “The Demon’s Head” in Arabic.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.