Suicide Squad Comic Reveals New Team (And They’re Already Dying)
Warning: spoilers for Suicide Squad #2
DC Comics’ relaunch of the Suicide Squad has put Peacemaker in charge, and already they’re living up to their name—a bit too much. All set for his feature film debut, Peacemaker is a good choice to fill the shoes of field leader on paper, now that Colonel Rick Flag is temporarily out of the picture, but for his fellow squad members he may be a little too mission focused. With a fresh new creative team including writer Robbie Thompson, and artists Eduardo Panic and Julio Ferreira, the series is off to a running start.
Officially known as Task Force X in the comics, the Suicide Squad has technically been around the comic book sphere since the name first appeared in 1959’s The Brave and the Bold #25. However, it wasn’t until 1987’s Legends #3, from writers John Ostrander and Lein Wein, and artists John Byrne and Karl Kesel, that the concept was revamped and readers got the version they know and love today. As a team of expendable supervillains coerced into going on dangerous missions on behalf of the US government in exchange for reduced prison time, their stories have always been delightfully twisted and over the top. But now the stakes have changed, and—thanks to big boss Amanda Waller—the Suicide Squad is transitioning from a black-ops crew of anti-heroes, to a team designed to rival the Justice League. As fans are finding out, with any big growth, there are going to be teething issues.
In last month’s Suicide Squad #1, fans saw the assault on Arkham Asylum begin, led by the extreme pacifist Peacemaker. At the start of the mission the team included former Arkham inmate Film Freak, the lightning-powered teleporter Bolt, and the Nightwing-nemesis Shrike. The mission objective was simple enough: enter Arkham and breakout William Cobb, otherwise known as the legendary assassin and Batman foe: Talon. Sadly, Cobb’s sanity is seriously compromised, and he immediately slices Bolt’s throat open. There goes their quick escape. Things go from bad to worse when the whole wing of Arkham they’re traversing is mysteriously flooded with Joker gas. Both Film Freak and Shrike quickly succumb to the gas, leaving Peacemaker alone to get Talon out alive.
This month’s Suicide Squad #2 may flex some more powerful characters, but the death toll is only marginally better, especially considering a Kryptonian has joined the party. Emerging out of a teleportation portal generated by Exit, a low-level metahuman, are; Mindwarp, a psychopath with psychic abilities; the vampire Nocturna; and Culebra, who power-wise resembles Marvel Comics’ Juggernaut. Leading the cavalry is the cloned offspring of Lex Luthor and Superman, aka Superboy. With Batman arriving on the scene, the team is forced to accelerate its timeline. Despite Superboy’s best—albeit misguided—efforts to save as many as possible, both Exit and Mindwarp, along with dozens of Arkham guards and inmates fall victim to Joker’s toxic gas. For those who aren’t keeping count, that’s five squad members killed in action for one unstable super-assassin.
If, as she’s stated, Waller is tired of recruiting and training new teams, tired of her life’s work equating to failure, then she’s off to a rocky start. Luckily, it isn’t as though DC Comics has a shortage of lesser-known and disposable rogues: being in the business of making comics for nearly a century has its advantages. For his part, Peacemaker may be excellent at getting the job done, but he doesn’t care how many of his teammates’ bodies he has to step on to accomplish it. It could very well be that Superboy is the leader this new vision of the Suicide Squad needs.