So I was watching an episode or two of Young Justice with Lord 13, because I am a grown-up who can watch anything he likes and Luscious was in the house and she hates Teen Titans Go!. We came across an episode involving an incursion into Belle Reve Prison, home of the Suicide Squad and hub of the Amanda Waller empire. Except, in this incarnation, Belle Reve was just a prison, and Waller was just the warden, and frankly, I was pissed.
I’m a loooooong-time fan of the Squad. I liked them before they were cool and popular, nyer nyer. I’m still bitching about Bronze Tiger not being in the movie. And Lord 13 is always up for a conversation about comics and superheroes. So we got to jawing about the Squad, which, naturally, turned into a discussion about who we would have in our Suicide Squad comic, because we are boys and whenever two or more boys shall discuss comics, the conversation will turn this way. It’s the law.
So we decided to share today’s 5 for Friday post, and present to you 5 characters we would include in our respective versions of the Suicide Squad
5 FOR FRIDAY: WELCOME TO TASK FORCE X
Lord 13’s knowledge of the Suicide Squad begins and ends with the movie. He’s aware that the comics exist– I have a line of graphic novels amongst my collection– but he’s never taken them down and read them. So I didn’t set any rules for him, or veto any characters on the basis of previous membership. Here are his picks, based purely on a 13 year old’s desire to see cool in his comics:
1. Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy’s control of plant would be like having an extra member of the team, because wherever they are, she can bring the natural wildlife into play on the team’s side. That will increase the team’s strength, and her ability to use plants to control other people will be incredibly useful.
Poison Ivy, artist unknown
2. Gorilla Grodd.
Grodd has all the incredible strength of a gorilla, which will give the team the brute muscle it needs. His psychic abilities will enable the team to control people it needs to control in order to use skills outside their skill sets.
Grodd, artist unknown
3. Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne).
Every team should have a speedster for scouting and rescue. Thawne’s great intellect would be an asset in making up strategy and creating tools and weapons for individual missions.
Reverse Flash by Norm Rapbund
Because everything is backwards to Bizarro, he would actually want to be on the team, think he’s being heroic, and enjoy all the things the other characters hate. Also, the strength and power of a Superman would be a huge asset to the team.
Bizarro by Dichiara
5. Killer Frost.
Killer Frost’s ice abilities would enable her to control battle spaces, and trap the enemy, as well as providing fast routes for exits. She is a really interesting mix of intelligent and psychotic, and you’d never know where her brilliance is leading the team.
Killer Frost by Mirka Andolfo
Now my turn. Because of my familiarity with the team and the concept, and the fact I’ve played this game with a couple of other teams in the past, I set myself some rules for inclusion. To whit:
- The character must be damaged in some way. It’s a defining feature of all the best Squad members– while they may be B or C grade villains, they are always A-class headcases.
- The character must need the team environment for some reason, be that redemption, a shortcut to revenge, three steadies a day, or just the sense of belonging. These are resourceful villains– narratively, the whole bomb-in-the-neck thing almost always masks the real reason they stick around.
- They must fulfill a role. Much like my previous exercises in team-building, it’s not just enough to want to play with cool characters. Each one must have a specific skill set to bring to the team.
- To the best of my knowledge (and I’ll grant that my reading, while pretty extensive, is not absolute), they must not have been a Squad member previously.
With that in mind, and the sure and certain knowledge that the Squad isn’t really the Squad without some combination of Deadshot, Rick Flag, Captain Boomerang and Bronze Tiger, here are my five picks:
1. The Tank: Mad Harriet
Sooner or later, it all comes down to punching folk in the face. Every team needs a bigger-than-you-stronger-than-you type. But given our particular needs, a psychotic, super-strong, intergalactic Female Fury from a hell planet would seem to fit the bill. Raised on Apokolips; perverted by Granny Goodness; gifted with superhuman strength, speed, endurance and reflexes; wielding power spikes; and batshit crazy as a loon, Mad Harriet would be one of those characters that make me cackle as I wrote her. Any character that can drop into a team of superpowered villains and cause the likes of Deadshot or Black Manta to seriously question whether it’s worth unleashing her at all has my vote.
Mad Harriet by Nathan Turner
2. The Strategic Genius: Vandal Savage
It’s not going too far into the realms of nonsense to suggest that Casper Crump’s portrayal of Savage was the only saving grace of the disappointingly dreadful first series of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Savage has been a wonderfully complex and fascinating character for decades without ever really taking over the fannish consciousness the way lesser villains have (I’m looking at you, Harvey Dent). A technologically and strategically brilliant immortal Cro Magnon who has bedeviled the world for millenia out of sheer enjoyment of bloodshed and violence, Savage also carries the mark of Cain: he cannot be killed by the hand of Man, but will be recognised and reviled wherever he treads and will never find rest.
There are so many fun aspects to this character, and placing him in the Suicide Squad milieu will allow a writer to raise any number of questions to unbalance the team.
Vandal Savage, artist unknown
3. The Skill Monster: Prometheus
A Batman-level trained physical specimen with a never-ending and wide array of technologically advanced armours and weaponry, Prometheus is a gleeful kid in a scary toy shop. It’s doubtful he’d bring a whole lot of psychological complexity to the team, but sometimes you just need a character who can get the job done. And let’s be honest– I doubt many people saw how complex a character Deadshot would prove to be when he debuted, so who knows? There’s a lot of playing field that could be covered.
Prometheus by Arnie Jorgensen
4. The Redemptive: Jericho
Fanatics make for great comic book characters. And what better fanatic than the insane-on-regular-basis, non-corporeal-on-a-regular-basis, abused by any number of parents and wannabe parents, pacifist, reluctant superhero son of the world’s greatest mercenary, Deathstroke?
Jericho has been through so many iterations that he must get dizzy stitching his name into his underpants. Even with a fantastic skill set, and a class-A back story, he’s never really been a character in his own right so much as he’s been fridged regularly to provide motivation for other, more essential characters. If ever there was someone who needed the… stability?…. of being a part of a team where he knows he’s expendable, it’s this guy.
Jericho, artist unknown
5. The Loon: The Creeper
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love The Creeper. I’ve already discussed why, and how I want to pitch him to DC in his own right. One of the great things about the Suicide Squad is the freedom it gives creators to play with characters who, in other circumstances, are utter loons that most teams would run screaming from. But with an alter-ego who’s a paranoid, conservative, Alex Jones-style TV host who would expose the Squad simply to point out the criminality of the Gubmint, this particular milieu seems tailor-made for this hellish fruitbat chaos-beast. The Creeper could, and should, be every cat ever thrown amongst the pigeons, a walking hand grenade in a can. He should reach out and tear the pages right out of your hands. He’d bring the X, Y, and Z factors, and maybe even give Mad Harriet something to pause over.
The Creeper by Justiniano
So there we go. Ten candidates for the team that eats its member. Who would you put in yours?
The time to write Five for Friday posts is partly funded by the generous pledges of my Patreon patrons. If you enjoy this series, consider making a small pledge: for a couple of bucks a month, you’ll also receive a range of exclusive extras. Check out my Patreon page for more details, and a list of what each patron receives for their commitment.