DC has finally unveiled the roster for Suicide Squad! The supervillain team has a long history in comic books — and although we’ve seen the Joker already, you might not be familiar with the cavalcade of characters introduced in the cast image above. Here’s our guide to characters of the new Task Force X.
Note: This guide is covering the characters introduced as members of the Suicide Squad in the movie so far. It’s not a complete list of Squad members (go here to see a long list of everyone who’s been in it over the years!), nor does it include important characters we know are in the film like Amanda Waller or the Joker.
First Appearance: Fury of Firestorm #28, 1984
Skills: Mastery of ropes, trained Assassin
Christopher Weiss was originally an enemy of Firestorm, and a member of the 2000 Committee (a villain team that had the oddly specific target of taking over the world by the year 2000. Suffice to say, the team has disbanded). However, after an attempt to kill Firestorm, Slipknot was defeated by the hero and sent to prison — presumably because his only real “abilities” were that he’d crafted a formula for unbreakable ropes, which Slipknot used to strangle his targets.
He came to the attention of the Suicide Squad while he was in jail during the 1988 crossover event Millenium, joining them for the first time to take out a base of evil alien robots called Manhunters. During the mission, realising that his unbreakable ropes were of little use fighting Manhunters, Weiss attempted to flee the Squad, but a bomb armband he was attached to — designed to ensure that less trustworthy members of the Squad didn’t run away while on a mission — exploded, taking his left arm with it, effectively ending his career as an assassin.
Captain Boomerang (Owen Mercer)
First Appearance: Identity Crisis #3, 2004
Powers: Bursts of superspeed, use of trick boomerangs
Both Digger Harkness and his son Owen have both been part of the Suicide Squad as the villain Captain Boomerang (and as members of the Flash villain team the Rogues), but Jai Courtney’s outfit in the movie seems to indicate that the Captain Boomerang we will see is Owen rather than his father.
Following his father’s death, Owen took on the mantle of Captain Boomerang and fought as part of several groups — including the Rogues, the hero team Outsiders, and of course, the Suicide Squad. Mercer was inducted to the Squad after being arrested following a battle with the Outsiders during Infinite Crisis.
Owen’s tenure as Captain Boomerang was short-lived — during the 2009 event Blackest Night, he murdered a swath of civilians in an attempt to use their blood to resurrect his father. The Rogues, who had a strict code of not killing women and children, confronted him and pushed him into the pit of blood Owen planned to use... where his resurrecting father tore his heart out. Lovely stuff. His reborn dad would take Owen’s place as Boomerang and on the Suicide Squad once again in the New 52.
First Appearance: Strange Adventures #187, 1966
Powers: Practitioner of magic
June Moone was originally hero — a freelance artist who gained her powers after attending a fancy dress party at a castle, where a magical entity granted her the ability to turn into the Enchantress and to cast magic. June used her powers to defeat several magical foes, but shortly after her heroic introduction turned villainous after fighting Supergirl in an attempt to gain omnipotent magical power .
Enchantress became a member of the Suicide Squad early on during John Ostrander’s post-Crisis on Infinite Earths series, and one of its most powerful members. Eventually, June discovers that the Enchantress persona is actually an evil entity from an alternate dimension, which is ripped out of her by a demon, depowering her and leaving her mentally scarred.
June would eventually be reconnected with the Enchantress persona and became a hero again, primarily dealing with mystical threats, first with the magic-based team Shadowpact, and then Justice League Dark in the New 52.
First Appearance: The Brave and the Bold #200, 1983
Powers: Martial arts mastery, wields the Soultaker sword
Katana’s presence in the Suicide Squad cast photo came as a surprise to any comic book reader familiar with her — Katana has never been on the Squad, and is actually a superhero rather than a supervillain. She’s been a member of the Outsiders, the Birds of Prey and even the Justice League.
Tatsu Yamashiro was happily married, but her jealous husband’s Yakuza brother Takeo (whom Tatsu has spurned in favour of his brother Maseo) murdered him with a mystical sword in front of her. He also started a fire at their home that killed her children, too, so Takeo was a terrible person. Tatsu defeated him and took the sword, which she realised contained the spirit of Maseo — the sword’s power was to trap the souls of its victims. Dubbing it the Soultaker, Tatsu trained as a samurai and eventually came to America, where she adopted the Katana moniker to fight injustice.
Rick Flag, Jr.
First Appearance: The Brave and the Bold #25, 1959
Skills: Expert in military tactics, firearms, demolition and infiltration
As the “junior” implies, there was a Rick Flag before this — Daddy Flag actually led the original incarnation of the Suicide Squadron, at first a company in World War II and later resurrected as “Task Force X” by President Truman, dealing with both civilian matters and supervillains.
Flag’s son took on leadership of the team following his death, but Task Force X was later reformed as a covert government squad by Amanda Waller, and Flag resumed leadership of the new team. Flag played a prominent role throughout several incarnations of the Squad, seeing it disbanded and reformed several times, but was written out of continuity altogether in the New 52 reboot. Since 2011, Flag has not been seen in the comics and is not a member of the Suicide Squad, which is led in the field now by Deadshot.
First Appearance: Batman: The Animated Series “Joker’s Favor”, 1992 (in comic continuity: Batman: Harley Quinn #1, 1999)
Skills: Toxin resistance, trained gymnast and psychotherapist, trained in combat
Harley Quinn’s history is a strange one, and the Suicide Squad portion is merely a small fraction of it. Created by Bruce Timm for Batman: The Animated Series, Harley was originally a background Joker goon before being established as his close confidant (and in her eyes, romantic partner). Her background was revealed in a graphic novel, Mad Love, revealing that she was once Harleen Quinzel, an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist that fell in love with the Joker while he was an inmate. Driven to crime in an attempt to woo the Joker, she became Harley Quinn.
Harley only joined the Squad after the New 52 reboot, but after hearing rumours of the Joker’s demise, she betrays the Squad and goes AWOL. She’s currently an anti-hero, having lost all connection to Batman and the Joker, balancing her life as a professional psychiatrist in Coney Island (and also part-time Roller Derby team leader) with fighting crime. She eventually returned as part of a new Suicide Squad team last year.
First Appearance: Batman #59, 1950
Skills: Master marksman, robotic eye grants increased accuracy
Floyd Lawton, an expert marksman, originally appeared in Gotham City as a new crimefighter, before Batman and Commissioner Gordon exposed his plan to take over the Dark Knight’s role and become King of Gotham’s underworld. Following a jail term Lawton returned to the Deadshot identity, becoming an Assassin for hire (fun aside, he was once hired to kill the Pope. Wonder Woman intervened). Lawton readily signed up as a member of the Suicide Squad when Amanda Waller recreated it, due to a desire to end his life in a spectacular fashion, but has since remained a prominent member of the team through several incarnations.
In the New 52 reboot, Deadshot leads the team until he is killed protecting Amanda Waller during an assassination team. Because it’s comic books, though, he was revived a short while later and rejoined the Squad.
First Appearance: Batman #357, 1983
Powers: Scale like skin, superhuman strength and reflexes, regenerative healing factor
Over the years, Killer Croc, originally a gangster with a skin condition that gave him reptilian-looking scales, has fluctuated between being an overgrown crocodile-esque monster and a more human-looking villain, and more recently in the comics has returned to a more crocodile look, having been tested on for genetic experimentation, becoming more monstrous and animal-like.
Primarily a member of Batman’s Rogue Gallery, in and out of Arkham on a regular basis, Killer Croc is actually akin to Katana in terms of Suicide Squad — he has no affiliations with the team in the comics, and has never been a member.
El Diablo (Chato Santana)
First Appearance: El Diablo Volume 3 #1, 2008
Chato Santana is not the first person to take on the El Diablo name. Two previous El Diablos, Lazarus Lane and Rafael Sandoval, were heroes. Lane was an old western hero who, after being struck by lightning, developed the uncanny power to cheat death, and Sandoval took on the Black Mask identity to defend the town of Dos Rios, where he was also a city councillor.
Santana has no connections to either Lane or Sandoval — an ex-gangster who has the power of pyrokinesis, Santana once accidentally burned down the apartment building of some local gangsters. Discovering that innocent women and children perished in the blaze and guilt-stricken, Santana turned himself into the police. Once incarcerated and placed on death row, Chato was forcefully recruited by Amanda Waller into the Suicide Squad to make use of his powers for her missions.