DC’s Task Force X has had quite a few members over the years – the team’s nickname, the ‘Suicide Squad,’ makes it clear that the job has a lot of turnover.
And in that tradition, it seems James Gunn’s 2021 film The Suicide Squad, which is something of a reboot/sequel to the similarly-titled 2016 film, will have a huge roster of potentially expendable supervillains.
To that end, we’re looking back at the greatest Suicide Squad members of all time – the ones who lived up to the job, but not necessarily its implied outcome.
King Shark gained media attention appearing on CW’s The Flash, but the massive human/shark hybrid has a long history in comic books, even serving several stints as a member of the Suicide Squad.
Though his first turn on Task Force X came in the ’90s, King Shark became a staple member of the team in ‘The New 52,’ as one of the most brutal, bizarre members the Squad has ever employed.
He has appeared on CW’s Flash TV show and is rumored to be one of the many characters featured in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.
Count Vertigo has a reputation as a supervillain who has menaced everyone from Batman to Green Arrow, but he’s also deeply entrenched in DC’s espionage community. Vertigo was a long-serving member of Task Force X, who became a criminal after his family, the rulers of the fictional nation of Vlatava, were overthrown.
Vertigo had a hereditary inner-ear condition that made him unable to balance. He received a special implant that corrected his balance, but which he was able to alter so that it would effect the balance of others with a disorienting effect.
After years as a villain, and on the Suicide Squad, Vertigo briefly served as the White Queen’s Knight in Checkmate under Amanda Waller. A younger, villainous version of the character was introduced in DC’s ‘Rebirth’ era, once again challenging Green Arrow.
June Moone is an unstable sorceress whose magical abilities come at the cost of her sanity.
After a few minor appearances in the ’60s and ’70s, she was brought to prominence as part of the Suicide Squad, where her magical abilities were corralled by her handler, Nightshade.
In the Suicide Squad’s early years, Enchantress was often the most powerful – and unstable – member of Task Force X. When June was in control, she was a team player, but many of her teammates had protocols to take her down should her Enchantress persona become too dominant.
In ‘The New 52,’ Enchantress was an early villain of the magical Justice League Dark. She appeared in 2016’s Suicide Squad film, portrayed by Cara Delevigne.
Originally co-created by Steve Ditko for Charlton Comics, Nightshade was integrated into DC continuity with Crisis On Infinite Earths.
DC’s version of Nightshade was a government super-spy tasked with keeping an eye on Enchantress as part of Task Force X and acting as Amanda Waller’s liaison with other spy groups.
Nightshade was a native of the Land of Nightshades, with magical darkness-based powers. She was a member of the Suicide Squad for the entirety of its original run, and later joined DC’s magical super-team the Shadowpact.
She has not appeared in DC’s primary universe since the advent of ‘The New 52,’ but was featured in several issues of the Elseworlds-style series The Multiversity.
Bronze Tiger actually originated in a DC prose novel starring martial artist Richard Dragon. He was later brought into comic books as a compatriot of Dragon, before he was brainwashed and turned against his friend by the villainous Professor Ojo.
After recovering, Bronze Tiger was hired by King Faraday to take down the League of Assassins, but was captured and subverted again. After serving as one of their top hitmen, he was deprogrammed by Amanda Waller and conscripted into Task Force X. Bronze Tiger served with the Squad for years as Rick Flag’s second-in-command, taking leadership himself after Flag’s apparent death.
There’s speculation Idris Elba will portray Bronze Tiger in next year’s The Suicide Squad, though the purported role hasn’t been confirmed.
Rick Flag is the long-time field leader of Task Force X, a government operative handpicked by Amanda Waller to keep the ‘dirtbags’ of the Suicide Squad in line – and put them down, should they get out of hand.
A second generation war hero, Flag’s father was part of the original Suicide Squad, a group made of special agents with nothing to lose. Flag’s first foray into the Suicide Squad was a group similar to his father’s, made up of soldiers and secret agents. After that team went south, Flag joined Waller’s team of super-powered villains and ne’er-do-wells.
He’s played by Joel Kinnaman in 2016’s Suicide Squad and the upcoming sequel/reboot.
Flash’s Rogues have always been a part of the Suicide Squad – even Captain Cold and Mirror Master have served on different iterations of the team. But perhaps the one who is most associated with the team is Captain Boomerang. George “Digger” Harkness is an Australian curmudgeon with an uncanny knack for throwing boomerangs (and pissing people off).
Armed with an arsenal of trick ‘rangs, Captain Boomerang was a staple of the squad for years. He’s so iconically associated with the Squad that he was included in Arrow’s version of the team rather than appearing on Flash in CW’s Arrowverse, and is part of the movie team as well.
Harley Quinn is the most recent addition to the Suicide Squad of anyone on this list, but since she joined at the start of ‘The New 52,’ she’s become the face of Task Force X, even appearing for the first time on the big screen in the original Suicide Squad film.
Fans know Harley’s history well – she was an accomplished psychiatrist before becoming infatuated with the Joker and suffering a psychotic break. She may not be superhuman, but her former longtime creative shepherds Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner said Harley’s greatest strength is that she “doesn’t realize she isn’t capable of doing anything.”
Despite breaking out into a whole new team in this year’s Birds of Prey movie, she’ll also appear in The Suicide Squad, played once again by Margot Robbie.
Deadshot may be the Squad’s most reliable bad guy. He’s been a part of Task Force X since their modern inception, and has occasionally served as the team’s field leader. Despite being an outright psychopath, he’s often the most level-headed of the Squad’s villainous members.
Floyd Lawton was also a key member of Secret Six, a team of semi-anti-heroes-but-also-sometimes-villains that spun out of the Suicide Squad. But since the start of the ‘The New 52,’ he’s been front and center with Task Force X once again. He made his big-screen debut played by Mr. July himself Will Smith in 2016’s Suicide Squad, though he reportedly won’t return for 2021’s reboot/sequel.
And, in comic books, it seems his death is on the way, having been teased as an upcoming Suicide Squad storyline.
Amanda Waller may not be a field agent for Task Force X, and she’s not a superhuman – but she is the heart and soul of the Suicide Squad (if a cabal of murderers and psychopaths can be said to have such a thing).
Waller conceived of and commands the Squad through her sheer determination and force of will. She may be the most politically powerful woman in the DC Universe.
“The Wall,” as she’s often called, is notorious among DC’s heroes for being impossible to intimidate – as you can see, she’s even stared down Batman. She makes up for her lack of physical power with a level of grit and toughness that is unmatched in the DCU.
She’s even been known to back Batman into a corner.
Amanda Waller is portrayed by Viola Davis in the Suicide Squad film franchise.
Newsarama staff writer who learned to read from comic books and hasn’t shut up about them since.