Who is on DC's Suicide Squad?
Posted August 8, 2016
Most people recognize a character such as the Joker from his numerous film and TV appearances over the years, whether it’s Cesar Romero’s white makeup-over-mustache look or Heath Ledger’s scars or one of the many other iterations of the villain.
But with this weekend’s release of “Suicide Squad,” Warner Bros. is plumbing the depths of the DC rogues gallery, pulling a “Guardians of the Galaxy” and trying to make audiences care about a lineup of characters even some DC fans may not have known existed beforehand.
So, in order to get you up to speed, here’s a quick rundown, using information from DC Database, of the colorful bunch of baddies appearing in the new movie, all gearing up for what is almost certainly going to be DC’s strangest movie yet.
The Squad itself
First appearance: “The Brave and the Bold” No. 25, September 1959
Sometimes known as Task Force X, the Suicide Squad has gone through multiple incarnations in the comics. The one featured in the film, however, is a government-sponsored strike force made up of convicted criminals who carry out missions in exchange for commuted prison sentences. The Suicide Squad is overseen by the shady Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis). To help keep them on a tight leash, every member of the Suicide Squad is outfitted with an explosive bracelet.
Deadshot (aka Floyd Lawton)
Played by: Will Smith
First appearance: “Batman” No. 59, June/July 1950
Usually portrayed as the de facto leader of the Suicide Squad, Deadshot is one of the team’s non-superpowered members. What he can do, though, is shoot guns — as in, really, really well. His look has evolved quite a bit from his first appearance facing off against Batman in a top hat and tails. Lawton now sports cybernetic implants, including a glowing red eye, which help out with his day job as a trained assassin. One other nifty detail about Deadshot is that he’s obsessed with the idea of going out in a blaze of glory, Butch Cassidy-style, which pushes him to repeatedly take the most dangerous jobs.
Harley Quinn (aka Dr. Harleen Quinzel)
Played by: Margot Robbie
First appearance: “Batman: The Animated Series,” September 1992
Quinn, the Joker’s main squeeze, was actually created for the small screen, debuting in “Batman: The Animated Series” in 1992. Since then, however, she’s become a favorite among fans.
Originally a psychiatrist at the Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, Harleen Quinzel fell in love with the Joker while treating him as a patient, unleashing her own brand of psychotic on Gotham City, which frequently involves a giant sledgehammer.
Enchantress (aka June Moone)
Played by: Cara Delevingne
First appearance: “Strange Adventures” No. 187, April 1966
Possessing full-on magical powers, Enchantress is pretty much the Suicide Squad’s Jean Grey (for the X-Men fans out there): extremely powerful but also not 100 percent in control of her own abilities. Also like Jean Grey and the Dark Phoenix, it’s later discovered that Enchantress’ magic powers in fact come from a demon fused to her.
Because she’s prone to lose control, fellow Squad member Deadshot is given the task of taking her out if she looks like she might pose a threat.
Captain Boomerang (aka Digger Harkness)
Played by: Jai Courtney
First appearance: “Flash” No. 117, December 1960
A low-tier Aussie villain who kills people with razor-sharp boomerangs, Captain Boomerang is known for having a bad sense of humor, a grating personality and being, even by the low standards of the Suicide Squad, pretty much an amoral jerk. Did we mention he really likes boomerangs? After being abandoned on an island by Waller at one point, he tried to build a giant one to fling himself back to the continent.
Played by: Joel Kinnaman
First appearance: “The Brave and the Bold” No. 25, September 1959
One of these things is not like the others. Rick Flag isn’t a supervillain — in fact, he’s not even a regular villain. According to source.superherostuff.com, Flag’s role through several iterations of the Suicide Squad (the original “Suicide Squadron” having been led by his father during World War II) is that of field commander, handpicked by Waller to oversee the special task force and make sure its other members don’t get too out of line.
The website says Flag, like virtually all comic book characters, was eventually killed in the line of duty (by a Nazi nuke) in the comics only to be resurrected — and that’s where things get confusing. The 2007 storyline “Raise the Flag” revealed not only that Flag never actually died (he teleported) but also that he wasn’t even really Rick Flag at all, just a soldier named Anthony Miller who had been brainwashed into thinking he was Rick Flag. (Duh-duh-dunnn!)
Killer Croc (aka Waylon Jones)
Played by: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
First appearance: “Detective Comics” No. 523, February 1983
A former sideshow freak/wrestler, Killer Croc is one of the more unique members of Batman’s rogues gallery, thanks to a rare skin condition that gives him a reptilian look, which, depending on the artist, can range from just having scaly skin (as in his original 1983 appearance) to having a full-on tail and snout.
Despite occasionally munching on the odd human here and there, Croc isn’t without a sympathetic side. When he encountered Green Arrow’s former teen sidekick Speedy (aka Roy Harper) trying to commit suicide, he talked him out of it and even became his AA sponsor.
Katana (aka Tatsu Yamashiro)
Played by: Karen Fukuhara
First appearance: “The Brave and the Bold” No. 200, July 1983
A Japanese-American superhero in the comics and, at one point, a member of the Justice League, Katana was originally portrayed wielding a sword capable of possessing the souls of anyone it kills. When DC rebooted its whole comics universe with the “New 52” continuity, Katana got a slightly revamped origin story. Still very much one of the good guys, this version of the character was recruited by Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl/Oracle) as her replacement on the all-female team Birds of Prey. But in this continuity, her sword isn’t actually possessed — she’s just a little kooky. So, in that sense, she should fit in well with the rest of the Squad.
Slipknot (aka Christopher Weiss)
Played by: Adam Beach
First appearance: “Fury of Firestorm” No. 28, October 1984
There’s already a guy who can shoot guns and a guy who can throw boomerangs, so what’s an assassin wanting to stand out from the crowd to do? Kill people by tying ropes. According to Comic Vine, Slipknot’s tenure in the Suicide Squad was a brief one, though, thanks to Captain Boomerang, who convinced him that the explosive bracelets they were all wearing were just for show. They weren’t. It turns out being a master at tying knots is tough with just one arm.
El Diablo (aka Chato Santana)
Played by: Jay Hernandez
First appearance: “El Diablo” Vol. 3 No. 1, Sepember 2008
There are multiple characters in the DC universe with the “El Diablo” moniker. According to Comic Vine, this one was a Los Angeles gang leader who acquired pyrokinetic abilities after a run-in with the original El Diablo, Lazarus Lane. In a fit of rage, he burned down a building full of rival gang members, only to find that there were children inside, causing Santana to turn himself over to the police.
Played by: Jared Leto
First appearance: “Batman” No. 1, April 1940
The Joker is, unquestionably, one of the greatest comic book foes ever created.
According to DC Database, over the years, the Joker has messed with Batman in some pretty unfunny ways, including when he famously murdered Batman’s number two Robin, Jason Todd, by beating him with a crowbar and then blowing him up. (Based on the Robin costume briefly glimpsed in “Batman v Superman,” some version of that storyline is likely to work its way into the DC Extended Universe.) He also shot Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon (Commissioner Gordon’s daughter) in the stomach, leaving her paralyzed in Alan Moore’s controversial “The Killing Joke.”
Even more recently, though, his antics took another gruesome turn, according to dorkly.com, as he sliced his own face off and left it behind as a souvenir for Batman, proving — in case there was any doubt — that nobody does crazy like the Clown Prince of Crime.
Jeff Peterson is a native of Utah Valley and studied humanities and history at Brigham Young University. Along with the Deseret News, he also contributes to the film discussion website TheMovieScrutineer.com.