Following a disastrous mission in which good soldiers died in order to protect American interests, the Suicide Squad was formed. The brainchild of Amanda Waller, the Suicide Squad was created as a covert government-operated force consisting primarily of convicted criminals. This team was conceived as a way for the government to carry out black ops missions while allowing the government a degree of plausible deniability, as well as a way of performing missions with expendable agents.
The original Suicide Squad was created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru and first appeared in The Brave and the Bold issue 25 (1959) consisting of a team of replacement-heroes.
The modern-time and most well-known version of the Suicide Squad was created by John Ostrander with the help of Len Wein and John Byrne and first appeared in Legends issue 3 (1987) in which the team consisted of a group of supervillains.
In its earliest appearances, the Suicide Squad was a team of heroes conceived as a replacement Justice Society of America after that group retired and went underground. This version of the team consisted of Rick Flag, Jr., Jess Bright, Dr Hugh Evans and Karin Grace.
Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Suicide Squad was significantly overhauled, becoming a team of villains who were roped into performing black ops missions for the government. In-universe, this team was described as building on the legacy of the heroic Silver Age Squad, as well as the war-time Suicide Squadron, a group composed of insubordinate or criminal soldiers who were sent on difficult missions. The team was reconstituted by Amanda Waller. The initial version of the team consisted of Rick Flag, Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Enchantress, Blockbuster and Captain Boomerang. The team underwent constant changes in line-up, with some members remaining for multiple missions while others stayed on for one mission only. Most members were criminals, but some non-criminals joined the team for various reasons.
Following Flashpoint, the team maintained its black ops status, but became a team that was in the process of forming. In-universe, there were no previous iterations of the Suicide Squad in any form. The initial members of this version of the team were Deadshot, Harley Quinn, El Diablo, Black Spider, Voltaic and King Shark. Similar to previous iterations, the team has undergone repeated roster changes, primarily due to the high mortality rate associated with Squad membership. The team received new governmentally-mandated oversight in the form of Vic Sage, while Waller has been added to the mission team.
Recently, the Squad's history was recently rewritten. Before the current Suicide Squad existed, Waller assembled an extremely powerful and dangerous group as the original Squad. The original lineup consisted of Emerald Empress, Rustam, Dr. Polaris, Johnny Sorrow, Cyclotron, and Lobo. Instead of forcing their cooperation, Amanda got them to work with her by offering them anything reward they wanted. However their first and only mission was a complete disaster, leaving Cyclotron dead and the rest comatose. Waller realized that while the idea of the Squad was viable, this group was too dangerous to use, so she had them locked up in a black site. Deciding to start from scratch, she assembled a new team consisting of Deadshot, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn, and Enchantress. Katana, despite not being a convict, volunteered to join and became second in command. Rick Flag traded a cell in Guantanamo Bay for a position as field commander of the Squad, with the latest addition to the squad being Killer Frost.
Major Story Arcs
The Suicide Squad is activated after a ban on superheroics is enacted following a number of high profile incidents. This new villain team is mobilized by Amanda Waller, who directs them to destroy Brimstone, a fire elemental that has been sent to Earth by Darkseid to wreak havoc. Brimstone kills Blockbuster just before the team destroys him.
Baptism of Fire
The Squad is directed against the Jihad, a terrorist team based in Qurac. They infiltrate the Jihad's base, Jotunheim, and defeat the Jihad, killing most members of the team.
Mission to Moscow
Sent to Russia at the behest of Derek Tolliver, the Squad is instructed to rescue a writer who is being held in prison there. They manage to rescue the woman, but she indicates a desire to remain in Russia and be a martyr for her cause. They bring her with them despite her objections, but are prevented from leaving by the intervention of the People's Heroes. The writer dies in the crossfire, and Squad member Nemesis is captured. The Squad briefly gets into a confrontation with the Justice League International, but later join forces to rescue Nemesis.
Rogues and Final Round
The Squad comes under threat from the machinations of Senator Cray, who is blackmailing Waller in order to ensure his reelection, and Tolliver, who conspires with Cray and aims to take Waller's job. In response, and unaware of the steps already being taken by Waller to deal with the threat, Flag murders Tolliver and goes after Cray. He is prevented from killing Cray by the remainder of the Squad, who have been sent to stop him. Cray is instead killed by Deadshot. As a result of Tolliver's murder, and more specifically the note about them he had left behind, the Squad's existence is made public. Control of the Squad is apparently taken from Waller and given to a man named Jack Kale, who is revealed to be an actor working for Waller. The team masquerades for a time as a heroic organization.
The Janus Directive
The Squad begins to come into conflict with various other agencies as a result of the "Janus Directive", a mysterious agenda apparently orchestrated by Waller. This escalates into a war between agencies, causing numerous deaths between the Squad, Checkmate and Project Atom. It is eventually revealed that Waller's agenda was a device to trick Kobra, who had attempted to kill and replace her. As a result of the war, Task Force X was dissolved, leaving the Squad and Checkmate to operate independently under the control of Sarge Steel, while Waller was censured for her behaviour. Later, she is taken into custody for her continued reluctance to submit to higher authorities and her involvement in an assassination scheme.
The Phoenix Gambit
A year after her initial imprisonment, Waller is released to reconstruct the Squad, which has fallen apart in her absence. The newly-reformed Squad is directed to Vlatava, where they must defuse the growing tensions between the Americans and Soviets there. Successfully carrying out their mission, the Squad's ties to the government are largely severed, and they become an independent mercenary group under the control of Waller.
Serpent of Chaos
The Squad travels to Jerusalem in the hopes of capturing Kobra, who has already been taken into custody by the Israeli superteam Hayoth. The team eventually discovers that Kobra allowed himself to be captured, so that he could use the Hayoth member Dybbuk to start another world war. They are able to prevent this from occurring.
Rumble in the Jungle
Learning of a team of bodyguards to a man named Guedhe also calling themselves "The Suicide Squad", the team travels to the island of Diabloverde to depose Guedhe, the island's dictator. On the island, the team passes through a jungle where most of them face their personal demons. Managing to survive the jungle mostly intact, they attack and defeat the false Squad, and Waller is able to kill the dictator. Following the mission, the team is disbanded. Various incarnations of the team occasionally reunite briefly, but only for short periods of time.
The Squad is reformed by Sgt. Rock. They carry out various dangerous missions under Rock, culminating in a confrontation with Onslaught. Initially defeated by Onslaught, and losing several members who are capture or killed, the Squad is able to strike back with the assistance of the Justice Society. Rock is revealed to have been an impostor.
A version of the Squad is assembled by Waller, who directs them against the Black Marvels. This incarnation of the team dissolves soon after they are able to acquire the evidence that the Black Marvels are dangerous.
One Year Later
A rogue villain-directed incarnation of the Squad springs up, and makes it its mission to expose Waller's covert operations. She directs Bronze Tiger and Rick Flag against this incarnation.
Raise the Flag
A newly-reformed Squad is directed to destroy a viral weapon and assassinate the heads of the company that is producing it. They suffer an internal conflict that leads to numerous casualties and seriously endangers the mission. Deadshot is able to carry out the assassinations despite this turmoil.
Members of the Squad are involved in rounding up villains who are then sent to the planet Salvation. Three members of the team, Bane, Chemo and Deadshot, are later betrayed and also abandoned on Salvation.
The Squad has been publicly disbanded, and is covertly running a months-long investigation into the dealings of the Crime Doctor. Their work is inadvertently destroyed by Manhunter.
During the Blackest Night, numerous deceased members of the Squad are resurrected. They attack the current incarnation of the Squad, who are presently embroiled in a conflict with the Secret Six. The two groups cease their conflict to take on the Black Lanterns.
Kicked in the Teeth
The Squad is formed for the first time. They are directed by Waller, who sends them to a stadium where a mysterious virus is rampaging, transforming all the patrons into mutated robot zombies. The team is able to escape with only one casualty, but are unable to be extracted, and are left to care for a baby (the safety of whom is the mission at hand) while they await rescue. When they are finally recovered by Waller's agents, they are informed that they must remain in the field, and become embroiled in a conflict with the super-villain/terrorist cell called Basilisk. Following their return to prison, the team becomes involved in preventing a riot caused by the escaping Harley Quinn. Managing to do so, they are then sent to capture and return Harley Quinn. They are able to track her down and recapture her in Gotham, a mission during which the team suffers yet another casualty.
During the events of Forever Evil, a number of original team members are called together by Waller, who promises them money in exchange for working against the Crime Syndicate and their Secret Society. She sends a team of original members and a separate team of new members after a secret weapon which turns out to be OMAC. Unbeknownst to either team, the Thinker is manipulating both against the other. Despite several setbacks, the team is able to defeat OMAC.
New Suicide Squad
Amanda Waller is removed as head of ARGUS, and the Squad is placed under the control of Vic Sage, who brings several new members onto the team in an effort to make them more successful. This effort fails, but the team continues to perform missions more or less successfully. During this time Sage stages a gradual takeover of Waller's duties, ultimately forcing her out into the field with the Squad, and plotting to reveal their existence to the world. She takes the team dark, and they begin to work against Sage. Waller is able to outmaneuver Sage and eliminate hie threat to the team, and the Squad returns to Belle Reve and the status quo.
Suicide Squad: Rebirth
Before the end of his second term, Barack Obama finds out about the existence of the Squad. When meeting Amanda Waller is the Oval Office, he declares that the Suicide Squad is officially done. Upset at the idea of super-criminals operating on behalf of American interests, around the world, under the supervision of an unelected official, claiming it to be a betrayal of American ideals and a bomb set blow in their faces if it gets out. However Waller argues that Task Force X is needed to do the bad things that need to be done to keep America safe and the people, the president, and the Justice League can't know about. President Obama decides that if the Squad is to remain active, they need someone on the team to represent the American people. Waller already planned to put Rick Flag on the team to properly lead the group and provide some morality.
Later, the Deadshot, Harley, and Boomerang are sent on a mission to exfiltrate a scientist named Mark Ljungberg and his creation, a meta-bomb that can temporarily give and take away superpowers, from the base of an army of Mongolian criminals operating out of the fringes of China. They manage to get to Ljungberg, but are pinned down by the army on the way out. They manage to hold their ground, until one of the metas decks the trio and grabs Ljungberg. In response, Digger tosses a razor boomerang to cut his arms off so they can retrieve the bomb. Unable to save Ljungberg, Deadshot is ordered to end him, which he does. Still pinned by the army of metas, the team is ordered to detonate the meta-bomb to deactivate all of the metas' powers and even the odds. Once the bomb is detonated, Flag appears from the shadows, having been the one giving orders. He then rallies everyone, and the Squad fights their way out.
The New Frontier
The Squad appears briefly in much the same capacity as they occupy in the main universe. Hal Jordan is recruited to join the team. All members of the team, save Jordan, die in the explosion of a manned flight to Mars.
Batman: Assault on Arkham
The team are the focus of this film, in which Squad members are tasked with breaking into Arkham Asylum to recover sensitive material that has been stolen by the Riddler. Team members are Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost, King Shark and Black Spider.
The Suicide Squad are the subject of this film. Team members are Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Rick Flag, Katana, Captain Boomerang, Enchantress, Killer Croc, El Diablo and Slipknot.
Justice League Unlimited
The Squad appears as the main focus of the Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X." The team goes by this name throughout the episode due to the potential sensitivity of the word "suicide." Team members who appear are Rick Flag, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Plastique and Clock King.
The Suicide Squad is first referenced in the season nine episode "Absolute Justice," and later appears in season ten. Team members who appear include Rick Flag, Deadshot, Plastique and Warp.
The Suicide Squad and its members appear as occasional antagonists or supporting characters in this show, making their first appearance in "Suicide Squad." Team members who appear are Deadshot, Shrapnel, Bronze Tiger, Lyla Michaels and Cupid.
DC Universe Online
Hero and villain players may be recruited into Task Force X as part of this game.
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
The New 52 iteration of the team, referred to as "The Squad" throughout, appears as downloadable content in this game.