Following a 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 lineup consisted of Emerald Empress, Rustam, Dr. Polaris, Johnny Sorrow, Cyclotron and Lobo, whose cooperation was solicited by offering rewards. Following their disastrous first mission this version of the team was imprisoned in a black site. The new version of the team, consisting of Deadshot, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn, Enchantress, Katana and Rick Flag was created, with each criminal member induced to participate through the use of implanted bombs.
The original Suicide Squad was created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, making their first appearance in The Brave and the Bold #25. The modern, villainous version of the team was created by John Ostrander, Len Wein and John Byrne, making their first appearance in Legends #3.
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 was added to the mission team.
Following Rebirth, the Squad's history was retconned to include the original failed team. Team membership remains variable, with original team rosters tweaked from previous incarnations.
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.
The Black Vault
The Squad is sent to Russia where they invade a military installation in order to locate the mysterious Black Vault. Finding it to be a doorway into the Phantom Zone, the team is attacked by General Zod, and soon after by the Russian Annihilation Brigade. Despite the apparent death of Boomerang, the team is able to subdue Zod and escape, taking the Black Vault with them.
Driven increasingly insane by the influence of the Black Vault in Belle Reve, members of the Squad begin to turn on one another, as do staff and the general prison population. Several Squad members who are able to resist the Vault's influence attack and defeat the revived Zod, returning Boomerang to life and restoring order in Belle Reve.
Justice League vs Suicide Squad
The Squad is drawn into a conflict with the Justice League, but soon join forces with them to defeat the original Squad, rescued from their imprisonment by Maxwell Lord. When Lord takes possession of the Heart of Darkness he eclipses most of the League, but leaves the Squad free. They are able to mount a resistance and, through the efforts of Killer Frost, expel Eclipso from Lord and free the world from his power.
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.
- Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay - A sequel was released in 2018, with new members like Bronze Tiger and Copperhead. The plot sees Waller sending the team on a mission to retrieve the mystical Get Out of Hell Free Card, resulting in them having to face enemies like Vandal Savage and Reverse-Flash.
- Justice League Dark: Apokolips War - The Suicide Squad returns in the final film of the animated New 52 timeline. After Darkseid defeats the Justice League and conquers Earth, Lois Lane recruits Harley Quinn to lead a new Suicide Squad consisting of Captain Boomerang, Black Manta, King Shark, Bane and Lex Luthor for one final mission. True to their name, the Suicide Squad perishes while defending the Boom Tube used to get the heroes to Apokolips.
In 2016, Warner Brothers released a live-action Suicide Squad movie, primarily based off the New 52 incarnation of the team. Written and directed by David Ayer, the film starred Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag Jr., Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Adam Beach as Slipknot, Jared Leto as the Joker and Ben Affleck as Batman. Taking place after the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the film sees Amanda Waller assemble the Suicide Squad as a way of dealing with Superman-level threats. During a mission to Midway City, the Squad must defeat Enchantress after she goes rogue and tries to destroy the world.
The film was heavily panned by critics, with most reviews citing the ridiculous plot, bad editing, flat characters and cliched dialogue as major problems. It later came out that the film had been heavily reshot and edited to make it more lighthearted and family friendly due to the negative response Batman v Superman received from critics and audiences, explaining at least some of the problems. Despite the poor reputation of the movie, it was a major hit at the box office, and both Will Smith and Margot Robbie were praised. A spin-off movie starring Margot Robbie called Birds of Prey was later released in 2020.
The Suicide Squad
A second movie, The Suicide Squad, was announced for a 2021 release date. The new movie was written and directed by James Gunn (known for the Guardians of the Galaxy movies) rather than Ayer. Gunn has claimed that unlike the first movie, which was heavily influenced by the New 52, the new film will be more closely based on the original John Ostrander/Kim Yale comics from the 1980s. The film's plot sees Amanda Waller assemble a new Task Force X roster for a dangerous mission to a South American island nation ruled by a ruthless dictator.
In addition to returning actors Viola Davis, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney and Joel Kinnaman, the new film's cast will feature Idris Elba as Bloodsport (replacing Deadshot due to Will Smith not being involved), John Cena as the Peacemaker, Peter Capaldi as the Thinker, Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher II, Michael Rooker as Savant, Flula Borg as Javelin, David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, Mayling Ng as Mongal, Nathan Fillion as T.D.K., Pete Davidson as Blackguard, Sean Gunn as Weasel, Steve Agee as John Economos, Tinashe Kajese as Flo Crowley, Jennifer Holland as Emilia Harcourt, Alice Braga as Sol Soria and Juan Diego Botto as Silvio Luna.
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 team is sent by Amanda Waller to infiltrate the Justice League Satellite and disable the laser weapon inside.
The Suicide Squad is first referenced in the Smallville 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 Arrow, making their first appearance in "Suicide Squad." Team members who appear are Deadshot, Shrapnel, Bronze Tiger, Lyla Michaels and Cupid.
The Suicide Squad appears in the Young Justice: Outsiders episode "Leverage." The roster seen consists of Black Manta, Captain Boomerang and Monsieur Mallah, with Amanda Waller covertly running the group while John Economos acts as the puppet warden of Belle Reve. The group is sent by Waller to sabotage the Rocket Red Brigade in Russia, with Waller hoping to eliminate the Rocket Reds and steal their technology. During the course of the operation, the Suicide Squad members encounter the Team, who are also there to spy on the Rocket Reds. The heroes wind up teaming with the Rocket Reds to defeat the Squad, and the villains are subsequently sent back to Belle Reve. However, when confronted by Aquaman, Waller threatens to expose the Justice League's own covert actions if the Suicide Squad's existence is made public.
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.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
In 2020, it was revealed at the DC Fandome event that Rocksteady Studios (makers of the popular and critically-acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum, Arkham City and Arkham Knight games) were working on a Suicide Squad video game. A trailer was shown off, revealing that the game will star Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang and King Shark as the central characters. Additionally, the members of the Justice League will appear as enemies.