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Comic Book / Suicide Squad

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A team of expendable and deniable criminals and damaged heroes in The DCU who are sent on secret missions for the US government expected to have a very high mortality rate.

The first Suicide Squad printed was a try-out feature in The Brave and the Bold, starting in #25 (August-September, 1959) and appearing on and off up to #39 (December, 1961-January, 1962). They were a quartet of non-powered adventurers who fought monstrous menaces, as was common in the 1950s. Despite the name, none of them actually died in the original stories. In fact, in concept they were closer to Jack Kirby's Challengers of the Unknown.

There was also a World War II team called the Suicide Squad, or possibly two of them. One was a feature in Star-Spangled War Stories from 1963-1966 fighting "The War That Time Forgot"; it was a top secret Ranger outfit trained to handle missions ordinary volunteers would not survive. The other was a Dirty Dozen-style collection of military riff-raff and criminals assembled to handle Suicide Missions. It was retconned into existence to provide a through line from the World War Two version, through the Fifties version to the new Suicide Squad debuting in the 1980s.

The modern version debuted in Legends #3 (January, 1987). In that Crisis Crossover event, Darkseid had manipulated events such that superheroes were unable to operate in public. So when the nuclear menace Brimstone appeared, the job of stopping it was handed over to Task Force X, a secret government agency dedicated to handling paranormal menaces that had languished since the beginning of the modern superhero boom. The agency deployed their newly created "Suicide Squad" team, which succeeded in destroying Brimstone, at the cost of the first Blockbuster's life.

The team was then spun off into their own series, Suicide Squad, starting in May, 1987 and was written by John Ostrander. The premise was that of a covert ops team that would handle situations too shady or bloody for the government to call regular superheroes in on. Most of the operatives were costumed criminals who served in exchange for reduced jail terms, shepherded by a few dark or damaged heroes. For easy access to their personnel, the team operated out of Belle Reve prison in Louisiana.

The head of the Suicide Squad was a character almost unique in super-hero comics, Amanda Waller. She was a middle-aged, full-figured black woman who'd clawed her way out of poverty to become a well-respected political operative. Ms. Waller was also a rare female Magnificent Bastard who would stop at nothing to act in the interests of the United States as she saw them. (Later appearances in other series have tended to leave off the "magnificent" part.)

The field leader for the first part of the series was Rick Flag, Jr. A Badass Normal special forces officer, he was (supposedly) the Sole Survivor of the previous Suicide Squad incarnation. Ultimately got killed off and replaced by his second in command Bronze Tiger, a martial artist who'd become The Atoner after serving the League of Assassins while Brainwashed and Crazy.

    Other important personnel 
  • Captain Boomerang, depicted as the dirty coward's Dirty Coward. Master of the Precision-Guided Boomerang, he had joined the team largely to get that shortened prison sentence, but his stay on the team kept getting extended because of his cowardice, constant engagement in criminal activities while on leave from the team, and disdain for Amanda Waller.
  • Count Vertigo, an inbred noble with a Disability Superpower. The device used to correct his inner-ear problem allowed him to project nausea and loss of balance to others. At the time he was a member of the Suicide Squad, Vertigo suffered from manic-depressive behavior, and was something of a Death Seeker.
  • Deadshot, a badass Death Seeker, who (almost) never misses with a gun. The Ensemble Dark Horse of the series, Deadshot got his own spin-off miniseries during the course of the book's run, as the series moved the villain into full-blown '90s Anti-Hero mode.
  • Duchess, a mysterious woman with a warrior mentality and Laser-Guided Amnesia. The amnesia wore off (though she didn't let on for a while), and Duchess was eventually revealed to be Lashina, one of Darkseid's minions who was betrayed by her fellow Female Fury member.
  • Enchantress, aka June Moone, who had a Superpowered Evil Side with strong magical abilities. Once activated, she would quickly become as much a menace to the team as to their opponents.
  • Nemesis, a Master of Disguise who did a lot of advance work for the team.
  • Nightshade, a Half-Human Hybrid with darkness-related powers and the ability to effectively teleport by moving herself and others through another dimension.
  • Oracle, a.k.a. Barbara Gordon, who'd reinvented herself after her crippling at the hands of the Joker to become a computer whiz.
  • Ravan, a Thugee (though his version of the religion was clearly stated as non-standard) and former member of the Jihad, the Suicide Squad's archenemies. He served very unwillingly, but liked the killing part.
  • Vixen, a then-former member of the Justice League with animal-related powers, who joined up after drug dealers killed everyone else at a modeling shoot.
  • Shade, the Changing Man, a former fugitive from his home dimension and stranded on Earth. He did missions and tech support for the squad in exhange for help getting home. Then the Vertigo reboot happened, which meant this Shade was effectively banished to Comicbook Limbo for better or worse.
  • Black Orchid, who did various espionage and rescue missions for the team. For her entire run in the series, her origin was a complete and total mystery, and was only revealed after she left the book and got her very own miniseries. Whereupon she was Killed Off for Real in the first issue and was replaced with someone completely different. Oops.
  • The Atom. No, not that Atom. Or that one. Or even the new one. No, this Atom was Adam Cray, son of Senator Michael Cray. The same Senator Deadshot killed. He became the new Atom on the behest of the second one, Ray Palmer, as part of a plot to unveil a group of miniature assassins that were gunning for him. After this, he stayed on with the Squad for a while until his untimely death, which the original Atom swore to avenge. (Which he did.)
  • Poison Ivy. Yes, that Poison Ivy. Ivy was first associated with the team when she drugged Vertigo and tried to make him her own personal plaything. This didn't last long, but it did lead to Ivy sticking with the team for a while, right up until the original series came to an end.
  • Briscoe & Sheeba: Briscoe was a military pilot who often provided air support for the squad in his personal helicopter, Sheeba. Sheeba was named after Briscoe's dead child and he cared for like it was his child, even sleeping in it rather than his own quarters. None of this stopped him from being a total badass, and he and Sheeba saved the Squad's bacon on many an occasion.

Eventually, the Suicide Squad's existence was revealed to the public and later the operation was shut down and Amanda Waller sent to prison for crimes committed while head of the team. She was later offered a pardon in exchange for performing services for the government (the poetic justice of this did not escape anyone) and the Suicide Squad was reformed as a private contractor, though still with the ability to recruit convicted criminals as needed. The series ended with issue #66 (June, 1992).

There were various incarnations of the Squad appearing in other titles for a few years, then a new Suicide Squad series began in 2001. Written by Keith Giffen, this version was headed by Frank ("Sergeant") Rock, and lasted only twelve issues. The series ended on the cliffhanger that Rock may have been an impostor, and leaving open the question of just who that version of the Squad had actually worked for.

The Squad was subsequently reformed under Amanda Waller's leadership, appearing in 52, Checkmate and the limited series Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag, which brought back Rick Flagg Jr. as a brainwashed pawn of General Eiling.

A new series launched in 2011 as part of the line-wide revamp of The DCU. The series, initially written by Adam Glass and drawn by Marco Rudy, starred redesigned versions of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and King Shark, among others, and ran for 30 issues plus an issue #0. It was relaunched almost immediately as New Suicide Squad, with Sean Ryan as initial writer, lasting 22 issues plus a Futures End tie-in. It then got relaunched again as part of DC Rebirth in 2016, returning to simply Suicide Squad, with Rob Williams as writer. The series also saw numerous spinoff one-shots and limited series.

The DC Suicide Squad has appeared in other media:

  • Justice League Unlimited, a well-regarded adaptation set in the DC Animated Universe, featured the group in an episode titled under its official name of Task Force X, as "suicide squad" was considered off limits for the young audience. Therein the team consisted of Rick Flagg, Deadshot, Plastique, Captain Boomerang, and Clock King, working under the purview of Amanda Waller, voiced by C.C.H. Pounder.
  • The tenth season of Smallville, with a lineup of Rick Flag, Deadshot, Plastique, and Warp, with Amanda Waller played by Pam Grier.
  • In the superhero MMO DC Universe Online, it's possible for both Hero and Villain players to find themselves recruited into the Suicide Squad by Amanda Waller, though it only causes some players to find themselves working for their opposing faction during certain Instances.
  • Arrow features the squad and Waller, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson, and combined the origins of the team with the originally separate organization of ARGUS, which becomes a stand-by black ops organization utilized in the show, as cast member John Diggle does jobs for them in exchange for information and resources. The squad itself varies over the different appearances, with members including John Diggle, Lyla Michaels, Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Shrapnel, Cupid and a cameo from Harley Quinn. Oliver Queen himself worked with Waller in a manner that could be considered a predecessor to the squad.
  • Batman: Assault on Arkham focuses primarily on a Suicide Squad mission, with Batman making limited appearances. As the name implies, overlaps with the Batman: Arkham Series of video games.
  • DC Extended Universe:
  • Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay: An entry in the list of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Released in 2018. Features a team consisting of Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn, Crystal Frost, Copperhead, and Bronze Tiger.
  • My Adventures with Superman: Amanda Waller and Task Force X are confirmed to make an appearance in the show’s first season.
  • Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League: From Rocksteady, the creators of the Batman: Arkham Series, it is set in the same universe as the Arkham games. Featuring Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang and King Shark, there will be Co-Op Multiplayer for all four characters. The game was planned to release in 2022, but then it was delayed to 2023 and then 2024. The game will also feature Kevin Conroy's posthumous final perfomance as Batman before his untimely passing in 2022.
  • Suicide Squad Isekai: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. An Isekai anime series produced by Wit Studio, directed by Eri Osada and co-written by Tappei Nagatsuki (Re:Zero) and Eiji Umehara (Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song). Plot details are scarce, though the announcement teaser confirms the presence of Harley Quinn, Joker, Amanda Waller, and a medieval fantasy world. A teaser trailer from a reveal stream confirms more characters in the squad consisting of Deadshot, Peacemaker, Clayface and King Shark. The exact release date is unknown, but it is set to release in 2024.
Not related to Monty Python's Life of Brian's Seppuku squad.

This comicbook series provides examples of the following:

  • Aborted Arc: At one point, it’s brought up that Black Orchid has been sneaking into the team’s command center after hours in order to view their computer databanks. Why exactly she’s doing this is never made clear, and even though Waller talks about wanting to get to the bottom of whatever Orchid is up to, nothing ever really comes of it. The fact that the character was Killed Off for Real in Neil Gaiman's Black Orchid mini-series likely contributed to this plot point being dropped, while in the pages of Suicide Squad, Warden Economos simply says that she's vanished and nobody knows where she went.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the New 52 reboot, the heavyset Amanda Waller becomes much slimmer, younger, and more conventionally attractive. Later issues have toned down her attractiveness, making her more of a traditional Black Boss Lady than a supermodel, but still slimmer and younger than the original.
  • Adaptational Slimness: Amanda Waller, famously nicknamed "The Wall" because of her weight and strong force of personality, is redesigned with a much skinnier appearance than she ever had.
  • Aesop Amnesia: The final issue of the original series has Waller, having seen countless deaths and disasters, shutting down the Squad, stating "it's been flawed from day one, I've just been too stubborn to admit it." Three years later, the Squad is revived, Waller back in charge and continuing to insist it's needed.
  • Affirmative-Action Legacy: Both Jaculi and the Djinn of Jihad are replaced by women — a new Jaculi and Ifrit (who was formerly Mindboggler).
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • Subverted with Deadshot; his therapist Marnie Herrs falls for him (and he's clearly not indifferent to her), but when she realizes that he's not interested in fixing his damage, and that Waller won't support her in trying, she sensibly walks out.
    • Played straight with Waller's niece, Flo, a filing clerk who has a thing for reformed Psycho for Hire Bronze Tiger. Tiger's hooked up with supermodel superhero Vixen. To impress him, Flo decides to go on to field duty for just one mission, which leads us directly to an entirely different trope.
  • Alliterative Title: Suicide Squad.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Vixen is the All Animal Abilities type. Raven and Bronze Tiger, Black Spider, and the Penguin are the Animal Alias types. King Shark is the Animal Abilities type.
  • Anyone Can Die: Whether by Waller's hand, or during a mission, anyone in the group is at risk of dying.
    • Lampshaded in one early arc where everyone comes home alive, prompting even the callous and selfish Captain Boomerang to smile at the thought. Then the squad finds out they were on a decoy milk run, and the real job ended a failure with ten dead and one survivor, the bulk of the damage being infighting.
    Boomerang: Strewth, that's a bit thick, innit, even by Squad standards!
    • Another run took the team to fight Darkseid. Any other comic would have had perhaps a token death. The Squad loses several long-time members, including supporting cast.
  • Artifact Domination: The Thinker helmet. It has no will of its own, but it's suggested it amplifies the negative aspects of the personality of the wearer. Combined with the massive intellect boost, most people are likely to get very easily hooked. Amanda herself, not the most shining example of morality, wore it briefly to locate the second Thinker and began developing the addiction, and proposed using it as a piece of her personal arsenal. However, she was broken out of it by her old friend, former Belle Reve psychiatrist Simon LaGrieve, who asked whether he was speaking to Amanda... or to the helmet. She was so pissed at being manipulated by a non-sentient thing, she shatters the helmet, screaming SHE'S in charge. She very briefly regrets doing so.
    Amanda Waller: I AM IN CHARGE HERE!
  • As You Know: At the beginning of the "Firebird" story arc, the Penguin starts presenting his mission plan by explaining what the mission is, which the reader doesn't know yet but the characters he's talking to do. Lampshaded; Waller tells him to hurry up and tell her something she doesn't know already.
  • Ascended Extra: The series was well known for this with its few surviving members.
    • Deadshot was originally a rarely used and barely remembered gimmick villain who fought Batman; this series fleshed him out and gave him a lot more exposure.
    • Captain Boomerang was originally a rarely used and barely remembered gimmick villain for the Flash; after being a major character in this series he was established as the most famous and visible member of the Rogues.
    • Barbara Gordon, by the time of her appearance in the original ongoing, had been shot and paralyzed by the Joker and was at risk of being forgotten. Instead, Ostrander and company reinvented her as Oracle, the foremost computer expert in the superhero community, which she stayed as until the New 52 reboot.
  • Assassin Outclassin': In the New 52's iteration, this is how Deadshot was sent to Belle Reve Prison. He was supposed to assassinate a senator in Gotham, but was thwarted by Batman, causing Deadshot his first career miss.
  • The Atoner: El Diablo, ever since he assaulted the base of a gang that refused to pay him homage — and accidentally killed the bangers' innocent girlfriends and children he didn't know were inside. He didn't resist when the police came, and ever since has devoted himself to God for forgiveness.
  • Ax-Crazy: Several people, but Deadshot wins here. An early mission involved a rogue squad agent attempting to assassinate a senator blackmailing the squad. Deadshot's orders are to prevent the rogue agent from killing the senator, by any means necessary. Deadshot kills the senator, and is genuinely surprised when he's later rebuked. Afterwards, Deadshot's surrounded by armed police who demands he throw down his weapons. He agrees, stating "bullets first", trying to gun down as many cops as he can before he goes, too.
  • Awesome Aussie: Captain Boomerang is one of the most thorough Deconstructions of this trope imaginable.
  • Bad Habits: In one story, the Penguin is disguised as a Russian Orthodox priest while undercover on a mission in Russia.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Deadshot, after William Telling Captain Boomerang, says it was an easy shot. So easy, in fact, he did so with his eyes closed. Flipping back the pages reveals he really did just that.
    • Later in the series, Bronze Tiger is forced to recruit squad members from Arkham Asylum, including the finally-diagnosed Ax-Crazy Deadshot. Deadshot refuses to fall to the bait, knowing he'd survive any mission he'd go on, and attempting to provoke Tiger into killing him. Tiger responds by threatening to break Deadshot's hands in such a way he'd never hold a gun again, and instantly Deadshot falls into compliance.
    • Captain Cold gets a quotable one during his brief stint on the team:
      Hate is cold! Hell is cold! And sucker, I am Captain Cold!
  • Badass Normal:
    • Rick Flag.
    • Amanda Waller, to the point where she's nicknamed "the Wall", and even her nominal allies and friends can't predict her. Waller gets points for being one of the few people who fans celebrate as being able to stare down BATMAN, and who once tried to shoot Darkseid.
    • Ben Turner aka The Bronze Tiger one of the few men to take down Batman in one on one combat.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Boomerang trying to lure out William Hell.
    Boomerang: I, Captain Boomerang, am glad I've returned to Central City. With my old nemesis, the Flash, no longer here, I am free to use me trick boomerangs and amazing skills to knock over this bleedin' armored car!
    Bronze Tiger: Who writes your dialogue, man?
  • Batman Gambit: Unsurprisingly, Bats is not a fan of the squad, and infiltrates their headquarters seeking evidence needed to shut them down. He finds it, despite everyone looking in the wrong place. And then Amanda Waller stares him down, revealing she's got his fingerprints, since he didn't wear gloves in his disguise.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Played with. Apparently, Control, a one-time nemesis of the Squad, arranged a second Nedelin Catastrophe in retaliation for JFK's death.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Invoked by one of the Limelight Twins after Savant and Deadshot exchange harsh words: "Ugh, you two should kiss already."
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Manticore
  • BFG: Duchess is fond of these.
  • Bilingual Bonus: El Diablo speaks Spanish when stressed, surprised, or while praying.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Black ops supervillains on an Explosive Leash. Sunshine and rainbows this comic ain't.
  • Black Comedy: Common in most iterations of the team, but taken up to eleven in the Keith Giffen run, which is often considered to be the villainous counterpart to his work on Justice League International.
  • Black Helicopter: Sheba
  • Blackmail Backfire: Holding Cray at gunpoint, Flag points out just how stupid an idea it was to try and blackmail a team of super-villains.
    Flag: When you set out to blackmail the Squad, Senator, didn't you realize you were trying to coerce thugs and killers? Ruthless people. Didn't it ever occur to you that the easiest way of dealing with you was to kill you?
  • Blinded by the Light: The second Rustam does this to Deadshot in the Raise the Flag mini, igniting his flaming sword right in his face when he had thermal vision on.
    • Harley Quinn also does it to Deadshot in #7 of the reboot series. She kills the lights, waits for him to turn on his lowlight scope and then ignites a magnesium flare.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: A few of the loonier or more inhuman members edge into this territory, such as Shrike, Stalnoivolk, and (in some incarnations) King Shark.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Stalnoivolk is last seen in mid-battle against considerable odds, still trying to get home.
  • Boomerang Comeback: Captain Boomerang does it to Jaculi of the Jihad in the second issue. Surprisingly badass.
  • Boxed Crook: The criminals were offered shorter sentences in exchange for their services—the "stick" was an explosive bracelet that would go off if the wearer got too far out of line. The series itself shows this is a bad idea, and the original offer was sentence commuted outright. Captain Boomerang screws it for everyone.
  • Brainwash Residue:
    • The reason why Bronze Tiger always declines to lead the Squad; he's afraid the brainwashing he received at the hands of the League of Assassins could kick in any time.
    • Rick Flag consults him on how to avert this in Raise the Flag.
  • Breaking Speech:
    • Kobra uses this on the Hayoth's AI member Dybbuk to convince him he has to prove to everyone he isn't a puppet made by some programmers, and gives him a couple of ideas...
    • In a subtler example, Ravan utterly deconstructs Bronze Tiger's Then Let Me Be Evil facade during the same arc.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Red Wave Beast, a Silver Age monster defeated by the first Suicide Squad in the fifties, is back to bedevil the new team.
    • The 2021 series brings back Match, a decade and multiple reboots after his last appearance.
  • Can't Default to Murder: Conner Kent is forced onto the Squad by Amanda Waller. Though he is forced to go along with and help this team of violent psychopaths and bloodthirsty vigilantes, he steadfastly holds to his mentor's ideals by refusing to let his teammates kill anyone. This makes him the most despised member of the team, with Nocturna stating how much she hates him and Peacemaker punching him out while he's under the effects of kryptonite.
  • The Cape: A recurring problem for the Squad. Not only were most of their members supposed to be in prison, but the missions were often shady at best—not something you want a law-abiding hero to know about.
  • Cardboard Prison:
    • The official cover story during the early part of the series was that any operative seen in public had somehow escaped from Belle Reve, and coincidentally happened to deal with the emergency situation.
    • Waller has no issues with being put on trial and going to jail, because she knows the second the government needs her, she'll be out - and she never spends much time waiting.
  • Character’s Most Hated Song: In King Shark's 2021 series, the titular character goes into a feral rage whenever he hears the children's song "Little Shark". His friend Defacer assumes it's because the song is "racist" to sharks, but a flashback later on reveals it's actually because it was the song that was playing on the radio when Amanda Waller took him away from his family.
  • Chessmaster:
    • Amanda Waller.
    • The General, which is why Waller finds it so satisfying to keep him under her thumb.
  • Circle of Shame: Captain Boomerang experiences a hallucinatory one when Mindboggler unleashes his greatest fear in an early issue. He hallucinates that he surrounded by the superheroes who have defeated him the past; all laughing at him.
  • C-List Fodder: Pretty much all the characters who weren't created specifically for the series, though some of them got promoted to B- or A-list during or subsequent to their use in Suicide Squad.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: Captain Boomerang once posed as Australian arms dealer Billy Tidewater. His ruse was uncovered because the group he tries to deal with is already holding the real Billy Tidewater hostage. Boomerang made a valiant attempt to claim that he and Tidewater were cousins, and their fathers thought it would be funny to give their sons the same name.
  • Costume Copycat: Used by the squad against the vigilante-with-an-agenda William Hell; Deadshot impersonated him at a public appearance and persuaded the crowd that the real Hell was an impostor trying to undermine the values that Hell claimed to stand for.
  • Cutlery Escape Aid: In Most Wanted, Deadshot snaps off pieces of his utensils to construct a shiv that he uses to take out out a guard and escape.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: The Jihad, a team of superpowered terrorists, get one in the issue that introduces them. The issue opens with an attack on an American airport demonstrating each team-member's abilities, causing massive casualties including the President. It's then revealed that the airport is a mock-up and the attack was a training exercise/client demo — but because they're bad guys, the people recruited to populate the fake airport are really dead.
  • Darker and Edgier: Right around the time the 90s Audience-Alienating Era was starting up, with overstylized costumes and ridiculous storylines, the book took this approach and made it work. The team became mercenaries for hire, saboteurs and spies, and lost the costumes entirely for upwards of 20 issues. The body count got higher, the crazy people got crazier, and none of it felt gratuitous.
  • Darkest Hour: When Amanda gets revealed as still controlling the Squad, when she was supposed to be out of the game, the public goes feral. It got From Bad to Worse when Deadshot killed a senator and evidence appeared that revealed the Squad was imperiled by the senator. Amanda is logically assumed to have ordered the hit (she didn't - Deadshot just got creative with his orders) and with most of the Squad's supporting cast dead, Amanda was ready to quit it - except the LOA crime syndicate was still running about, and she had her Boxed Crook privileges for one last night...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Amanda. What's her reaction upon hearing Boomerang wants to quit?
    Amanda Waller: Fine. You're fired. Go get a real job.
  • Death Seeker:
    • Deadshot.
    • Count Vertigo. However, he wants to die on his terms, and he keeps surviving everything the Squad throws at him.
    • Very clearly going on in Rick Flag's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Ostrander tended to portray Waller as someone with a deeply buried, often compromised sense of morality who insisted from the start that Squad missions would not be for political purposes. Other writers, especially in recent years, have tended to portray her as someone who puts U.S. interests ahead of anything else.
    • More generally, the circumstances under which a Squad field leader or Waller will trigger the explosive "leash" on agents vary from writer to writer.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: The final story arc of the original series has Waller discovering a sect of the CIA has offered some unstable cons a deal of freedom in exchange for controlling a small island nation. She complains about to Sarge Steel who openly asks if Waller never once considered the possibility that the government would use her idea of the Squad, only without her in charge. "Are you actually naive enough to believe someone wouldn't copy your plan?"
  • Don't Create a Martyr: The "Flight of the Firebird" arc revolves around a young Soviet author named Zoya Trigorin, who has been imprisoned for writing a book called The Firebird that is critical of the regime. Mikhail Gorbachev is seen arguing that Firebird was mediocre on its own merits, and that by arresting Zoya, the Soviet authorities have only succeeded in making her work significantly more popular than it would have been had they simply left her alone. At one point, the idea of releasing her to the West and allowing her to fall into obscurity due to her own lack of literary talent is raised, which Gorbachev finds vastly preferable to making her a martyr by murdering her. She ultimately winds up being killed anyway, which grants her the martyrdom Gorbachev so feared.
    Mikhail Gorbachev : She has become the martyr in fact that she always wanted to be. The circumstances of her death will ensure her place among the literati as her work could never have done in and of itself. She will become a symbol of the "individual artist" against the "repressive system". We have made The Firebird immortal.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Fans of later entries may be surprised at how differently the squad is handled in Ostrander's run:
    • Instead of being kept in check by an Explosive Leash, members had wrist-mounted explosives that are removed if its members prove to not be liabilities. Due to the bombs only working when in close range of the detonator, their handlers would also occasionally just take them off so its members could operate more effectively.
    • Belle Reve is only treated as temporary accommodation for the criminal members, with Captain Boomerang being given the privilege of his own home and assumed identity that he only loses when he tries to run a hustle on the side by impersonating the late Mirror Master (the first one).
    • Most of all, while Waller expresses that the team is expendable, she doesn't consider them to be cannon fodder and even offers Rick condolences when his entire team is wiped out on a mission, saying they would never have been sent if she'd known it'd end that badly.
    • While later runs would have the team consist primarily or entirely of criminals who were drafted either willingly or unwillingly, Ostrander's squad has a sizable contingent of non-criminal volunteers, at times taking up a full half of the team's roster.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: Captain Boomerang is this in-universe. Nobody, even his fellow Australians, seems to like him.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Zastrow, astonishingly, manages to be this to Amanda Waller, since he's a Communist hardliner willing and able to go to lengths even she normally balks at.
    • The Red Shadows and the Jihad act as these for the Squad as a whole, with Rustam of the Jihad being Rick Flag,. Jr.'s rival in particular.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The fundamental principle of the series; various super criminals being sent on potentially suicidal missions to stomp on other criminals. The very existence of the Suicide Squad is based on the cynical idea that no matter which side ends up dead, some good has come out of it.
  • Exact Words: Deadshot had a problem with this, as seen above. Since these events, Deadshot has continued to abide by his very exact word, a trait that has continued into Secret Six. Everybody who works with him is rather irritated to observe their own orders thrown back at them with such flippancy.
    • The most obvious case is when the Squad is told to stop Flag from killing corrupt Senator Cray by any means. Deadshot's solution? Put a bullet into Cray's head. Lampshaded in his talk with Waller later.
      Deadshot: keep Flag from...killing any means possible. Exact...words....
      Waller: I didn't mean by killing him yourself!
      Deadshot: Shoulda..said so. I don'
    • Later on, Deadshot is hired by Waller to shoot William Heller (who had hired Deadshot to kill her. Waller simply outbid him). Batman shows up but can't stop Deadshot from shooting Heller. However, he does note that Heller was shot non fatally...
      Deadshot: I know. Waller said to shoot him. Didn't say to kill him.
      Batman: And if she said to kill him, you'd have done that.
      Deadshot: Yeah.
  • Explosive Leash: The "stick."
  • Eyepatch of Power: Privateer. Notably, it's an affectation.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The 2019 run has Ted Kord apparently having undergone one, revealing them to be Lok's equally sadistic boss.
    • Subverted: it was actually Black Mask impersonating Kord.
  • Fake Memories: Raise the Flag establishes that Rick Flag Jr. is actually a random soldier brainwashed into that identity.
    • The program attempting to turn the deceased Mindboggler into a new Ifrit tried to give her these. However, her abrasive personality made it difficult to stick.
    • It's revealed in the 2021 Annual that "Superboy" is actually Match, and Waller implanted copies of the real deal's memories to get the superhero she wanted.
  • Fake Town: President Marlo of Qurac had a perfect replica of an American airport in the middle of the Quraci desert, with the intent of demonstrating the effectiveness of the Jihad, his sponsored terrorist unit. He even had it fully staffed to imitate a Senator visiting - during which the Jihad brutally attacked and killed everyone.
  • Foil: Batman: born rich, white male, muscular, morally principled and has a secret identity. Amanda Waller, grew up poor, black woman, overweight, and morally ambiguous with no secret identity. They get along well. Perfectly illustrated on the cover of Suicide Squad #10.
  • Freak Out: Harley has one in #4 when she finds out the Joker is dead. The next several issues are about her going rogue and the Squad's attempts to recover her.
  • From Dress to Dressing: During "The Janus Directive" crossover, a disguised Manhunter (who is Dressing as the Enemy) is almost garrotted by Ravan. Having cut his hand blocking the garrotte, he pulls off Captain Boomerang's scarf and uses it to bandage his hand. When Boomerang complains and claims the scarf is genuine silk, Manhunter responds "It's genuine rayon and I'll buy you another one!"
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Amanda Waller. She started in the slums and through pure determination, got herself into high place in US security - all to help her children get a better life.
  • Get into Jail Free: In #6 of the reboot, Harley Quinn shoots up a police car outside of a police station in order to get herself arrested and taken inside the station where the Joker's skinned face is being kept.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • Several arcs involve more mainstream superheroes overcoming their disgust for the Squad's modus operandi and members to work with them when something critical is at stake.
    • Waller hits this a few times, too, drafting characters like the General even though she's not sure they can be controlled because the mission requires it.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The Red Shadows. Especially Bolshoi.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: That tends to be the modus operandi for the Squad's missions more often than not, with two of the biggest disasters being the Firebird fiasco and the Dragon's Horde arc. They do have a genuine success every once in a while to balance things out.
  • Gunship Rescue: Happens more than once with Sheba.
  • Hate Plague:
    • This is one of the powers of Badb, one of the later members of the terrorist-for-hire group The Jihad. She possesses powerful telepathy, and is able to mentally dominate others by manipulating their emotions and fears. She can read the minds of others to project fearful or hateful imagery into their minds, and force them to harm themselves or others. And she revels in the chaos she causes.
    • In The Return, the Black Vault causes everyone in Belle Reve to become homicidally and crazy... except for Harley Quinn. As she's already homicidal and crazy to begin with, it has the opposite effect on her and causes her to become calm and rational.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Shrike, though her religious beliefs were... unorthodox. Resulted in Redemption Equals Death.
    "I'm a-coming, Jesus!"
  • Hey, You!: Played with when Father Richard Craemer is appointed team chaplain:
    Murph: So what do we call you? Father Richard? Reverend Craemer? Hey you?
    Craemer: 'The Reverend Hey You' has a certain ring to it, don't you think?
    He later acknowledges he's begun responding to "hey you".
  • Hoist Hero over Head: Granny Goodness inflicted this on Amanda Waller during the Apokolips run.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Flo Crawley was this for Bronze Tiger, who had hooked up with Vixen. It didn't end well for her.
  • I Call It "Vera": Briscoe named the Black Helicopter 'Sheba' after his dead daughter.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Almost every major character from the third incarnation of Suicide Squad, such as Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and the Bronze Tiger, as well as the team's boss Amanda Waller, did not appear in the lineup until its Retool in 1987, over two and half decades since the team first appeared in 1959. Harley Quinn didn't join until the 2011 New 52 series (and thanks to the film is now the group's best-known character). Colonel Rick Flag, Jr. was the only major character involved from the very beginning.
  • Implacable Man: Stalnoivolk. When someone's tough enough to take on Batman and walk away like nothing, you know you shouldn't mess with him.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Doctor Light, who had suffered Badass Decay on a level rarely seen, going from taking on the assembled Justice League, to infamously being a repeat Butt-Monkey for the Teen Titans, to getting defeated by unpowered child commandos due to phobias about kids overpowering him... until he overcame his phobia by killing a kid hero on a mission, laughing about his newfound 'success'.
  • Iron Lady: Amanda, in spades. However, her own issues often led her to devolve into Evil Matriarch territory, most notably her possessiveness. In fact, she acknowledges this. She hired a doctor because she knows he would be extremely protective of his supervillain patients, despite her having no issues violating their medical rights.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Amanada Waller does it to a courier working for a terrorist group to find out what he was transporting in Suicide Squad #0.
  • Jerkass: Captain Boomerang is one of the best examples.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In an early issue, a team member who tried to sell out to the other side is processed to remove all memories of the Suicide Squad before being returned to prison. The process is depicted as being prolonged and agonizing, and several members of the Squad object to Waller that it's clearly inhumane; Waller, on consideration, admits they're right and agrees not to use it again.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When "rescuing" Count Vertigo, Poison Ivy made a point to keep him enthralled with her toxins, keeping him addled and enslaved. When she was forced to release him so he could use his powers to disarm a salvo of missiles, she beat feet and tried not to approach him again. However, in the "Wrath of the Gods" crossover, she was captured and left to die in a pit. She was reduced to pathetically begging for her life and promising her life to anyone who could release her. The only person to hear her was Vertigo, who laughed his ass off and left her there.
  • Laser Sight: The comic featured a confusing example: a laser pistol with a laser sight.
  • Laughably Evil: Ravan was surprisingly funny at times.
  • Legacy Character: Adam Cray, the Atom for a while; Captain Boomerang Jr. The 2011 series features an "El Diablo", but it's unlikely he's ever even heard of Lazarus Lane or Rafael Sandoval.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Deadshot, sometimes.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Bronze Tiger.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: When they wound up on Apokolips, Count Vertigo is stabbed by Kanto; some time later, he turns out to have been playing possum and stabs Kanto in the back with his own dagger.
  • Love Triangle: Flo has a crush on Bronze Tiger, who mostly ignores her (thinking of her as a kid) in favor of Vixen.
  • Magic Bus: Sheba, Briscoe's Black Helicopter, may be this. Nemesis thinks it's all done with technological wizardry, but Briscoe keeps slyly hinting that there is something out of the ordinary about Sheba.
  • Magic Is Feminine: The Ostrander run featured four female mystic characters; in addition to the aforementioned Nightshade, Enchantress, and Vixen, there was Black Orchid, a Plant Person whose powers were tied to the Green, the mystical force connecting all plant life on Earth and the aforementioned Vixen.
  • Martial Pacifist: El Diablo is extremely loath to use his powers unless he believes doing so is in some way vanquishing evil. This includes refusing to defend himself from ravenous zombies until he has absolutely no choice — because his attackers are innocents.
  • Meaningful Name: In-universe example. Someone literally names her Duchess because they see her as John Wayne's Distaff Counterpart.
  • Mercy Kill: Amanada Waller does this to Duren after he is mutated by Regulus's bomb in Suicide Squad #0. It was this act that made her determined that any future special ops team she commanded would be composed of disposable operatives.
  • Military Brat: Rick Flag, Jr. Or not, as it turns out.
  • Mind Rape: After Plastique betrays the mission, the Squad does this to her so she wouldn't remember them. Thinker later reveals this to her when she's drafted into the Squad a second time.
  • Mission Briefing: A common scene in the series.
  • Mission Control: Oracle begins her role as this late in the book, most notably in the Dragon's Hoard storyline.
  • The Mole: Karin Grace and Duchess/Lashina.
  • Mugged for Disguise:
    • During an early mission into Russia, the members of the Squad end up having to steal clothes and passports from some American tourists in order to escape the country. This then causes a problem that is often overlooked in other uses of this trope, as the Squad have no way of reliably detaining the replaced Americans (aside from killing them, which nobody but Deadshot and The Penguin will even consider) long enough to reach the border. Nemesis winds up having to stay behind disguised as a Soviet so that he can pretend to arrest the real tourists, which subsequently leads to his own capture.
    • In the aftermath of the crossover between the Suicide Squad and the Justice League International, Nemesis escapes from Russia by stealing the clothing and identity of a Russian black market dealer. The logical issue mentioned above is solved when the Bound and Gagged dealer is blackmailed into going along with his own capture and subsequently keeping quiet about what happened even after being freed.
    • When the Thuggee cultist Ravan joins the Squad, he practically brags that he didn't get any blood on the uniforms he had just acquired for the team, leaving Bronze Tiger to remember just what kind of person Ravan was.
  • Mythology Gag: The vigilante William Hell is a dark reflection of Batman — a wealthy heir carrying on a vendetta against the segment of society he holds responsible for his parents' death, with a variety of gadgets including a Grappling-Hook Pistol, and a loyal manservant Secret-Keeper.
  • Nuke 'em: How Rick Flag destroys Jotunheim.
  • Not a Morning Person: Captain Boomerang
  • One-Steve Limit: An aversion fueled the Squad's last adventure in the early nineties. A reckless team of killers and vandals took the Suicide Squad name as the enforcers of a Banana Republic tyrant, and Amanda was so personally offended she decided to embark on their last mission to take said morons out permanently.
  • Only I Can Make It Go: Briscoe and Sheba
  • Outlaw Couple: Punch and Jewelee
  • Pie in the Face: A Running Gag subplot with a mystery pie-thrower.
  • The Plan: Kobra's plan to trigger WWIII. He gives some pointers to Dybbuk, as seen in Breaking Speech above: one, do something his makers really wouldn't want him to do. Two, see if said action can't wind up doing some good. Three: there's this old, ugly building which is preventing the most glorious temple for virtually every major Western religion ever from being built. Why not level it and see to the construction of the temple? How was that old mess called, anyway? The Dome of the Rock?
  • Playing with Fire: El Diablo. It's easy to guess how he got that name.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Early issues borrowed from the Mission: Impossible template and had operations plans that used each member's skills for one step of the larger plan.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The white supremacist W. James Heller, who masquerades as a vigilante who somehow only ever seems to catch suspects who are people of color. That said, Captain Boomerang's not much better, the two characters even hitting it off a little.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Had Amanda talked a bit with Flag after he witnessed Tolliver's moronic extortion scheme, the Squad would have remained a secret and she would have never lost control of it.
    Tiger: Why? If he knew you had it handled...
    Waller: He didn't. I chose not to confide my plans in Colonel Flag.
    Tiger: You were playing one of your damned lone hands again!
    • Also, when she stumbled onto Kobra's Janus Directive plot, rather than tell others, she kept it quiet which resulted in the deaths of 38 Checkmate Knights, the destruction of Checkmate headquarters and almost the entire Force of July. Lampshaded when the President demotes Waller, snapping all that could have been avoided by her coming forward and he's tired of her "lone wolf" moves.
  • Pop the Tires: In 2016's Suicide Squad Annual #1, Shado demonstrates her Improbable Aiming Skills by using arrows to firstly pop the tyre on Deadshot's motorcycle and then the two front tyres on a car, which causes it to flip spectacularly.
  • Power Loss Depression: Enchantress non-fatally shoots Nightshade in an ill-thought attempt at restoring her magic. When an irate Waller asked Dr. LaGrieve why she'd done so, given her initial motive for joining the Squad was to have her powers brought under her control or better yet removed, the psychiatrist made a point to mark the difference between voluntarily relinquishing power and having it forcefully taken away.
  • Pregnant Hostage: In the second issue of the 2011 series, it is revealed that the MacGuffin the Squad is sent into the stadium to retrieve is a pregnant woman. Although, this being Suicide Squad, all is not as it seems.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Amanda gets one when wearing the Thinker helmet.
  • Psychological Torment Zone: The Diabloverde jungle. Maybe. There's also the possibility it is a malevolent Genius Loci, or that there's some sort of chemical in the air causing the hallucinations. The only two unaffected are Deadshot (who's wearing his mask) and Poison Ivy (who's immune to toxins anyway).
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Bronze Tiger versus Stompa in the issue where the Female Furies attack Belle Reve.
  • Punk in the Trunk: One of the advance team's masters of disguise takes the place of a villain's chauffeur to learn his plans, leaving the real chauffeur tied up in the trunk.
  • Race Lift: In the first issue, Flo is white, with a slightly different hairstyle. She's retconned into being Waller's niece thereafter.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A somewhat less idealistic use of the trope.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Pretty much the point of the series. Played for laughs with Dr. Light, who announced he intended to turn his back on villainy to be a true and noble hero. He's shot from a dozen angles in the next panel.
  • Red Herring Mole: The writer introduced Manhunter into the book specifically to tease him as this.
  • Refused Reunion: In Raise The Flag, it is revealed that Rick Flag Jr. is actually Anthony Miller, a soldier who was thought to be killed in action but was in reality brainwashed by Wade Eiling into believing he was the son of Rick Flag Sr. Even after getting his memories back and being offered an opportunity to see his family again, Flag refuses, seeing himself as Rick Flag and declaring Anthony Miller "dead".
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Especially Captain Boomerang, who just never seemed to be able to get off the Squad for any considerable length of time. While he was dead, the Squad recruited his son, Captain Boomerang, Jr. When the original returned it was only a matter of time before Amanda Waller got her hands on him again.
  • Retirony: In Issue 6 of the New 52 version, Savant says that he is on his last Suicide Squad mission. In Issue 7, he accidentally steps on a land mine. In Issue 8, he survives.
  • Rhetorical Request Blunder: A shellshocked Rick Flag discovered a Congressman was trying to blackmail the Squad into ensuring his re-election with the risk of exposure, so he set out to kill him. Amanda Waller gave Deadshot (who was not exactly stable at this point) the order to stop Flag from killing the Congressman by any means necessary. Deadshot did so — by killing the Congressman himself.
  • Rubber Man: Yo-Yo discovers his stretching powers after he survives being eaten by King Shark.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: In the first issue of every run, somebody goes. Mindboggler, almost the entire Injustice League, and Savant, though in the last case he wasn't actually killed and was a member of the team again later on.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Amanda Waller. She also counts as Badass Normal.
    Waller: I am fat, black, and menopausal. You do NOT want to mess with me!
  • Scary Black Man: Bronze Tiger is a brutal Blood Knight who also happens to have beaten Batman fair and square in a fistfight and is considered one of the top five martial artists in the DCU.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!:
    • Nemesis resigns from the team after getting fed up with Waller's amoral actions. He returns for the 50th issue, though.
    • John Economos leaves following Flo's death, unable to go on after the loss of his close friend.
  • Secret Test of Character: The first issue of the 2011 series. Savant doesn't pass.
  • Ship Tease: Harley Quinn with Deadshot (New 52) and Rick Flagg (Rebirth).
  • Shock Collar: The more villainous members of DC's Suicide Squad were fitted with these on missions. If they got too out of line, the collar could also be commanded to blow off their heads.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The pie-throwing Running Gag ends just as an especially brutal conflict reaches the Squad. Vixen and Bronze Tiger's relationship is destroyed by Sarge Steel just before the LOA mess, destroying much of whatever light-heartedness Suicide Squad had at the time. Additionally, Punch and Jewelee are written out around the same time.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Simulated Urban Combat Area: The first issue opens with a terrorist attack by the Jihad at an American airpot intended to assassinate the US president. The mission is a total success. It is then revealed that the attack was a training run conducted at a mockup of the airport constructed in Qurac, with actors hired to play the roles of the victims. However, nobody told them that the assassins would be using very, very real bullets and blades...
  • Slipping a Mickey: More than once, the Squad gets around Boomerang's lack of interest in getting killed by drugging his drink and dragging him off; by the time he wakes up, fighting is his only option.
  • Sole Survivor:
    • Rick Flag, more than once; it takes an increasing emotional toll on him.
    • This was typically the case with any of the nobler members of the team. If anyone with heroic tendencies stayed on, it was usually because they knew things would get worse for the others if they left.
    • The first issue of the 2001 series ended with Major Disaster the only known survivor of the mission — though it was later revealed that Cluemaster survived as well.
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb:
    Harley Quinn: Uh, fellas? Our boy is a blow-up doll. And not the fun kind.
  • Spiritual Successor: Several series have, since the book's cancellation, been heavily inspired by Suicide Squad. Thunderbolts (especially post-Civil War) and Secret Six exist mainly because of the popularity of Suicide Squad.
  • Staged Shooting: Used to fake the death of radical agitator William Hell.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: After helping to save Australia from an alien invasion, Captain Boomerang expects to be lauded by his fellow Aussies as a hero. Instead, he is confronted by a mob who are so sick of him giving Australia a bad name by embodying so many many elements of The Bogan on the international stage that they toss him off a ferry into Sydney Harbour.
  • Suicide Mission: Generally walks to the edge of this. The team goes on dangerous missions, and their commanders aren't too worried about their well-being—but team members can hope to survive long enough to retire.
  • Surprise Inspection Ruse: In Suicide Squad Annual #1, Bronze Tiger and Vixen bluff their way into a private college that is actually a front for the Kobra Cult by pretending to be bureaucrats from the Department of Education investigating noncompliance with government minority quota rules.
  • Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder: The entire premise. The team is filled with the most dangerous criminals in the world. If they succeed in a dangerous mission, they are either freed from prison or taken years off their sentence, among other things. If anyone defies an order or slips up, they can be executed for being a flight risk. If they happen to die during a mission... well, that's just one less villain to worry about.
    • Captain Boomerang is especially adept at this, killing and maiming several people over the course of the series precisely because nobody expects him to be anything more than a joke.
  • Take That!: "The Writer", the Grant Morrison's Author Avatar from Animal Man was killed in an issue by John Ostrander.
  • Taking You with Me: El Diablo drags Rose Tattoo back to the hell dimension she came from, knowing he has to go along, but trusting God to eventually get him out.
  • Tattooed Crook: El Diablo. They have something to do with his powers; they disappear if he really exerts himself, necessitating him to get inked again as soon as possible.
  • Team Title
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. Both professional psychiatric doctors and a chaplain were important and useful characters. That said, Waller has a tendency to ignore and override their recommendations.
  • Time Skip: The first series has a year-long gap in the middle, during which the Squad is disbanded and Amanda is in prison.
  • Time Stands Still: The team uses one of Chronos's devices as part of their takedown of William Hell, to freeze time briefly and set Hell up for a public defeat. It's noted that the device is unstable and can't be used again.
  • Token Good Teammate: Bronze Tiger.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Boomerang took a program that offered him immense benefits and tried to spin it so he could use it to keep committing crimes at his leisure under the persona of Mirror Master. Then he got caught... as Mirror Master, and got drafted into the Squad as well. It didn't end well for him.
    • Yo-yo in the New 52 reboot. He thought King Shark was too still and got too close while in his vulnerable thin form, effectively giving King Shark a free meal of thinly-sliced deli meat. That said, Yo-Yo survived and managed to crawl out of King Shark's mouth several issues later.
    • Also from the original series, Derek Tolliver. First, he sent the Squad on the disastrous Flight of the Firebird arc, assuming the titular dissenter would want to escape, never thinking he might be dealing with, oh, let's say, someone who would die for her beliefs. He was strongly chewed out by Waller, and to salvage his career, leaked the Squad's existence to the moronic senator Joe Cray to force Waller's hand. It ended very badly for both Tolliver and Cray.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Harley Quinn. Hell, everyone in the new Squad. You gotta wallow in this trope, just to enter the Squad.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: The first cover of the series—after that, team deaths just weren't a bankable event anymore.
  • Treebuchet: During the Time Skip, Waller stranded Captain Boomerang on a Deserted Island. When she turns up to collect him a year later, Boomerang claims he doesn't need her, as he has spent the time constructing a giant boomerang that will carry him to the mainland; launched from a tree-turned-catapult. Waller calmly cuts the rope and launches the boomerang, which crashes into the ocean a few hundred metres offshore. Boomerang then agrees to join her reformed Squad.
  • Trial Run Crime: #1 of the original series opens with Terrorists Without a Cause the Jihad staging an attack on an airport to assassinate the US President, and causing massive civilian casualties in the process. It turns out the airport is a mockup and all of the murdered people actors, with this being a test by the Quraci to see whether the team was ready to be sent into the field.
  • Trojan Ambulance: In #4, the Squad pull a Staged Shooting on Vigilante Man William Hell (actually a disguised Deadshot) as part of a scheme to discredit the real Hell who is a white supremacist agitator. Members of the Squad disguised as paramedic load the fake Hell into an ambulance and drive off as a riot starts, vanishing in the confusion.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Batman does this in order to infiltrate Belle Reve.
  • Two-Timer Date: Boomerang once tried to take part on a mission as both himself and Mirror Master. Turns out the whole thing was orchestrated by Waller to let Boomerang know that she was on to his little masquerade and humiliate him in the process.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: The 2019 run begins with Waller being fired with no explanation and replaced with a sadistic bully named Lok. Osita later claims that Task Force X had secretly been hijacked behind the scenes from the U.S. Government into serving other interests.
  • Unwanted Rescue: In the "Flight of the Firebird" arc, the Squad is sent into Russia to free a dissident writer from The Gulag. After breaking her out, they discover that she did not want to be rescued. So long as she was in prison, she was a symbol to other dissidents. If she escaped, she became just another defector. Ultimately she was killed during the escape attempt, thus becoming a martyr.
  • Villain Protagonist
  • Villain's Dying Grace: Inverted. After the Apokolips debacle, Darkseid inflicted a particularly brutal fate to the Squad: returning them home so they could stew in their memory of the pointless deaths and how it could all have been avoided. This resulted in many cases of Survivor Guilt, up to and including Amanda, who has since become near-suicidally reckless. Given what said God of Evil subjected them to...
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Deadshot kills Senator Cray, his mind crumbles. He's left with the belief he finally succeeded in his first killing - the death of his father, as commanded by his mother - with Flag as a stand-in for his brother, who he'd accidentally killed instead of his old man. His Ax-Crazy persona kicks in then. Things get worse.
  • Western Terrorists/.Terrorists Without a Cause: Averted in the 1980s series with the super-terrorist group called the Jihad, whose members' politics were made abundantly clear. Interestingly, only a few of them are actually Islamic terrorists.
  • Wham Shot: In Issue #5 of the 2019 run, Osita demands a goon put her in touch with who Lok reports to. He puts her on a video call...with Ted Kord.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Several people do this over the course of the series, mostly to Amanda Waller. Waller eventually reveals that Flagg and Bronze Tiger are on the Squad for just this reason.
  • Who Shot JFK?: It’s heavily implied in the 1988 annual that Control, the head of Argent (the domestic branch of the original Task Force X), discovered that Kennedy’s murder was arranged by the Cuban government in retaliation for a failed assassination attempt on Fidel Castro. Realizing that such a revelation would likely lead to World War III, he deliberately hid this information for the good of mankind.
  • Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: Towards the end of the original run, Zastrow and other former Soviet officials are portrayed as hardliners unwilling to let go during the transition away from Communism.
  • William Telling: Deadshot does it to Captain Boomerang in an early issue as part of a plan to discredit a vigilante called William Hell. Boomerang was not pleased.
  • Working with the Ex: Rick Flag and Karin Grace, the only two survivors of the previous Suicide Squad, are both hired by Waller for the new enterprise, Flag to lead the squad and Grace as part of the team that runs the squad's home base. Flag and Grace were an item before their relationship died messily in the ruins of their disastrous final mission, and now they really do not get along.