Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Legends Of The Suicide Squad

It had been a time of Crisis, when everything in the universe had changed.  Old heroes were new, groups like the Teen Titans and the Justice League of America were being torn apart, and heroes across the globe were being consumed by all their own, who were the average person on the street suppose to turn to....the villains?

That was the idea that Amanda Waller had, using jails overflowing with super criminals.  Here is who she recruited to join the Suicide Squad during the Legends 6-issue mini-series of November, 1987 to April, 1988 by John Ostrander, Len Wein, John Byrne and Karl Kesel.

Rick Flag

Rick Rogers Flag, Jr. was part of a military family, and knew the meaning of sacrifice, which he was using ever since we first met him, as the leader of Task Force X, otherwise known as the Suicide Squad in Brave and the Bold #25 (August-September, 1959, by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito).  Rick was a man with military talents, being able to shoot well, and he led his team on a few successful missions, until things went bad on one trip, involving a golden pyramid...which led to him working briefly with the Forgotten Heroes against Vandal Savage, and then against the Forgotten Villains, before being assigned to be the field leader of this version of the Suicide Squad.

Rick's appearances before Legends include Brave and the Bold #25, #26, #27, #37, #38, #39 (1959 to 1962, with the Suicide Squad pre-dating the JLA), Action Comics #552 and #553 (1984) and DC Comics Presents #77 and #78 (1985), with the Brave and the Bold issues and first Action Comics issue also featuring the rest of his Suicide Squad team of Karin Grace, Jess Bright and Hugh Evans; what happened to the three of them unfolds over the course of the 1980s Suicide Squad series.


Floyd Lawton was a man who had come from a troubled family, where he had learned to stick up for himself.  He first faced Batman in Batman #59 (June-July, 1950 by David Vern, Bob Kane, Lew Sayre Schwartz and Charles Paris) trying to be a hero in a top hat, but secretly stealing on the side.  It was his second appearance in Detective Comics #474 (December, 1977 by Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin) that gave this man his second shot at life, finally escaping prison (thanks to Penguin), and coming back to match his trick  shots against the Batman (which he could never quite shoot, maybe a throw back to looking for an authority figure in his life, or a subconscious feeling about being not worthy to live, only being a killer).

Deadshot's appearances before being caught by the Flash (Wally West) in Legends and being recruited by Amanda Waller and Rick Flag into the Suicide Squad include Batman #59, Detective Comics #474, Batman #351, Detective Comics #518, #520, Batman #354, #369, Detective Comics #536, Crisis On Infinite Earths #10 and Batman #400, and Floyd dealt with his issues during the 1980s Suicide Squad run (and even a 4 issue mini-series all his own at that time), and much later, ran across Green Arrow, another complex man with uncanny aim.

Captain Boomerang

George "Digger" Harkness was an Australian by birth, having been sent to America to get away from his step-father, taking a job with W. W. "Walt" Wiggins as of Flash #117 (December, 1960 by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson).  In America, Digger became Captain Boomerang, a mascot for Wiggins company (but used his boomerang throwing ability to commit crimes, running afoul of the Flash, who beat the Boomerang).  Captain Boomerang lived up to his moniker, continually coming back, sometimes alone, sometimes with other foes as a part of Flash's Rogue's Gallery, or even working with other foes of the JLA in the Secret Society of Super-Villains, with villains like Grodd against Captain Comet.

Captain Boomerang was among the earliest recruits to face Darkseid's forces in Legends, and had one of the longest histories of characters recruited into Task Force X (and also caused the most trouble in the group, being just not a nice guy).  Captain Boomerang appeared in Flash #117, #124, #148, #155, #174, Justice League of America #61, Flash #209, #227, #242, #243, #244, Secret Society of Super-Villains #1, #3, #4, #5, #6, Batman #322, Flash #275, #278, #283, #310, #311, #325, #337, #338, #339, #340, #341, #342, #348, #349, #350, Batman #388, Detective Comics #555, Crisis On Infinite Earths #5 and Blue Devil #30.    

Bronze Tiger

Ben Turner first appeared in Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #1 (April-May, 1975 by Jim Dennis and Leopoldo Duranona), but his life as the Bronze Tiger didn't start until Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #18 (November-December, 1977).  Ben was a kid from Central City, who killed a man attacking his parents, liked it, then tried to learn martial arts to calm his anger, ending up with the O-Sensei, where those two recruited Richard Dragon.  Richard and Ben fought the League of Assassins, including Dr. Moon, the Preying Mantis, Professor Ojo and the Axeman, who killed Ben's girlfriend, Janey Lewis, and with the help of Dragon and Lady Shiva, Ben tracked down the Axeman and killed him, though being captured by the League, brainwashed and turned into the Bronze Tiger.  While under the control of the Sensei, the Bronze Tiger fought Batman, being thought to have killed Kathy Kane (Batwoman), and eventually Richard found his friend and got him to the government, which led to Amanda Waller recruiting him, and trying to have him use his martian arts to atone for his misdeeds.

Ben Turner appeared in all but one of the 18 issues of Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter of the 1970s, (missing #6), but it was the last issue that turned him into the masked Bronze Tiger.  The Bronze Tiger was in Detective Comics #485 and #489, and found by Richard Dragon in DC Comics Presents #39 (after which, the rage of tiger hit the wall....and then Ben was ready to work to save Earth's Legends, and later healing his soul during the 1980s Suicide Squad, and even finding love again with Vixen). 


June Moone was a freelance artist who went to a masquerade party with a friend, when the party took a strange turn and June found a secret passage leading her to the Dzamor, a demon who was willing to grant the quiet girl powers to magically fight evil, by saying the name, Enchantress, who she would turn into.   This started her career in Strange Adventures #187 (April, 1966 by Bob Haney, Howard Purcell and Sheldon Moldoff).  June only had two more adventures as a heroic Enchantress, until the use of her mystic powers pushed her over to the evil side, returning to face Supergirl, then later to lead the Forgotten Villains (with Rip Hunter's foe, Kraklow, among others) against Superman and the Forgotten Heroes (and having a new look briefly at that time).

June didn't like becoming evil, and went for help, ending up in the Suicide Squad, where Bronze Tiger was their to watch her (and also being linked to another future member of the team, Nightshade as well, but that all happened during the 1980s Suicide Squad run....and June later returned during the Day of Judgment mini-series, and again as a member of mystical group, Shadowpact).  Her appearances before the Legends mini-series were in Strange Adventures #187, #191, #200, Superman Family #204, #205, DC Comics Presents #77, #78 and Crisis On Infinite Earths #12.


Mark Desmond was a smart kid, but tired of being picked on, so he developed a formula to turn himself into a hulking monster with super-strength, but it also destroyed his mind, and made him a victim of his criminal brother, Roland, who used the lad for crime and facing Batman and Robin as of Detective Comics #345 (November, 1965 by Gardner Fox, John Broome and Joe Giella).  Blockbuster was enraged by Batman, but could be calmed by Bruce Wayne (who had saved the life of young Mark earlier).  The Blockbuster was a hulking brute, usually being manipulated into fighting the Batman (often with the Justice League and Justice Society), or any of Batman's friends (including Wonder Woman), even working for the Secret Society of Super-Villains for a time, along with the Reverse-Flash and the Wizard.

Mark was hoping that the government could help him control his rages and keep others save from him before he was recruited for his short lived time with the Suicide Squad, which didn't work out so well for him (though his brother would later fight the team at the end of the run of the 1980s Suicide Squad).  Mark's appearances as Blockbuster before Legends include Detective Comics #345, #349, Justice League of America #46, #47, Batman #194, Justice League of America #135, Secret Society of Super-Villains #12, #13, #14, #15, Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2, Justice League of America #166, #167, #168, Batman #308, #309, Detective Comics #498, #499, Wonder Woman #294, Crisis On Infinite Earths #5, #9 and #10.

Amanda Waller seems to have brought a few of these folks into Task Force X.

But, who was Amanda Waller?

Who else would be on the team?

Check back for more!

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