The Suicide Squad also known as Task Force X (actually the name of a closely-related but independent supervisory organization), is a name for two fictional organizations in DC Comics Universe. The first version debuted in The Brave and the Bold #25 (1959), the second in Legends #3 (1986). An "original" Suicide Squad was retconned into continuity in Secret Origins vol. 2, #14 in order to form a connection between the first Squad and the second.
The first Suicide Squad was a series about a quartet of non-powered adventurers fighting super-powered opponents that appeared in The Brave and the Bold #25-27 and 37-39. The Squad consisted of Rick Flag, his girlfriend Karin Grace, Dr. Hugh Evans, and Jess Bright. This team was created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru. Later continuity, in Secret Origins Annual #1, established that the team, in its earliest incarnation, was expressly formed to fight monstrous menaces as a replacement for the Justice Society of America, whose members had mostly retired in the wake of unjust accusations during the McCarthy Era.
The Suicide Squad was revived in the mini-series Legends, and were created by John Ostrander. The renewed concept involved the government employing a group of supervillains to perform missions that were almost certainly suicide runs, a concept popular enough for an ongoing series titled simply Suicide Squad. They were often paired together with the government agency related series Checkmate, culminating in the "Janus Directive" crossover.
The concept self-consciously emulated the World War II film The Dirty Dozen and the television series Mission: Impossible. In addition, the existence of the squad was top secret, creating much tension within the group and leading the group to be targeted (unsuccessfully) by the likes of Lois Lane and Batman (who was forced to back off from investigating the group when Amanda Waller threatened to use the government's resources to expose Batman's secret identity). While some of the Squad members, such as Bronze Tiger, Deadshot and Captain Boomerang were permanent fixtures, the balance of membership was made up by a rotating cast of often very minor league villains. These villains would agree to take on Suicide Squad missions in exchange for early release from prison. Thus, the existence of the squad served as a partial explanation for how villains who had been previously defeated by a hero would end up free again a few issues later.
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