Friday, August 26, 2011

From Darkseid to iran's ayatollah khomeini, whatever evil you fear most

I can't believe I've had this blog going for almost a year with out mention Shade The Changing Man yet. He first appeared in Suicide Squad #16 and was last scene in issue 37. Shade is a security officer from another dimension who coincidentally encountered the Squad on a mission in the "Shadow Zone" and through a twist of fate got stuck on Earth after the Squad made good their escape.
Shade somewhat reluctantly agrees to join the Squad under the promise that the resources of the govt. will be put to use in an effort to return him to his own dimension. But over time due to the inferior technology on Earth he becomes increasingly frustrated with the prospect he may never get back. Despite being a pretty noble guy he goes against his better judgement and helps Duchess a.k.a Lashina abduct the Squad for her Apocalypse mission for which in return she's supposed to get him back home using the superior technology of the New Gods. But he eventually turns on her as his conscience gets the best of him after witnessing her cruelty to the population of Apocalypse as well as to the Squad Shade is returned to his own dimension when Darkseid expels the Squad off of Apocalypse with his omega beams returning everybody to where they came from.
Shade wore a special vest that detected the fears of others around him and projected a force field in the image of those fears. The force fields appeared to mimic his body movements. In the clip art here you can see him pummeling Peacemaker who sees Shade as his abusive military father who apparently bullied him through out most of his child hood. On Apocalypse we see the vest project the image of Darkseid for a brigade of parademons that Shade was fighting.
Probably my all time favorite moment with Shade in the pages of the Suicide Squad is in issue 32 in which the Squad under takes a mission in iran. During the battle with iran's military Shade's vest projected the image of the ayatollah khomeini to the soldiers. As you all may or may not be aware of the ayatollah khomeini is the fanatical islamic religious cleric who took power in the late 70s during the iranian revolution. Today the iranian people still live with the legacy of being in the grip of a religious dictatorship under the tyrant ahmedinejad and the mullahs (religious ruling party).
This is not only another a case of how art imitates life but also how insightful of a writer John Ostrander was when it came to weaving real world facts and politics into the stories of the Suicide Squad. And keep in mind this was long before the "arab spring" this year in which we're seeing one tyrannical regime after another fall in the midst of uprisings all over the muslim world in the Middle East. Just recently gaddafi's reign of terror for over 40 years in libya finally came to an end last weekend and we can only hope the bashar assad regime in syria will be next. Of course despite all this most any moronic useful idiot liberal of the San Francisco Bay Area will be quick to blame the United States and Israel for the decades of turmoil in the Middle East. Thank goodness John Ostrander was a more intelligent and objective thinking person who didn't suffer from the social disease known as political correctness which has infected most of the world and Europe especially.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Countdown 22: Trickster, in the line of Deadshot's fire

So before I start to talk about this issue I want to remind everybody that the events in Gotham Underground lead right up to DC's Countdown (to Final Crisis) series. Also, right before I found this issue in a $1 bin I had flipped through a Countdown TPB in which we see Trickster and Pied Piper having managed to elude the Suicide Squad a couple of times already. Each time it seemed to piss Deadshot off more and more. Well eventually Deadshot catches up to them on his own after they decide to stow away on a train. Despite having surprise on his side Trickster and Pied Piper manage to stay out of Deadshots line of fire by using every trick in the book when it comes to distractions and surprise attacks. With his patience coming to it's whit's end he gets a call from Waller who is not at all pleased with his unauthorized solo mission. And as you can read here in the clip art the conversation was somewhat less then cordial. Be sure to magnify the clip art for easier reading.
So as you can see that went well (yes a wee bit sarcastic). Can you just picture how Waller must have been like on the other end of that line? Probably threw the phone or whatever communication device she was using out the nearest window provided it wasn't something that was bolted down or really really heavy. Deadshot catches up to the duo again and a skirmish breaks out in which they manage to throw Deadshot out an open door. But he gets a hold of Trickster's cape and drags him out too. Thinking Trickster is out of it Deadshot attempts to give Piper a "parting shot" but Trickster despite having been dragged on the ground leaps to Piper's defense and in the line of fire.
Countdown 22 came out in November of 2007 with Salvation Run #2 coming out just a few months later in early 2008. I mention this because as you all should know by now that Salvation Run #2 is where Waller and Flag trick Deadshot into exile (along with Bane) to the prison planet for being too "unstable" Of course he eventually escapes the planet thanks to Lex Luther's ingenuity and later become part of the Secret Six. And in the Suicide Squad Secret Six crossover in Blackest Night (2010) Deadshot puts a bullet next to Waller's heart (yes folks she really has a heart) which again begs the question how the fuck does Deadshot manage to fine himself with The Suicide Squad again? This is one of my biggest fears about the reboot is that he'll just be back with Task Force X with out any explanation. I know the reboot is suppose to be about new directions for these titles but history like that can't just simply be dismissed.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Captain Boomerang and what goes around

So I picked up the final issue of Red Robin (#26) yesterday so I could see what's been going on with the newly reselected Digger Harkness since the end of the Brightest Day saga. My first thought was did DC Comics really name a character after the restaurant chain cause It's the first time I'm hearing about this guy. Anyways, some important background information is that Digger killed Robin's father (Jack Drake) back during the Identity Crisis series.
So naturally Robin (gonna just call him Robin for short) wanted revenge but having been an understudy of Batman was conflicted about killing Boomerang out right. So he sets Boomerang up on a false heist to steal some Black Lantern energy from S.T.A.R labs. Boomerang is under the impression that the energy needs to be harnessed under extreme cold temperatures which prompts him to bring it to Mr. Freeze. It is soon discovered that the Black Lantern energy is just a bunch of bullshit which brings the two villains into conflict. Apparently trying to steer Digger into doing something haphazard was part of Robin's plan. But just as Boomerang and Freeze are about to throw down Robin intervenes out of a sense of inner conflict over wanting to deliver the death blow to Boomerang personally as opposed to someone else.Freeze is rendered unconscious as Boomerang flees the scene but is pursued by Robin to a roof top. A fight ensues between the two. A clash of throwing weapons causes Boomerang to get hit by one of his own rangs sending him over the edge. By the way did I mention how awesome the art work is in this issue? Be sure to left click on the clip art. Dan if your reading this I got your splash page right here mate!Do you all remember that scene at the end of Batman The Darknight where he flips The Joker off the roof top but saves him from falling to his death with a grappling line? Well that's basically what happens here.Captain Boomerang has always been a bit of a weasel. But it seems like these days good ol Digger has more of a back bone. One of the side benefits of coming back from the dead I suppose is that you have more confidence. Digger has always had a sense of cockiness but I always got the impression it was largely a front to cover up a lot of insecurity he was carrying around with him. So as I'm sure you guessed Robin spares Boomerang's life in favor of justice over vengeance. Shortly there after Freeze and Boomerang are taken away by the police. Keep in mind that at the end of Secret Six #36 which is the final issue both Deadshot and King Shark are also arrested which I imagine has something to do with them being back in The Suicide Squad for the relaunch. Which means perhaps . . . well you know where I'm going with this. For a more comprehensive review of this issue go to

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gotham Underground: Invasion of the criminal snatchers

Gotham Underground is a 9 issue mini-series involving a big time turf war between just about every criminal in Gotham City both meta-human as well as common mobsters. Aside from that, several random criminals are turning up missing. Not due to gang related violence but because the Suicide Squad has been abducting them. Of course as you all know by now we all know those criminals are being sent on via boom tube to their new home somewhere on a planet far far away. It's also worth mentioning that even criminals in jail are getting abducted. In some cases the Squad is working with the Penguin to lure fellow criminals for "business meetings" in order for the Squad to ambush them.
But not all the abductions are going as planned for a number of reasons. Like the case of some punk called Great White Shark. You see here The Squad busting a hole through his jail cell to get to him. But upon finding him he starts doing some major trash talking to Bane about how he's not that tough anymore like when he broke Batman's back and how his venom must have given him brain damage. So Bane looses his cool, beats the shit out of him and throws him out of the opening in the cell wall several stories down presumably to his death. Now take note that The Squad here still has Bane and Deadshot on it. Which means that Gotham Underground must have taken place between the Raise the Flag mini-series and Salvation Run #2. I imagine it was shit like this that eventually led to the decision to having Bane exiled to the prison planet. I didn't have much like finding clip art for this series unfortunately. Aside from the clip art above all I could find was some uncolored pages from But at least looking at the black and white panels will give you some idea of what was going on.
Also, the Gotham Underground mini-series has it's own Wiki page so if you want to read up about it in more detail it's there for you. It's a fairly brief read and it will help you follow what's going on in these panels:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Salvation Run #3 & #4: Hey Deadshot & Bane, "Welcome to The Jungle"

So by now everyone who follows this blog should know what Salvation Run is and why it's important to the Suicide Squad continuity. And thanks to my latest find in the $1 bins yesterday (Salvation Run # 3 and 4) I can now elaborate what exactly life was like on the prison planet that both Deadshot and Bane got exiled too when the decision to have them "dismissed" (Salvation Run # 2) was made by Waller and Flag. It turned out that the planet was some sort of training facility for Apocalypse. As such, the planet was full of many attractions like these bio-mechanical creatures that attacked and killed the exiled villains on a regular basis. Oh boy can I ever think about a lot of people today I'd like to have shipped off to this place. And if you think I'm being a dick with that statement then you probably don't live in the San Francisco Bay Area like I do. Now as much as this sucks for all the villains things are even worse for Deadshot and Bane. That's because they helped round up a lot of the villains while they were with The Squad that they are now stuck with. That's pretty much like being a bad cop who ends up in prison with a lot of the dirtbags he put behind bars. So this little fact did not go unnoticed for long among the other villains and before long Deadshot and Bane found themselves in a situation where they were about to have a lot more then the creatures you see them fighting here to worry about. The exiles even go so far as to accuse the duo of being spies for Waller which in turn seriously pisses Deadshot off. But just as it looked like things were gonna get as precarious for Deadshot and Bane like a couple of Israel supporters in the middle of an anti-Israel demonstration in San Francisco ( and believe me I know what that's like!) Lex Luther of all people steps up on their behalf. He kinda starts off by making this we need to stick together and not fight amongst ourselves sorta speech to the rest of the villains. He goes on to further explain how other exiled villains on the planet have had to work for the Squad at one time or another in the past.So after that Lex offers both Deadshot and Bane a million dollars each when they get back to Earth if they become his bodyguards during their stay on the prison planet. Eventually they all escape of course but I don't know if Lex ever made good on his promise. Perhaps those of you out there familiar with the Villains United series might have some insight into that?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Raise The Flag: An overview of this pivitol 2008 mini-series

As I was putting together my time line I wasn't able to find a really good summery of this fantastic and important series any where outside of The Suicide Squad's Wikipedia page so I thought I'd put this posting together today. By the way this series is also available in trade paper back form.

The first three issues primarily deal with the details of the return of Rick Flag who was presumed dead from a solo suicide mission to destroy the meta human for hire terror group known as the Jihad (Suicide Squad #26 Vol. 1). Remember the good ol days back in the 80s when nobody knew what that word meant? Although the Checkmate title (issues 1-20 Vol.2) had already started bringing The Squad back gradually in a piece meal fashion it wasn't until the Raise The Flag mini-series did we get the full story on Flag's return. That storyline (told in a flash back style) having to do with him and Rustam (leader of the Jihad) being mystically transported to Skartaris instead of having been blown up with the Jihad HQ. There they had to work together to survive in a dinosaur infested land. But eventually the arch enemies go mano e mano and Flag has to put him down permanently cause he's bad ass that way. He's then mystically returned to Earth and winds up in the middle of some trouble that lands him in jail in some Asian country for several years until rescued by Bronze Tiger.

After that story is told the series picks up with Waller getting things in order at Belle Reve prison with her now having her old job back as director of Task Force X which as you all should know by now is the official govt. name for The Squad. They're about to under go a new mission with the objective of taking out this global corp. called Haake-Bruton that has developed a fast acting viral weapon and as director of Task Force X it's her job to determine what meta human prisoners are suitable for the mission. The final selection is made up of many members from the first SS series but also several brand new recruits as well. Of course true to form the mission has all sorts of problems including betrayal by a few Squad members along with a surprise or two that nobody saw coming. Sometimes I wonder if historical military disasters like The Bay of Pigs or the failed hostage rescue in iran by the jimmy carter didn't help inspire some of these Squad stories.
But I'm happy to say that at the end of the day the mission is accomplished even though nearly everyone of the new recruits ends up dead. At the end of the final issue the Squad is made up of Rick Flag, Bronze Tiger, Captain Boomerang (Owen Mercer), Plastique, Multiplex, Gen. Eiling (in the Shaggy Man's body), Bane, Count Vertigo and Deadshot. King Faraday who was Amanda's bishop at Checkmate is her right hand man for administrative matters. The events of Salvation Run follows the end of this series shortly after as indicated by the time line posting.

There are of course a bunch of nuanced things in regards to the characters and the story line in this mini-series summery I didn't cover but for the sake of not making this posting too long I kept it fairly brief. But I think I covered the most important stuff especially as it pertains to the make up of Task Force X as the continuity moves forward into Salvation Run. With that being the case I'd be happy to go over anything in the comments section I may have over looked that was worth mentioning.
On a side note here I just wanted to mention that about a year and a half later during the Secret Six Suicide Squad Blackest Night cross over Gen. Eiling and Plastique for unknown reasons are no longer with the Squad. Captain Boomerang had become part of The Rogues but was later killed by his father (original Captain Boomerang) who was resurrected by a Black Lantern ring. And of course you know by now that Deadshot and Bane are with The Secret Six. However, Nightshade had returned to the Squad along with solo mission recruit Virtuosa, who's powers are similar to that of The Fiddler.

Monday, August 1, 2011

25 Year Suicide Squad Anniversary! Get up to speed with my handy dandy quick reference timeline

As I was compiling this time line I realized that The Suicide Squad has spanned a quarter of a century now! As a more comprehensive follow up to my Youtube video I decided to create this time line to get all Suicide Squad fans both devoted and fair weather ones up to speed in time for the DC relaunch next month. Over the 25 years of Squad history there have been numerous what I call stand alone appearances/adventures involving the Squad and or single members of the Squad. You may notice the time line doesn't include most of those Suicide Squad tie-ins that have been published but I feel it includes the most relevant books to the continuity of the mythology. The only exception being the 2002 series which I felt should be included for archival purposes seeing as it is technically speaking the 2nd Suicide Squad comic book series. And besides, including absolutely everything that's ever been published having to do with The Suicide Squad would take forever and contrary to popular opinion I do have a life outside of this blog.
Left click anywhere on time line to magnify