Hello my brothers and sisters of the comic-book persuasion!
It's me, TEX, back again to make comic book history less of a deep, dark mystery! And we're on and popping' once again with...THE SUICIDE SQUAD!!
Last episode (click the link to read it), we talked about the origins of The Suicide Squad, beginning with "The Brave and the Bold" #25, printed way back in 1959. Now, let's move up the timeline an bit, twenty-seven years later, to the re-emergence, and revamping of Task Force X. And it all begins here:
These are my copies of "Legends" #1 and #3, published by DC Comics in 1986 and 1987, respectively. And you ask, "Why are these so important, TEX?"
Shucks. I'm glad you asked. ;)
"Legends" #1 was written by John Ostrander and Len Wein, and pencilled by John Byrne (one of the greats among Superman artists and writers). It heralds the beginning of the new Task Force X / Suicide Squad, by providing us with the first appearance of Amanda "The Wall" Waller, who calls on Colonel Rick Flag, Jr. to lead her new version of Task Force X. This occurs in the middle of Darkseid's evil plan to to humiliate and destroy Earth's superheroes, leaving it open for his conquest.
FUN FACT 1 - This is Captain Marvel's (those of you who are young comics fans, may only know him as Shazam) first post-Crisis appearance, and BOY! are there some changes. He's living in San Francisco and working for a TV station called KWHZ.
FUN FACT 2 - Amanda Waller has been portrayed by six actresses (three live-action films, three-animated films/shows): Angela Bassett, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Viola Davis, C.C.H. Pounder, Penny Johnson and Yvette Nicole Brown.
FUN FACT 3 - This issue also has the first appearance of the monster, Brimstone.
FUN FACT 4 - In "Legends" #1, Glorious Godfrey, an Elite of the New Gods of Apokolips, is sent to enact a smear campaign against the heroes of Earth, operating under the guise of G. Gordon Godfrey - a reference to Watergate mastermind, G. Gordon Liddy.
"Legends" #3 gives us the very first appearance of the new iteration of the Suicide Squad, now a group of the worst of the worst of super-villains, recruited by a covert government entity to take on missions from which they might not return. This is done under the watchful eye of Amanda Waller, and under the iron hand of the team leader, Colonel Rick Flag, Jr.. The Suicide Squad is revived even as Darkseid's plan to humiliate the superheroes goes forward. The people turn against the superheroes, and President Reagan issues an edict that forbids all superhero activity. On to more FUN FACTS!!
FUN FACT 5 - This Suicide Squad is comprised of Enchantress, Deadshot, Blockbuster, Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger and Colonel Rick Flag, Jr.. TEX thinks Bronze Tiger is THE BOMB. Here is a pic showing the original team on one side, and the second team on the other:
FUN FACT 6 - Some members of this Suicide Squad are serving to be pardoned from their prison sentences and are fitted with explosive bracelets, just in case they get out of line. However, Enchantress, Bronze Tiger and Blockbuster do not have explosive bracelets, as they joined the team of their own accord, and for their own reasons.
FUN FACT 7 - Don't get attached to Blockbuster...In this issue, he goes to that big penitentiary in the sky. Or the one in the other place. I don't know. Because I'm not a judge-y-MacJudge-y-pants.
FUN FACT 8 - It looks like this version of Task Force X / The Suicide Squad is inspired by the classic film, "The Dirty Dozen." If you have't seen it, you should. It's pretty great.
As promised, I've taken you from the very first appearance of a very different Suicide Squad in 1959, to the emergence the second that is more like the one we know today - the same that will soon make its appearance on the big screen. And that is the story thus far...But WAIT!! There's more!!
Unfortunately...You'll have to wait until PART III!!
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