Once again TEX is ready to rock your socks off with some comic-book knowledge from years gone by! Today we get into part III of the origin and evolution of TASK FORCE X...AKA...THE SUICIDE SQUAD!!
In part I, we talked about the first appearance and origin of the first group to call themselves Task Force X in 1959, and in part II, we talked about the reemergence of the team in 1986, the new roster, and its new, felonious condition.
Now, let's fast-forward to May of 1987, where things really begin to get HOT:
It's my copy of Secret Origins (vol. 2) #14 - a quiet key issue for fans of The Suicide Squad. This issue clears up all the questions about the original team, gives us Amanda Waller's origin story for the very first time, and shows us how Waller convinces President Reagan to keep the team active. Waller hands the President a file detailing The Suicide Squad's greatest tales of derring-do. This issue also introduces retcons to The Suicide Squad, tying them to the Suicide Squadron that fought "The War That Time Forgot," and it features the first appearance of Rick Flag, Sr., retconned leader of the "first" Suicide Squad(ron), that is the father of Rick Flag, Jr., leader of the second team. Essentially, "Secret Origins" #14, shows us the link between the Silver Age team, and the second iteration of the team. Cool.
Some consider John Ostrander's Suicide Squad to be THE DEFINITIVE version of the team. I agree. DC was pretty daring after "Crisis On Infinite Earths," and took a big chance letting Ostrander go into pretty dark places with the creation of Amanda Waller, and the new Task Force X full of hardened criminals used as throw-away pieces under the threat of instant execution. Ostrander took some lesser-known villains and turned them into household names - in homes where comic books were read, I mean. Under Ostrander, The Suicide Squad was sometimes brutal, sometimes ruthless, but always a GREAT read.
FUN FACT 1: Sarge Steel is Waller's adversary in this issue - he wants the Suicide Squad shut down.
FUN FACT 2: Sarge Steel is a cool character that DC acquired from the now-defunct comics publisher, Charlton Comics. And yes, I have his first appearance in my collection. ;-)
FUN FACT 3: If you want to learn more about the DCU, and your favorite characters, you'd be hard pressed to find a better set of comics to read than "Secret Origins" vol. 2. Get it. Read it. You'll be glad you did.
FUN FACT 4: The absence of Bronze Tiger in the latest version of The Suicide Squad (and movie version) is VERY puzzling to TEX. Undoubtedly, since the 80s, he has been one of the best things about the team. You have to respect a dude that can put Batman and his butt anytime he feels like doing so.
Thus ends part III of our journey into the origin and evolution of The Suicide Squad. But the party IS NOT done, folks! Join me next time as we get into a very important first: The Suicide Squad in their very own title!! Come back, same TEX-time, same TEX-station!!
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