Comics / DC Comics History

DC Comics History: Suicide Squad


By Deejay Dayton
May 9, 2017 - 9:19

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The original Suicide Squad, which debuted in Brave and the Bold during the period 1955 – 1959: Dawn of the Silver, bore only a slight resemblance to the team we know today. It was a secret government organization that dealt with major threats to the US, and was lead by Rick Flag, but everything else was different.

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The Suicide Squad made their debut in a story by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito in Brave and the Bold 25. This team was very much a Cold War entity, a paramilitary group, consisting of their leader, Rick Flag, an airforce colonel, Karin Grace, a nurse, and two scientists, Jess Bright and Hugh Evans.  The group is more formally known as Task Force X, sent by the government to deal with situations outside the scope of normal operations. This first outing sees the group sent to deal with a mysterious burning red wave caused by an undersea earthquake.  Once the wave reaches the shore, despite the attempts of the team to stop it, a dinosaur type creature emerges from it, with a kind of freeze vision power.  In between the battles the team has with the wave and the dinosaur, we get flashbacks that introduce the members of the Squad. In each case, the Squad members prove to have traumatic backgrounds, having been the sole survivors of battles and accidents, and getting told by their dying friends to carry on for them.  So really, this group are all an emotional mess.

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Ultimately, the team realize they cannot stop or kill the monster, so they lure to a rocket ship.  The creature climbs onto the rocket's exterior, and they pilot the craft into space.  They fly towards the Sun, and the gravity of the Sun is enough to pull the monster into it, although not so much that the rocket cannot get away. The story ends as they fly back to Earth, but continues in the next issue.

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In the first story in Brave and the Bold 26 Rick Flag, Karin Grace, Jess Bright and Hugh Evans are heading back to Earth after dropping the monster from the previous issue into the Sun, but encounter a meteor shower.  The meteors wind up causing the Suicide Squad members to shrink. This makes piloting their rocket very difficult, and they wind up going off course, crashing into the ocean.  They survive by riding a matchbox like a raft, as seen in the cover image. They land in enemy waters.  This presumably must be Russian waters, although the opposing country is not named in the story. 

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The team stumble across a plan to launch a nuclear attack on the US.  They take advantage of their small size to sabotage the nuclear base.  The shrinking effect wears off at the exact moment they need it to, just as they have found a plane that they can fly back to friendly territory.

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The second story in the issue is loosely linked to the first one, with the team on leave following their mission, in Paris.  There are a couple of errors in the tale, with Rick Flag's name spelled Flagg, and Karin's last name given as Davies. The Squad are on the Paris metro when a giant serpent just emerges out of a tunnel and attacks the car.  The serpent is invulnerable to most weaponry, and no one wants to risk nuking Paris to see if that would have an effect.

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The serpent is able to breathe air and water, but it does need to breathe.  Rick gets the idea to suffocate it, and they construct a big plastic bag.  As the serpent coils itself around the Eiffel Tower, they bag the head, and the monster suffocates to death.

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The first run of Suicide Squad in Brave and the Bold concludes in issue 27. The story opens and closes with a nuclear test, and in between deals with giant animals and a monstrous creature, so it sort of evokes Godzilla, even though there is no such creature in the tale.  At first Rick Flag, Karin Grace, Jess Bright and Hugh Evans have to deal with a giant moth that attacks their airplane as they head to look for a scientist. Reaching his lab, they find no trace of the man, but encounter another odd creature, a caterpillar that has grown to enormous size.  The reader is let in on what is going on before the Suicide Squad members figure it out, that the giant beasts have been enlarged and altered by the missing scientist's formula X. Thinking that the scientist might have been kidnapped by foreign agents, the team goes undercover at Ghost Lake, a resort where foreign agents often hang out when plotting to kidnap scientists, apparently. 

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They find no sign of the professor, but do wind up having to deal with a really huge, strange monster.  The creature kidnaps Karin, and also grabs the atomic bomb that is due to be tested.  Perhaps he is one of the foreign agents?  No, that's not the solution the story suggests. Rick and the other, less important team members, work to get Karin away from the monster and get the thing out to sea, where the exploding nuke seemingly kills it.  In the end, they theorize that the monster was really the missing scientist, transformed by his own formula X.  It might not be the right solution, but at least it ties everything up.


Suicide Squad returns in the next period, 1960 – 1964: the Silver Age.

Suicide Squad: Brave and the Bold 25 – 27 (Aug/Sept 59 – Dec/Jan 59/60)

Next up – Matt Savage, Trail Boss!

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Last Updated: May 15, 2017 - 12:13

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