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Task Force X

“This ain’t no task force. Let’s call it as it is – Welcome to the Suicide Squad.” – Deadshot

Task Force X, sometimes called the Suicide Squad, is an antihero team of incarcerated supervillains who act as deniable assets for the United States government agency S.W.O.R.D., undertaking high-risk black ops missions in exchange for commuted prison sentences. The group operates out of Belle Reve Penitentiary, under the directorship of Dr. Amanda Waller.

The Squad’s existence is top-secret, creating much tension within the group, and leading the Squad to be targeted by the likes of Superman and Batman (the latter was forced to back off from his investigation when the Squad leader threatened to use her considerable government resources to expose Batman’s secret identity).

This might be confusing, but Task Force X is a team within S.W.O.R.D. which is a division of S.H.I.E.L.D. which is an agency for the Department of Defense. S.W.O.R.D. also has three top-secret sister agencies E.A.G.L.E., A.R.M.O.R., and W.A.N.D. that were created in recent years. You can find out more about S.H.I.E.L.D. and it’s associated entities on the Factions page.

Task Force X

Timespan: c.1959 – c.1959

The original team consisted of Rick Flag, his girlfriend Sharon Race, Dr. Hugh Evans, and Jess Bright. The team’s 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.

Though this early incarnation of the team did not have the espionage trappings of later Squads, field leader Rick Flag’s personal history laid much of the groundwork for the future of the team.

The original Task Force X revolved around a quartet of non-powered soldiers fighting super-powered opponents. Their missions often involved conflict with dinosaurs, giants, and other monstrous creatures. In the team’s final mission, Dr. Evans died, and Jess Bright is captured by forces of the Soviet Union and transformed into the monstrous Koshchei. Rick Flag and Sharon Race were married.

The Suicide Squad

: c.1987 – c.1992

In the midst of Darkseid’s attempt to turn humanity against Earth’s superheroes, Dr. Amanda Blake Waller pulls Rick Flag’s son into active duty and assigned leadership of a reformed Task Force X, including Blockbuster, Captain Boomerang, and Deadshot. The Squad’s first mission is to eliminate Darkseid’s rampaging fire elemental Brimstone; Blockbuster died during the conflict, and Deadshot took the creature down with an experimental laser rifle.

When this new team was revived their new mandate involved the government employing a group of supervillains to perform missions that were almost certainly suicide runs, hence the nick name the Suicide Squad. Over the course of five years, this incarnation of the Suicide Squad undertook numerous high-risk missions for the U.S. government. The reason for their disbandment is still classified.

The Suicide Squad also took pains to humanize its relatively obscure team, partly via an in-house chaplain and psychiatric staff at the Squad’s Belle Reve headquarters. These staff members are frequently seen interviewing various Squad operatives or providing evaluations of their mental states; entire months were dedicated to examining personal lives and motivations of prominent members.

The Imposter Squad

Timespan: c.2001 – c.2002

This short-lived Suicide Squad, now designated Task Force Omega, was run by Sgt. Frank Rock. Together with his right-hand (and wheelchair-bound) man Bulldozer, Rock taps new members to round out the team’s mobile HQ. Rock is thought by several other characters to have been deceased since the end of World War II, and they are surprised to see him alive and well. Members on the final mission have strongly implied that Rock was an impostor, explaining the Squad being shut down after such a short time.

The New Squad

: c.2011 – 2014

In 2011, after a botched government mission forced her to execute an injured teammate, Amanda Damita Waller assembled an expendable field team, prompting the formation of a new Suicide Squad. After pulling former Squad member Deadshot into the program as the team’s leader, Waller forced dozens death row inmates into a series of rigorous tests and torture scenarios to evaluate their loyalty and value as potential Squad members. The finalists Were outfitted with micro-bomb implants, and inducted into the Squad.

The Suicide Squad’s missions typically involved the elimination or retrieval of high-value targets, tracking down AWOL team members, dealing with various terrorist groups, and targeting ‘problematic’ heroes.