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The Suicide Squad’s Name Had an Even Darker Meaning

Amanda Waller’s Task Force X sees DC’s most lethal criminals, offering these criminals a chance to earn their freedom by taking up dangerous missions where death is almost guaranteed – giving the unit their nickname of Suicide Squad. However, it is revealed that the first iteration of Suicide Squad wasn’t named keeping in mind that each member will make it home, but for an even darker element of their mission.

The History Of Suicide Squad

1959's Suicide Squad
1959’s Suicide Squad

The group we’re talking about is Squadron S, a unit that served in a World War II operation that was known as ‘War That Time Forgot’ with some missions that happen at Dinosaur Island. The team was led was Rick Flag Sr. – whose son would go on to lead future versions of Suicide Squad, including the team that we saw in 1959’s Brave and The Bold #25 – Squadron S was a team that served as a dumping ground for soldiers that were too difficult or damaged to serve anywhere.

The Missions They Took Were Considered Grounds For Suicide

Suicide Squad in Apokolips Now
Suicide Squad in Apokolips Now

While Squadron S took dangerous missions, Secret Origins #14 reveals that they named themselves Suicide Squad not because they didn’t expect to make it back home but simply because the missions they took were too petrifying and were “considered grounds for suicide.” While the teams formed later would embrace the fact that death was guaranteed as a member of Suicide Squad, the original members considered death preferable to their posting. This makes a bit more sense in the context of War That Time Forgot which saw Squadron S facing the possibility of being eaten alive by predators.

While later teams would capitalize on the idea that they only take the most dangerous missions, fans of James Gunn can understand the Squadron S logic. In the opening minutes of the film, Waller’s first team is massacred at Corto Maltese with some disturbing last moments. Hardened by this, criminal Savant flees the battlefield despite knowing that Waller will punish him for this disobedience by triggering a bomb in his neck, killing him.

Despite the grim origin of the name, Rick Flag Sr and his son would carry the legacy forward through time, christening teams in the future such as Waller’s Task Force X and Mission X quartet. It’s quite understandable that they’d try to fudge their name origin, allowing it to stand for the team members’ bravery for risking their lives rather than the promise of those horrible deaths that await them. Still, even if they get to know the truth about the group’s name, it wouldn’t help much, as Waller now takes the precaution of threatening the families of those who resisted being drafted on her team.