Of all the movies on DC's upcoming calendar, Suicide Squad is the oddest. If it's anything like the comics, it'll feature a ragtag group of criminals working together to reduce their jailtime by completing dangerous missions. It's coming in 2016, right after the Batman v. Superman movie; the short timetable indicates a lot of confidence on DC's part. Their biggest hurdle will be finding a way to introduce these characters and why audiences should care about them. Lucky for DC, the Suicide Squad movie already has a lot of good things going for it.
Comic book movies sometimes have the trouble of lacking a definitive story from which to work from. Is there an end-all Flash comic that a film adaptation simply could not ignore? Does Night Thrasher have a story out there just begging to be put on the big screen? Thankfully, Suicide Squad doesn't have that kind of problem. There've been a few incarnations over the years, but most agree that the best version of the squad was the first "modern" iteration, as depicted by writer John Ostrander and artists like Luke McDonnell, Bob Lewis and Karl Kesel. Beginning in the era of ALF, the Suicide Squad followed a group of reluctant D-list supervillains like Vixen, Mindboggler and Rick Flag Jr. on top-secret government operations. The idea being that if the missions go well, the villains will walk free, but if somebody cocks up, the government could easily deny any involvement with the likes of Captain Boomerang.
Suicide Squad managed to pull a handful of weird nobodies from the depths of obscurity and make the characters likable, their adventures engaging. The fun concept and winning execution has endeared fans for years, to the point that a Suicide Squad fan comic has developed a huge following.
Michel Fiffe has made no bones about the massive influence of Ostrander's Suicide Squad on Copra, the comic that got him noticed by Marvel. That's not to imply that Fiffe isn't extremely talented in general or by any means should send us free copies of Copra, but the fact that Suicide Squad directly inspired a great artist to make a fantastic comic speaks volumes about the versatility of the source material.
I guess when it comes down to it, Suicide Squad is another "misfits on a mission" movie. Which means...
It seems pretty likely that Guardians of the Galaxy played a big part in DC fast-tracking a Suicide Squad movie. Not only did they announce SS less than two years ahead of time, the release date is August 5 -- less than a week from the Guardians' impressive debut in the same month this year. DC wants to nestle their own gang of underdogs in the disturbing but comforting buttwarmth of Marvel's old chair. But there's a key difference here -- the Suicide Squad is full of bad guys.
Whereas the Guardians were able to put aside their differences and come together as a family in suspiciously speedy fashion, the Suicide Squad has never had that kind of bond. Most of the members are out for their own interests, and while relationships inevitably form, they're just as easily shattered. If the Guardians of the Galaxy do bad stuff but are essentially good inside, the Suicide Squad is the opposite -- any kind act they might perform is incidental to the rotten garlic knots that beat inside their chests. It sounds a little bleak, but if done right it could be a lot of fun to be ashamed to root for these guys. I just wouldn't count on a Jackson 5 dance number.