“I wanted to make it a book that if you wanted to know what was going on in the DCU, you would read Suicide Squad,” Williams said. “There was a feeling that perhaps in the past they had been a little bit peripheral in their adventures.”
Now these deplorable heroes have never been more in demand. Thanks to a record-breaking feature-film debut and the successful run behind DC’s current Suicide Squad title via Williams and artist Jim Lee, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and the rest of the squad are more popular than ever — and they even have an anticipated match-up against the Justice League on the horizon in Joshua Williamson’s Justice League vs. Suicide Squad event later in December.
But before the squad takes on Bats, Supes, and DC’s brightest and bravest heroes, Williams is laying down the groundwork for the DC Rebirth event in Suicide Squad #8. The wildly entertaining book not only brings one antihero back from the “dead” — did you really think Boomerang was gone for good? — but it also introduces Belle Reve’s newest inmate: Killer Frost.
Caitlin Snow’s long-awaited return to the page in Suicide Squad #8 will give readers a “rookie’s-eye view” into Amanda Waller’s Task Force X, Williams said. When Killer Frost is recruited into the Suicide Squad, there’s still some good left in her, and it’s that vulnerability that Williams wanted to explore.
“She’s a heat vampire,” he said. “She can suck the life right out of people, so she’s a really scary and powerful force as a supervillain. And yet there’s also a vulnerability in her too. You get the sense that maybe she’s trying to act tough, but she’s no match for the real evil she meets in Belle Reve.”
No one can make your blood run cold quite like Amanda Waller, whom Williams dubs “the biggest monster of them all” in Suicide Squad. Caitlin’s internal struggle between good and bad will be a major catalyst for the events in Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, and Williams went into the book knowing that DC had plans for Snow to be a future member of the Justice League going forward. In many ways, Suicide Squad is the perfect jumping-off point for Killer Frost. After all, she isn’t the only character fighting her more villainous instincts.
In Suicide Squad #8, Harley Quinn finds herself going surprisingly sane after General Zod’s Black Vault turns everyone else in Belle Reve insane. For Williams, writing Harley not as DC’s favorite mentally deranged troublemaker but rather as Doctor Harleen Quinzel was one of the most enjoyable parts of the book.
“When I was trying to wrap my head around Harley in the beginning, the thing that stuck with me more than anything is that she’s a really, really smart woman,” Williams said. “I try not to forget that when I’m writing Harley. That makes her, to me, way more interesting to write. She is insane, and she’s the wacky, chaos-loving person we know and love, but every once in a while she’ll say something incredibly smart — and then she’ll talk about eating her own boogers two seconds later.”
Still, Harley getting her sanity back exposes her own vulnerabilities. When the effects of the Black Vault wear off thanks to Harley’s heroism, she’s the one left in her own delusions. “It’s an incredibly cruel thing to do,” he said. “Getting her sanity back is something she wants, and then she has to sacrifice that in order to save the day.”
But that’s what Williams does so well with Suicide Squad. Every character, even the worst of the worst, is a human being — and they’ve all got stories and tragedies. Even Killer Croc, someone who could be extremely one-note in another writer’s hands, has wants and desires. “That’s what you have to find in all of them,” Williams said. “They are quite tragic characters, as fun and over-the-top and incredibly violent as they are.”
And then there’s Boomerang, who thinks he’s a god now. Even when Suicide Squad gets deep, it’s still the fun, high-stakes, action-packed story we’ve come to expect from these irreverent punks.