In the DC Universe, the bad guys could do a good deed. But there would be a price to pay for it. When the Suicide Squad made its first appearance in 1959, many were jolted from their Stepford-like existence. Writer Robert Kanigher created another universe, where villains would find redemption. Some were intrigued by the premise, as they wondered if the Pentagon formed secret missions. It had something to do with the Cold War. Not that the members of the Intelligence didn't want to get caught, but it could be a high-risk mission. Failure would lead to their demise. If they came back in one piece, they might be thrown under a bus.
Could the members of the Suicide Squad be a bunch of suckers? Not really. They were criminals on the loose, which the US government would turn a blind eye to. The American president would need them to keep a check on the superheroes, whom the American public have been wary of. And these bad guys must deal with their kind, some of whom won't compromise with the authorities. These would make the Suicide Squad the good guys of a sort, right? Not exactly. Not if Amanda Waller wasn't around.
For almost six decades, the Suicide Squad would shock and fascinate DC Comics readers. It won't be for everyone, but they were aware of the risks. Kanigher and the succeeding writers (of the series) knew the psychological impact, so there was a detached feeling to the highly-charged tales of Amanda Waller and her ragtag team. Moreover, artist Ross Andru featured human touches that would make readers have second thoughts. But they must not find themselves in the same room with these people.
Here are five things that would keep the readers hooked to these villains:
Harleen Frances Quinzel could be the de facto leader of the Suicide Squad. She was a psychologist at the Arkham Asylum, who fell for the Joker's charm. They have an abusive relationship, and as Dr. Quinzel found out, she wasn't the only woman who had an on-and-off affair with the Joker. But she turned out to be the only gal for him. Many would be surprised that the Joker couldn't live without her. And he was jealous of Harleen's secret affair with Deadshot. Amanda Waller thought she had low esteem, but it seemed to be the opposite. Harley Quinn was too good for any man, and she was the (blind) leader of the Suicide Squad.
Enmity kept this group of supervillains together. You must keep your friends close to you, and your enemies closer. Kanigher couldn't illustrate it better in this bizarre series, where Deadshot and Boomerang would find themselves joining forces for a common cause. Readers could only speculate the possible reasons behind their intense hatred toward one another. (It had something to do with a previous mission, where they found themselves on opposing sides. And they detested each other's guts.) This would be Waller's motive as well, but readers could be taken aback by the next revelation.
Amanda Waller might have a grudge to deal with. It won't take one series to figure out that Amanda Waller was once an active member of a clandestine group. And they would do a dirty job for Uncle Sam. There was no doubt that she made enemies through the years, which was why the Suicide Squad was a top-secret organization. And her experience taught her how to deal with supervillains. If she won't be one of the strongest female characters in the comic world, then Kanigher created the most enigmatic figure. She could have a family living somewhere. She would show her feminine side to a few people. And she won't take the easy route.
Most members of the Suicide Squad have a thing with Bruce Wayne. Deadshot was once Batman's fiercest villain. Harley Quinn was Joker's sidekick, where the two would keep Gotham City on a perpetual state of mayhem. And Poison Ivy was one of Waller's early recruits. This would make some wonder if Waller used to be a colleague of Commissioner Gordon. She could only give a stoic expression.
What would happen if the American public discovered the Suicide Squad? The US wouldn't be safe anymore, but this seemed to be the message that Kanigher (and the succeeding writers of the series) have been sending to the readers. It couldn't be more alarming than the current state of (political) affairs. Waller might have a link to Hilary Clinton, and she won't spill the beans on Donald Trump. And this might be the beginning of the end for American society. For the members of the Suicide Squad, death would be for suckers.