King Shark to Polka Dot Man


One of the most exciting DC movies on the horizon is James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Not quite a reboot but not really a true sequel, either, the film — described as a “1970s war movie” by producer Peter Safran — will bring back familiar faces like Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag, and Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang. But besides that, the colorful cavalcade of characters is made up of some mighty obscure DC Comics ne’er-do-wells. One of them is covered in polka dots. Another appears to be wearing a chrome disco ball on his head. Another still is, like, a very amiable shark.

Who are these new members of Task Force X? Below, we explain the backstories, histories, and defining characteristics of this new squad. Also, since Warner Bros. is almost exclusively marketing this film by promising almost all these people are going to die (“Don’t get too attached”), we also predict the odds of each character making it out of this thing alive. You know. For “fun”.

These are all the new characters in The Suicide Squad, explained.

RELATED: First Red-Band ‘The Suicide Squad’ Trailer Reveals James Gunn’s R-Rated Sequel, King Shark and All

Peacemaker (John Cena)


Image via Warner Bros.

In the first teaser for The Suicide Squad, John Cena described Peacemaker as a “kind’ve douchey Captain America”, and you can’t really hit the nail any harder on the head. Created by writer Joe Gill and artist Pat Boyette for Charlton Comics’ espionage series Fightin’ 5, Peacemaker is Christopher Smith, a fanatical pacifist who believes so strongly in fairness and non-violence that he absolutely will mess your entire day up to defend it. The tagline on the cover of Peacemaker #1 is perfect: “A man who loves peace so much that he is willing to fight for it!” The character made the hop from Charlton to DC in the mid-80s and got a tad bit more back-story, and by that, I mean Peacemaker is straight-up insane. His brutal methodology is brought on by the extreme guilt of having a Nazi for a father, who he sees as a ghost commenting on his every move. (I’m just saying, Gunn hasn’t announced what role Taika Waititi is playing and it wouldn’t be the first time he played an imaginary Nazi.)

The main thing to focus on here is the fact Peacemaker wears a comically round chrome-dome on his head, and the sight of that thing perched atop John Cena’s indescribably wide shoulders will, ironically, bring peace to humankind.

DEATH ODDS: We’ll See. It’s just historically hard to kill anything with the general thickness of John Cena, but the character of Peacemaker lends itself to an antagonistic role, especially in a movie that’s bound to be filled with double-crossin’. He’s starring in an HBO Max spinoff for the Peacemaker character, but Gunn won’t reveal if the show takes place before or after the movie.

King Shark


Image via Warner Bros.

As you can see quite clearly, King Shark is a shark that is also a man, and he is wonderful. Thanks to the behind-the-scenes footage, we know Steve Agee is doing the mo-cap for the character. He’s almost a no-brainer to do the voice as well, but Agee’s name conspicuously doesn’t pop up in the character introduction video. When the film’s first trailer dropped, it was revealed that King Shark will be voiced by none other than Sylvester Stallone.

King Shark first fully surfaced in 1994’s Superboy #9—written by Karl Kesel with art from Tom Grummet—the son of Chondrakha the God of all Sharks and a human mother. Listen, man, don’t think about it. Real name Nanaue, King Shark is under-the-sea royalty, and for a few years comics portrayed him as a brutal killing machine who tangoed with everybody from Superman to Aquaman. Recently, though, the character has found new life as sort of an affable doofus—shout-out to Ron Funches’ pitch-perfect voice performance in HBO Max’s Harley Quinn—who also, occasionally, is a brutal killing machine.

DEATH ODDS: Low. This is simply based on the fact that if I have to watch King Shark die with my own two eyes I will handcuff myself to the Warner Bros. water tower until the decision is reversed.

Bloodsport (Idris Elba)


Image via Warner Bros.

First appearing in the pages of 1984’s Superman #4—written and penciled by John Byrne—Bloodsport is a relatively small-time character with a huge claim to fame: Straight-up shooting Superman with a Kryptonite bullet. Bloodsport’s real name is Robert DuBois, a man who has a nervous breakdown after his brother loses his limbs—like, all of them—in the Vietnam war. Lex Luthor preys on the vulnerable DuBois, setting his sights on Superman and arming him with Kryptonite-fueled weaponry. There is a second Bloodshot, a fanatical white supremacist who kills the first Bloodsport and adopts his name ironically, but I am relatively sure Idris Elba will not be playing that Bloodsport.

DEATH ODDS: Low. By all accounts, Bloodsport is being positioned as a new main character of this not-quite-a-reboot-but-come-on Suicide Squad.

Polka Dot Man (David Dastmalchian)


Image via Warner Bros.

Polka Dot Man belongs to the class of criminals that popped up in the first few months of Batman’s crusade on crime, the ones who saw a guy dressed like a bat and said “well, okay, if you want to get weird with it.” No one got weirder than Abner Krill—created by writer Bill Finger and artist Sheldon Moldoff for Detective Comics #300—a thief whose whole thing is polka dots. His suit is covered in polka dots that, somehow, transform into various weapons. (Buzzsaw polka dot!) His crimes tend to be vaguely dot-themed. (His first appearance? Robbing the Spot Carpet Cleaning Company.) In The Suicide Squad, Polka Dot Man will be played by David Dastmalchian, who you might know best as the Arkham Asylum inmate interrogated by Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight or the truly delightful hacker Kurt in the Ant-Man movies.

DEATH ODDS: We’ll See. I mean, when you’re teasing a movie filled with 1970s-style war set-pieces, you don’t automatically assume the guy in the polka-dot spandex makes it out alive. But there’s no world where Polka Dot Man doesn’t become a fan favorite, and I’m sure James Gunn knows this. Whether that makes it more or less likely that the character gets blown to pieces is up in the air.

Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior)


Image via Warner Bros.

Ratcatcher 2, played by relative newcomer Daniela Melchior, is one of two new characters completely dreamed up by Gunn for The Suicide Squad. But where there’s a Ratcatcher 2 there was once a Ratcatcher Prime—the behind-the-scenes teaser seemed to show him in a flashback sequence—and that’s a character that’s been giving Batman grief since the 80s. Otis Flannegan showed his gas-masked face for the first time in Detective Comics #585, written by Alan Grant and John Wagner with art by Norm Breyfogle. Otis was an actual Gotham City ratcatcher who discovered he had a strange affinity for training the little rodents to do his bidding. In Gotham, discovering you have a very specifically-themed talent means only one thing: It’s time to do crimes. If Ratcatcher 2 studied under the original, expect an extremely furry army to feature in The Suicide Squad.

DEATH ODDS: Low. The combination of casting a fresh-faced actress and giving her an original role suggests Ratcatcher 2 is key to the plot of The Suicide Squad.

Savant (Michael Rooker)


Image via Warner Bros.

Savant, real name Brian Durlin, is truly a villain for our modern times: A spoon-fed heir to a vast fortune who moves to Gotham City because “vigilante” seems like a cool, sexy career move. Created in 2003 by writer Gail Simone and artist Ed Benes, Durlin is a genius but a chemical imbalance in his brain causes him to remember events non-linearly. My dude is a walking Christopher Nolan screenplay, and Michael Rooker is going to have a field day with it. Savant is most often associated with the Birds of Prey, first as a dangerous thorn in their side—he kidnapped and tortured Black Canary in hopes of getting Batman’s true identity out of Barbara Gordon—and then as an unstable ally. So, fun times ahead for the interactions between Rooker and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.

DEATH ODDS: High. Savant is pretty perfectly set in the middle-of-the-pack between very entertaining and very expendable, plus I genuinely believe Gunn would find it funny to kill long-time buddy Michael Rooker on-screen as violently as possible.

RELATED: New ‘The Suicide Squad’ Character Posters Reveal the Massive Ensemble

Mongal (Mayling Ng)


Image via Warner Bros.

Mongal is an alien hailing from the planet Debstam IV, a desolate little ball of mud she shares with her warlord father, Mongul, and equally barbaric brother, Mongul the Younger. An extremely chill family, overall. Mongal first appeared in Showcase ’95 #8—written by Peter Tomasi, penciled by Scott Eaton—making quite a splash alongside her brother by picking a fight with Superman because they heard he was talking shit about their father. (A fight that spanned all of Metropolis and was eventually broken up by Krypto, an extremely good dog.) In The Suicide Squad, Mongal will be played by actress and black belt Martial Artist Mayling Ng—who also appeared as an Amazonian in Wonder Woman—so you know some asses are about to be kicked. Mongal’s place on the team is similar to, say, Enchantress’ role in the first Suicide Squad, in the sense that it’ll be interesting to see how someone this genuinely powerful fits in next to people who are, like, chucking boomerangs into machine gun fire.

DEATH ODDS: We’ll see. It seems so far that The Suicide Squad is its own contained thing, but Mongal does have cosmic connections that could come in handy if the movie did want to set anything up for the future. However, Mongal’s not exactly a fan favorite, and her general badassery is a prime choice for an early death that plays like more than a joke.

Weasel (Sean Gunn)


Image via Warner Bros.

In the comics, the Weasel moniker is much more of a…symbolic thing than it appears to be in The Suicide Squad. Created by Gerry Conway and Rafael Kayanan, John Monroe is a Stanford University student driven to madness by the bullying of his peers, chief among them the nickname “weasel”, which, yeah that’s worth a murder or two. After graduating and becoming a professor himself, Monroe made himself a “Weasel” costume, complete with razor-sharp claws and teeth, and killed three of his former tormentors before Firestorm stepped in. The character grew more feral and less human with each passing appearance. His one big stint in the Suicide Squad, during a story by writer John Ostrander and artist Erik Larsen, ended with Weasel going rogue and murdering the Thinker, only to get killed himself by team leader Rick Flag. Teamwork!

DEATH ODDS: High. Again, Weasel’s history with the team is mostly notable for the way he lost his whole damn mind and tried to kill everyone. However, Gunn seems to have pivoted into a Rocket Raccoon direction—complete with a mo-cap performance from Sean Gunn—and less of a homeless serial killer who thinks he’s a street rat kind of thing. 

Blackguard (Pete Davidson)


Image via Warner Bros.

The #1 most important piece of information by a wide margin that you need to know about Blackguard is that his real name is Dick Hertz. SNL star Pete Davidson is playing Dick Hertz. What a time to be alive. Besides the Dick Hertz of it all, Blackguard first appeared in the very first issue of Booster Gold, written and drawn by Dan Jurgens, a low-ranking member of Metropolis’ underground criminal syndicate known as The 1,000. From day one, Blackguard’s whole thing is that he’s big, strong, dressed like a Medieval Times employee, and kind’ve sucks at his job. Years after his first appearance, Blackguard enjoyed a short stint as a Suicide Squad member, a tenure that ended with the dude getting viciously beheaded in front of everyone.

DEATH ODDS: High. Back when Davidson first signed on to The Suicide Squad, the report specifically noted it was a “small role”. Blackguard is only going to be alive just long enough for “Dick Hertz” to be said out loud roughly one dozen times.

The Thinker (Peter Capaldi)


Image via Warner Bros.

The Thinker is a name used by a whopping four different men across DC Comics history, but only two were associated with Task Force X, so let’s start there. The first, Clifford DeVoe—created by writer Gardner Fox and artist E.E. Hibbard—was a Gotham lawyer who realized that the city’s criminal underworld was mostly populated by very powerful dumbasses. DeVoe became the brains behind many a nefarious operation, aided by his greatest scientific invention, the “Thinking Cap”, a metal hat that amplified DeVoe’s genius and gave him telekinetic abilities. (It also, in one of the more depressing developments ever, gave him cancer.)

The second Thinker, created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Al Milgrom, is Cliff Carmichael, is much younger, a long-time rival throughout high school and college to Firestorm’s younger half, Ronnie Raymond. In an act of jealous dickishness, Cliff cut the strap on Ronnie’s football helmet hoping for an injury, but a last-minute helmet swap paralyzed Cliff’s cousin, Hugo Hammer, instead. Driven mad by the mistake, Cliff was admitted to a mental hospital, which just happened to be conducting experiments on Clifford DeVoe’s “Thinking Cap”. Because sketchy mental institution experiments have never not created a supervillain, Cliff Conway ended up with pieces of The Thinking Cap implanted into his actual brain and a new Thinker was born.

DEATH ODDS: High. Due to the Peter Capaldi casting and Thinker’s history of betraying literally everyone he works with, it feels like the Thinker of The Suicide Squad might be more of an antagonistic presence than someone mixing it up with the crew.

Javelin (Flula Borg)


Image via Warner Bros.

Good Grodd do I love Javelin, a Green Lantern villain who doesn’t have any other name but Javelin, whose entire thing is he is a former Olympic athlete who throws a javelin at superheroes now. The cover of his first appearance—Green Lantern #173 by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Gibbons—bears the phrase “Beware the Javelin, my son!” which is hilarious both in and out of context. It’s also at least 10x funnier when you look at the cover itself and see Javelin isn’t even hitting Green Lantern with a Javelin. My dude yelled “Beware the Javelin, my son!” then hit Hal Jordan in the chest with a jar of honey. The point being, Javelin is a purposely ridiculous gem who is going to play like gangbusters in a James Gunn movie. Especially when he’s played by German comedian Flula Borg, whose entire essence can be summed up by this Youtube video where he discusses a girl named Jennifer who poops at parties.

DEATH ODDS: High. See above.

T.D.K. (Nathan Fillion)


Image via Warner Bros.

T.D.K. is the second original character in The Suicide Squad, and while I’m still not actually allowed to say what T.D.K. stands for, it’s definitely out there, and I’m pretty sure you can figure it out with help from the image of the dude’s arms detached from his body. Basically, Nathan Fillion is playing a version of Arm-Fall-Off-Boy, a villain from the 1980s with the astounding ability to take his arms off. Creators Gerard Jones and Curt Swan are geniuses and deserve every comic award in history. There’s not much to say here except that getting to watch Nathan Fillion wallop goons with his own limbs is a gift that we truly do not deserve.

DEATH ODDS: High. James Gunn made up a character who has the least useful superpower of all time and gave it to his buddy Nathan Fillion. In a perfect world, T.D.K. would carry an entire series and Fillion would eventually win an Oscar for it, but we don’t live in a perfect world, do we?

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About The Author

Vinnie Mancuso
(1648 Articles Published)

Vinnie Mancuso is a Senior Editor at Collider, where he is in charge of all things related to the 2018 film ‘Aquaman,’ among other things. You can also find his pop culture opinions on Twitter (@VinnieMancuso1) or being shouted out a Jersey City window between 4 and 6 a.m.

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