Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Suicide Squad #67

“Danse Macabre” Part 1

Writer: Gail Simone & John Ostrander

Artist: J. Calafiore

Editor: Sean Ryan


The Fiddler is raised as a Black Lantern, and his first target is the man who killed him…Deadshot! Meanwhile, the Suicide Squad draws the Secret Six into a trap even as Black Lantern rings descend upon Belle Reve to raise a group of dead heroes and villains…


Page 1: Suicide Squad (first series) ran from issue #1 in 1987 until issue #66 in 1992.

This is a brief recap of the life and death of the Fiddler. Worth mentioning is that, while his revised origin as seen in Hawkworld Annual #1 remains intact, his death in that issue has been ignored, probably due to a Crisis of the Zero Infinite Hour or some such event.

“My triumph was making him, his fellows and the entire city not only disappear, but forgotten until another Flash restored them all.” A reference to the classic “Flash of Two Worlds!” story, originally told in The Flash (first series) #123, and retold in Secret Origins #50. The Fiddler had some help from the Thinker and the Shade in making Keystone City disappear, but you’ll probably never hear him say that.

Page 2: The Fiddler, real name Isaac Bowin. First appeared in All-Flash #32. Killed in Villains United #1. Able to use his violin music to hypnotize others and generate powerful sonic waves. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.

“Irwin Bowin of Earth.” Aaaaaaaaah! The Fiddler’s real name is “Isaac Bowin,” not “Irwin Bowin,” as seen here, or “Isaac Bown” as seen on his casket in Blackest Night #1. Does someone have something against the Fiddler and his real name?

This page takes place concurrent with Blackest Night #3, page 26.

“Power Levels 57.01%” Hey, it’s been a while since we’ve seen this! That would place this scene right after Black Lantern Firestorm turns Gehenna into salt (Blackest Night #3, Power Levels 56.58%) and before Black Lantern Hawk kills Hawk III (Blackest Night: Titans #2, 57.03%).

Seen here emerging from their caskets underneath the Hall of Justice are Doctor Light II, Maxwell Lord IV, Copperhead, Alexander Luthor of Earth-Three, the Psycho-Pirate II, Brain Wave I and Baron Blitzkrieg. Black Lantern Firestorm watches from the sidelines.

Page 3: Fiddler uses his Black Lantern power ring to recreate his fiddle.

“Come on guys. There’s a few left upstairs.” Immediately after this, Black Lantern Firestorm and the raised villains attack Barry Allen, Ray Palmer and Mera in Blackest Night #4, pages 2-3.

Page 4: Count Vertigo, real name Werner Vertigo. First appeared in World’s Finest Comics #251. Able to fly and induce a vertigo affect which alters the balance of others and can induce dizziness.

Nightshade, real name Eve Eden. First appeared in Captain Atom (first series) #82. Able to create shadow constructs, become a two-dimensional shadow and transport herself and others through the Land of Nightshades.

Multiplex, real name Danton Black. First appeared (as Black) in Firestorm (first series) #1 and (as Multiplex) in Firestorm (first series) #2. Able to split off into duplicates of himself called duploids.

Richard Rogers “Rick” Flag, Jr., real name Anthony Miller. First appeared in The Brave and the Bold (first series) #25. Seemingly killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #26, but reappeared alive in Checkmate (second series) #6.

Bronze Tiger, real name Benjamin “Ben” Turner. First appeared in Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter #1. One of the world’s greatest martial artists, who has bested the Batman in hand-to-hand combat.

Yasemin Soze, first appeared in Birds of Prey #87. Possesses infallible aim with any gun of any kind.

Page 5: Dr. Amanda Blake Waller, also known as “the Wall.” First appeared in Legends #1. A master tactician, strategist and manipulator as well as a brilliant political analyst who is an expert with firearms.

“And now, I am given a choice – either work fulfilling this insane woman’s bloody agenda or she detonates the explosive chip she had implanted in my skull.” To keep their criminal operatives in line, the Suicide Squad implants an explosive chip in their operative’s skulls; if they fail to follow orders…Boom.

Page 6: “Officially, this, this team she put me on, they call themselves Task Force X. But in my circles, they go by another name. The Suicide Squad.” Because it’s hard to get government funding for a group called “the Suicide Squad,” bureaucrats had to give it a more-official sounding name, hence “Task Force X.”

Page 7: “Belle Reve” refers to Belle Reve Penitentiary is the prison located in Houma, Louisiana that serves as the base of operations for the Suicide Squad.

King Faraday, also known as I-Spy. First appeared in Danger Trail #1. A highly-trained espionage agent, skilled hand-to-hand combatant and an expert marksman.

Whatever Waller is doing with all of those metahuman corpses in that laboratory can’t possibly be good.

“You broke trust with him when you exiled him off planet with all the other villains.” This happened in the Salvation Run mini-series.

Page 8: “72 hours later.” Since the Suicide Squad-invades-Mexico scene occurred “72 hours earlier” than Fiddler rising, we can assume that this scene take place at the same time as the first.

“The House of Secrets, Rutland, Vermont.” The Secret Six uses the House of Secrets as its headquarters.

Bane, also known as “The Man Who Broke the Bat.” First appeared in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1. An expert at hand-to-hand combat in peak physical condition, he also possesses a genius-level intellect and is an expert strategist.

The redhead is Liana Kerzner, Scandal Savage’s girlfriend and date for the evening.

Ragdoll II, real name Peter Merkel, Jr. First appeared in Villains United #1. Has had his biological joints replaced with artificial ones, which allow him to bend, compress and contort his body in ways even master contortionists cannot.

Page 9: “I feel I must ask. What exactly are your intentions with my…with the girl.” Bane has developed an extremely unhealthy fascination with Scandal Savage and her relationships. Unhealthy because Scandal is a lesbian, and really isn’t attracted to Bane at all.

Scandal, full name Scandal Savage. First appeared in Villains United #1. A master of hand-to-hand combat who has enhanced durability due to being the daughter of Vandal Savage.

Page 10: Black Alice, real name Lori Zechlin. First appeared in Birds of Prey #76. Able to temporarily borrow the magical powers of other mystical heroes and villains.

Deadshot, real name Floyd Lawton. First appeared in Batman #59. An expert marksman with any type of gun who wears silenced, wrist-mounted magnum.

Catman, real name Thomas Blake. First appeared in Detective Comics #311. A superb hand-to-hand combatant, skilled in the use of bladed weapons.

Mockingbird is the mystery individual who blackmails the Secret Six into taking on missions that they might not normally undertake.

Page 11: “Twenty-four hours later.” Why it takes twenty-four hours for the team to get themselves together and onto their plan to fly down to Louisiana is beyond me.

Also, in terms of continuity, it really doesn’t feel like the entire Blackest Night storyline takes place over the course of more than a day. Sure, a lot of things happen, but certain issues seem to take place over a really short period of time, Blackest Night #6 being a prime example.

However, over in Blackest Night: The Flash #2, Barry Allen says that he’s been attempting to bury his feeling for the past “forty-eight hours,” which means that the Black Lantern crisis has been plaguing Earth for two days, so what do I know?

Jeannette, real name unrevealed. First appeared in Secret Six #3. Possesses the abilities of a banshee, including enhanced strength and durability, an extended life, can sense when one is about to die and is able to release a death wail, causing madness and death in others.

“I know this place. It’s a total craphole.” Deadshot spent plenty of time at Belle Reve Penitentiary as a member of the Suicide Squad.

Page 12: “CATMAN looks like an ad for Grant’s Gym…” I would assume that “Grant’s Gym” is owned by Ted Grant, also known as Wildcat.

Page 13: “I think it’s a giant Goth chick, lieutenant.” I like this line. I really like this line.

Page 14: “This place belongs to the scariest damn woman in history.” That would be Amanda Waller. She and Deadshot go way back.

Page 17: Virtuosa, real name unrevealed. First appeared in Villains United #5. Uses a high-tech fiddle to control others.

Page 22: More Black Lantern goodness coming your way…

Okay, fair warning time – some of these names don’t easily match up with the characters seen here. In fact, we are given seven names, but only six raised characters are depicted. Also, there’s one character that I just can’t place at all, and several of the names/secret identities are so completely out of the blue, they have never before been revealed. I know, I know, it’s fun. So, without further ado…

Manticore I, real name Anastasio Corvo. He’s the big, beastly guy on the left. This could very well be Manticore II, III or IV as well, and I am only guessing that his name is “Anastasio Corvo” because the name is close to the character. First appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #1. Killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #2. Possesses enhanced strength, durability, razor-sharp claws and a scorpion-like tail.

Psi, real name Gayle Marsh. She’s the woman in the bikini in the back, on the right. First appeared in The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1. Killed in The Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special #1. Able to tap into the unused portion of her mind and manifest psychokinetic abilities.

Atom III, real name Adam Cray. He’s peeking over Manticore’s left arm. First appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #44. Killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #61. Utilized Ray Palmer’s size-changing belt to allow him to shrink to subatomic size.

Ravan, no alternate identity known. He is to the right of the Atom. First appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #1. Killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #47. A skilled martial artist who uses a wire garrote and snake-headed dagger to kill his victims.

Shrike III, real name Angel Moore or Vanessa Kingsbury. Her true identity, to my knowledge, was never revealed, and neither of those names seems to link up with any other existing character. You can see her under Manticore’s left arm. First appeared in Justice League of America #234. Killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #25. Able to fly and emit a sonic scream.

The blond woman to the left of Psi? I have no idea who she is. None whatsoever. And that should say something, because I thoroughly enjoy identifying these wonderfully massive crowd scenes. I liked picking apart and naming everyone on that “Battle of Metropolis” two-page spread in Infinite Crisis #7. I have a sick fascination with identifying dead Green Lanterns. But this lady? No freaking clue.