Comparing groups is not always an easy task, but it is always very, very entertaining. We at Fiction Horizon have already done such comparisons and in wake of James Gunn’s new movie, we have decided to do a series of comparisons focused on the Suicide Squad. In this article, we are staying within the boundaries of the DC Universe, as we are going to see whether the Suicide Squad could defeat the Birds of Prey. Enjoy!
The answer to this question depends heavily on the roster of these two teams. Both have had stronger and weaker rosters, but if we take into consideration their most famous rosters, we honestly think that this battle would result in a draw; at least we couldn’t decide on a clear winner here. As for the movies, The Suicide Squad is far superior to Birds of Prey in absolutely every aspect.
Our primary comparison is going to be divided into two sections. The first is going to bring an overview of the two groups, after which we are going to bring you a detailed analysis of the two groups to determine which one would win in a direct clash. This is a bit different than our individual character comparisons, as it would take up too much time to compare each member, even if we only choose the most famous iterations, which is why we are going to do a collective analysis here. Finally, we are going to compare the two movies, as an extra element to this article.
The Suicide Squad and its members
The Suicide Squad is the name of a fictional team of supervillains that appears in comics published by DC Comics. The first version of the Suicide Squad debuted in The Brave and the Bold #25 (1959) and the second modern version, created by John Ostrander, debuted in Legends #3 (1987). The modern incarnation of the Suicide Squad is Task Force X, a team of incarcerated supervillains who go on secret missions in exchange for reduced prison terms. The Suicide Squad’s name alludes to the dangerous nature of its missions. The team is based at Belle Reve Penitentiary under the direction of Amanda Waller.
The Suicide Squad is a group of supervillains hired by the government to carry out missions that were classified as suicide because of their complexity. They were frequently paired with the government agency Checkmate, culminating in the Janus Directive crossover. These villains agreed to take on missions for the Suicide Squad, in exchange for commuting their sentences.
Although the team was successful in most of its missions, there were often failures or the death of one or more members. Non-inmate members such as Nemesis and Nocturna participate in the team as part of individual agreements. To prevent members from escaping into the camp, the prisoners were equipped with an explosive bracelet that detonated at a certain distance from the camp leader, who was typically Rick Flag who carried a remote control to detonate or deactivate the bracelets if desired.
The martial artist named Bronze Tiger acts as a disciplinary measure and later, following the death of Rick Flag, as the team’s field leader. The group is run by Amanda Waller, although she sometimes goes undercover, especially after the Suicide Squad’s existence became public. Eventually, the Suicide Squad breaks away from government control and becomes an independent organization.
The Suicide Squad’s first mission was against their recurring enemies, Jihad. They infiltrate their headquarters and proceed to kill most of the members. This event revealed the death of Mindboggler, the cowardly and treacherous nature of Captain Boomerang, Nocturna’s attraction to Rick Flag Jr., a rivalry between Rustam and Rick, and the defeat of Ravan at the hands of Bronze Tiger.
On Derek Tolliver’s orders, the Suicide Squad is sent to Moscow in order to free the captive Zoya Trigorin, a revolutionary writer. They come face to face with the “People’s Heroes”, a Russian group of metahumans. In the conflict, Trigorin dies and Nemesis (Tom Tresser) is captured. Nemesis eventually escapes thanks to a collaboration between the Suicide Squad and the Justice League International, although the two teams fight each other initially.
This conflict is primarily the result of Batman’s investigation into the Suicide Squad and his confrontation. with Waller. Later, Rick Flag Jr goes after Senator Cray in order to assassinate him. Previously, Senator Cray had blackmailed Amanda Waller; in order to secure his re-election, Cray threatened to expose the Suicide Squad to the public, potentially dangerous to the Squad’s existence and Waller’s career.
In order to stop him, the squad sends Deadshot to confront Flag shortly before he can shoot Cray, but he is too late to prevent the assassination and Tolliver is killed. Rather than disarm or kill Flag, Deadshot opts to kill Cray. In his understanding, he maintains the mission statement: to prevent the murder of Cray at the hands of Flag.
Against Flag Jr.’s intentions, the Suicide Squad exposes itself to the public. As a result of the exposure, Amanda Waller is replaced by a man named Jack Kale, in fact an actor, working as a cover so Waller can continue to coordinate the squad. Later, though, Waller disbands the Suicide Squad. However, Waller reunites the Squad again at a later point. It is made up of Bolt, Sledge, Killer Frost and Copperhead who are on a mission to South America. The superheroes Falcon and Paloma (Sasha Martens and Wolverman Wiley) face a new Suicide Squad.
Later, Lex Luthor, organizes another Suicide Squad during his tenure as President of the United States10 so that they can free Doomsday and confront Imperiex. This version of the team was led by Black Manchester, under Steel’s supervision. Doomsday apparently kills most of the Brigade after freeing him. Then Colonel Computron defected from the team and tried to contact Checkmate. He was murdered by Amanda Waller’s agents shortly after.
Birds of Prey and their members
The Birds of Prey are a group of superheroines, appearing in stories published by American comic book publisher, DC Comics. The original team, consisting of just Oracle (Barbara Gordon) and Black Canary (Dinah Lance), made their debut in Showcase #96 in March 1996, in Jordan B. Gorfinkel’s “Birds of a Feather” story. There, Oracle helped Canary in secret missions against smugglers and terrorists until later on new characters such as Huntress (Helena Rosa Bertinelli) and Lady Black Hawk (Zinda Blake) appeared.
Over the years, the group has included more members, including: Lady Shiva (Sandra Woosan), Hunter/Justice (Kate Spencer), Marginal (Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe), Savant (Brian K. Durlin), Creote (Aleksandr Creote), Big Barda (Barda Free), Gypsy (Cindy Reynolds), Master Judoka (Sonia Sato), Dark Alice (Lori Zechlin), Onyx (Onyx Adams), Counter-Spy (Katarina Armstrong), Infinity, Condor (Benjamin Reyes), Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), Vixen (Mari Jiwe McCabe), Columba (Dawn Granger), and even the Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz). The New 52 version, functioning as an extension of the Bat-family, added Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro), Sturnia (Ev Crawford) and Poison Ivy (Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley) to the original lineup, and even, although briefly, Catwoman (Selina Kyle).
Initially, as we’ve said, the group consisted of Oracle and Black Canary, who was the field agent. The team followed a line of action aimed at combating terrorists, major drug and/or arms traffickers. Throughout the initial stories, introduced Robin, Nightwing and Blue Beetle as relatively frequent participants in the group’s operations. Jason Bard also appeared, but with much less frequency, mostly because he was hospitalized after one of the missions and was blind for a while.
Chuck Dixon, the series’ first writer, managed to leave the series with a very good story rhythm, as he made constant connections between the arcs. It was common for an event to need two arcs to be counted in its entirety. In addition, it was customary to have one-shot stories (“closed” stories, from a single edition), which could be used as a link between one arc and another, or simply be a vehicle for the members’ everyday story.
After Dixon left the series, it went through a period of uncertainty about cancellation due to the questionable quality of the stories and acceptance among fans. At this stage, Terry Moore and later Gilbert Hernandez wrote the series. A sequence of strange stories took place during this period, such as Moore’s arc, in which Barbara returns to walk for a brief period, through the action of a meta-human girl and the other arc, told by Hernandez, which is basically a Black Canary’s teamwork with Rex Mason the Shapeshifter, where a series of transformations in Rex’s family, caused by a high-tech weapon, result in big problems for the duo.
It is in this complicated situation that the series moved to its next phase, where it was penned by Gail Simone. She had the difficult mission to revitalize the title, making Birds of Prey return to being well regarded by readers. For this, most of what Dixon approached and absolutely everything dealt with by Moore and Hernandez was left behind and a new phase began, easily accessible to readers who were not following the series but who, with the great collaboration of art.
Gail Simone matched the title very well. Simone was successful in her endeavor, working the characters and the connections between them very well, strengthening the friendship between Dinah and Barbara and introducing Helena Bertinelli, the Huntress, to the team’s stories. It can be said that Simone was responsible for the current concepts of the characters.
Who would win: the Suicide Squad or the Birds of Prey?
Unlike our other group comparisons focusing on the Suicide Squad, this one was a bit more difficult as the two teams, whichever roster we considered, were very, very similar. Namely, both these teams have had various rosters throughout its history. Some of these rosters have been weaker, while others were stronger. That is why it is quite difficult to pick a proper roster for this comparison, more so as the Birds of Prey had less members than the Suicide Squad. Still, we’ve managed to come up with a conclusion here for you to enjoy!
If we were to look at some of the rosters, we’d find out that it doesn’t really matter which one roster we’d chose. Namely, the Birds of Prey have always had relatively strong rosters, but the group’s issue was – in the majority of cases – the small number of members. On the other hand, the Squad’s major issue were its relatively weak rosters, but if we were to pick the best one, it would certainly pose a threat for the Birds of Prey.
Both groups have members with powers and abilities that can annul each other. For example, Harley Quinn could easily counter Katana in hand-to-hand combat; Deadshot is a far better marksman than the Huntress; Bane is as intelligent as Oracle, and even more dangerous; while character such as Killer Croc or King Shark would be able to stop Black Canary. Now, both groups have had other members as part of their rosters, but this is just a basic outlook that reveals that there is no major difference between these two groups.
Sure, the Birds of Prey are superheroines, while the Squad is generally composed of villains-turned-antiheroes, but that is more of a natural difference than something noteworthy for this comparison. Okay, the heroes usually win, you could argue, but we’re trying to find a more objective outcome of this clash. And we have done it, despite all the issues.
We think that this match would end in a draw. If the two groups would send out an equal number of characters on each side, we think that there would be no outright winner here.
The Suicide Squad vs Birds of Prey: Which movie is better?
Now, this is an unusual section for our comparisons, but in order to honor James Gunn’s first DC Comics movie, we wanted to do a brief comparison of that movie with an earlier movie featuring Harley Quinn, titled Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Namely, Harley Quinn is the only character that has been part of both groups at some point in her career and we deemed it practical to compare these two movies. First, a brief synopsis of both movies:
|Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)||The Suicide Squad|
|After her separation from the Joker, Harley Quinn decides to emancipate herself and take her independence. But now that she is no longer under the protection of the famous Clown Prince of Crime, Harley realizes that many people want her skin in Gotham City and that they can now come after her without the risk of retaliation. Among his enemies is Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask, the narcissistic and sadistic manager of a city club, who is particularly angry with Harley since she broke her driver’s legs. While Roman wishes to kill Harley, the latter offers to do him a favor and find for him the young Cassandra Cain, an orphan who stole a diamond containing the fortune of a mafia family having been shot, the Bertinellis. But when Harley reunites with Cassandra, she takes a liking to the young girl and takes her under her wing. For her part, Renee Montoya, a city detective, does everything possible to have Roman arrested. She tries to recruit Dinah Lance, a singer at Roman’s nightclub who was recently promoted to the position of driver, as a mole. But Dinah, who hides meta-human abilities, does not wish to become a heroine, this path having caused the death of her mother as a child. At the same time, a mysterious killer armed with a crossbow is prowling in Gotham City to assassinate mobsters and could well have a connection with this dark affair.||Amanda Waller recruits a team of super villains and sends them to the island of Corto Maltese, where they are supposed to destroy all information about the “Starfish” project. However, a lot goes wrong with the precipitous landing. Unsatisfied, Waller sends a second team that is already on the island: Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Ratcatcher 2, Polka-Dot Man and King Shark. Together with the Thinker they break into the old secret base in Jotunheim and find out that experiments are being carried out there with people and the starfish Starro. The Thinker himself had tortured Starro, who was found by US astronauts, for several years, but is now a victim of Starro, who divides him in two and kills him. Flag is horrified by the findings and wants to tell the outside world, but is killed by the Peacemaker after a short fight with him. When he wants to kill Ratcatcher 2, who saw the whole thing, he is shot by Bloodsport. The remaining of Taskforce X are now fighting against Starro, who has broken out of the base, with Harley and Ratcatcher 2 succeeding in defeating Starro. However, Polka-Dot Man was crushed by Starro shortly before. Since Bloodsport has secured the data about the mission, Waller considers detonating the explosive charge, but is prevented by her team so that he can negotiate a deal. Meanwhile, a plane brings the survivors – Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Ratcatcher 2, and King Shark – back to the mainland.|
Now, Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad are two completely different movies. While the first one was focused on the emancipation of several female characters who, almost by accident, form a group together, James Gunn’s movie was about teamwork from the very start, despite the fact that most of the members tried to kill each other from the moment they met.
Birds of Prey was a movie that lacked things in many departments. The story was incoherent, the characters pretty much confusing (save for the Huntress arc, and parts of Black Canary’s story), and the production wanted to make a David Ayer-esque movie that would serve as a sort of unofficial sequel to the first Suicide Squad movie, but with a more feminine touch. The movie was flamboyant – not as much as its villain, though (they completely wasted both Ewan McGregor’s acting talent and the character of Black Mask) – we have to give it that, but it offered little to nothing else and way a complete failure in almost all aspects.
On the other hand, James Gunn did right where David Ayer failed several years ago. Gunn once again proved that he understood team movies, but also that he understood the essence of the teams he was portraying on the big screen. He captured the substance of the Suicide Squad as a team, bringing back some old faces, but also moving forward with some new ones that should carry the series forward. The movie was highly entertaining and comic book accurate, with interesting characters and a bizarre villain that perfectly fit the beautiful madness of Gunn’s vision. The Suicide Squad was a complete success in every aspect, and although it won’t be a memorable must-watch movie, it is an entertaining piece you’ll want to come back at some later point.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we have given you all the information you were looking for. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!
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