The Suicide Squad would be able to defeat the Thunderbolts, and they wouldn’t have much trouble doing that. Namely, the sheer quantity of experience and diversity of power concentrated in the Suicide Squad outmatched any iteration of the Thunderbolts, whose trump card would definitely be Venom, but with Venom’s weaknesses, the powerful members of the Suicide Squad would easily deal with him as well.
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.
The Thunderbolts and its members
The Thunderbolts is the name of a team of superheroes appearing in comic book stories published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Kurt Busiek and artist Mark Bagley, the team first appeared in the comic book The Incredible Hulk #449 in January 1997. Made up mostly of former villains, the team has appeared in the Thunderbolts series since April 1997.
After the Avengers and Fantastic Four disappear in the Onslaught (1996) crossover, a new team of superheroes, the Thunderbolts, appear to fill the void left. But at the end of the first story, these new heroes turn out to be former villains, the Masters of Evil, returned under new identities. The series The Thunderbolts (1997) is based on multiple reversals of situations, revelations, and betrayals, with some of the characters becoming heroes.
Several versions of Thunderbolts have since been shown and they were even at one time led by the Avenger Hawkeye (Clint Barton). During the Civil War crossover, the Thunderbolts split up. A new team, including Venom (Mac Gargan), Lady Deathstrike, the Taskmaster, Bullseye, the Jester, Jack O’Lantern, and Songbird was created under the initiative of Red Richards. She is in charge of hunting down the heroes who do not comply with the census law which has just been promulgated.
The Jester and Jack O’Lantern are killed by the Punisher, while chasing down Spider-Man who had just left the group of law enforcers led by Iron Man. Beginning with Thunderbolts #110 (January 2007, art Mike Deodato Jr.), writer Warren Ellis introduces a new Thunderbolts team made up of villains working for the US government.
They are responsible for capturing superheroes refusing to register, as a law had just been promulgated obliging them to do so. This new version is linked to the commercial success of the Civil War crossover. The new team is led by Norman Osborn and is made up of Songbird, Venom (Mac Gargan), Bullseye, Penance (Robbie Baldwin), Radioactive Man, Swordsman, and Moonstone.
Their job is to apprehend superhumans who refuse to register with the Superhuman Affairs Committee. Their base of operation is Thunderbolt Mountain, a huge complex in which their ship, the Zeus, and several T-Wagons are located, which sometimes accompany the group to transport prisoners.
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.
Who would win: the Suicide Squad or the Thunderbolts?
Both these teams have had various rosters throughout their histories. Some of these rosters have been weaker, while others were stronger, which is expected. That is why it is quite difficult to pick a proper roster for this comparison, more so because the rosters changed drastically from time to time, without any common members. Still, we’ve managed to come up with a conclusion, and here is what we think.
Since the Thunderbolts and the Suicide Squad are based on the same idea – former (or reformed) criminals working for the state and doing the dirty jobs for them to get some concessions – the underlying principle in the comics is also more or less identical when these two groups are concerned. This is why it was quite difficult to determine the stronger group, but we honestly think DC’s group would come out victorious. Let us elaborate.
Namely, the Suicide Squad is a household name and while there have been various villain groups in the history of DC Comics, the Suicide Squad has – in most iterations – had very powerful members. Amanda Waller would usually take care of forming a team that could do the dirtiest of jobs and could even be on par with some of the superheroes. Regardless of whether you’re considering the comic book versions or the movie versions, the Suicide Squad has generally had very powerful members.
On the other hand, the structure of the Thunderbolts has varied over the years, and although they could get the job done, save for Venom, the group never had really strong members. When you look at the rosters throughout history, most of these characters are B- or even C-level villains, whereas the Suicide Squad had A-level villains such as Killer Croc, Deadshot, and Harley Quinn. These guys are incredibly powerful and have demonstrated their powers over the years.
Were the Thunderbolts to fight the Suidice Squad, we think that the Suicide Squad would win. They have more experience, a more diverse set of characters and powers, and generally stronger and more notorious villains in their roster. Heck, the Thunderbolts didn’t even have the strongest iteration of Venom, but rather the Marc Gargan iteration.
Having said all of this, we honestly think that the Suicide Squad is stronger. The Squad is one of DC’s best-known and most popular groups, whereas the Thunderbolts aren’t even in the first echelon of Marvel’s groups. They are going to become more exposed once the MCU makes a movie about them, but that won’t change much when the balance of powers is concerned. And with this, our analysis comes to an end with the only possible outcome – the Suicide Squad is victorious.