Amanda Waller's Summer Side-Project

Just because the Suicide Squad's first book ended in 1992 and the second didn't start before 2001, it doesn't mean Amanda Waller took a vacation. Though there would be an "interim Squad" (coming soon), her first side-band was set up to fight Eclipso in his eponymous series. They were called the Shadow Fighters and they lasted all of three issues, from Eclipso #11-13 (though Amanda's effort really begins in the first few issues). So yeah, it's a Suicide SOMETHING in all but name. This is Part 1 of their happy story.

Subject: Cave CarsonProfile: Silver Age explorer hero
Powers: Expert on the Earth's underground spaces
Mission: Get Bruce Gordon, Mona Bennet and the Creeper into Parador.
Chance of survival going in: Fair. Eclipso was a violent shock series and it wouldn't have been too surprising if an old Silver Age star (especially a non-superhero) would have been trotted out just to be killed. Though Carson had had a number of guest appearances in DC Comics since the early 80s (after almost 20 years without one), he is not considered integral to the long term survival of the shared universe.
Retirement: WOUNDED. Eclipso captures him, breaks both his legs and leaves him on Parador's border as a warning to others. (Eclipso #5)
Final report: Cave Carson healed and is still active today, in the last decade having appeared in JSA and Final Crisis.

Mission (all): Free the South American country of Parador from Eclipso's stranglehold.

Subject: Creeper
Profile: Classic Ditko hero
Powers: Enhanced physical prowess, including his healing factor
Chance of survival going in: High. One of the stars of the Eclipso series, there is a lot of affection for the Creeper in both fandom and comics creators, and he is without a doubt the most resilient of Ditko's creations for DC Comics.
Retirement: APPARENTLY DECEASED. Jack Ryder is cut into pieces by Eclipsos early in the invasion. We see the bits afterward and everything (though not the head). (Eclipso #13)
Final report: Presumably, the Creeper is able to regenerate even missing limbs because he returned four years later to headline a new series. In 2006, his origin was revamped post-Infinite Crisis, and both he and his television talk show host alias, Jack Ryder, make frequent cameos and appearances. He has recently joined the Outsiders, a fate some consider worse than death.

Subject: Manhunter III
Profile: Minor legacy hero
Powers: Manhunter energy baton and sensor-enhanced mask
Chance of survival going in: Fair. Having his recent series end after only two years, Mark Shaw could have been killed for shock value, his usefulness at an end. This would have freed his legacy name for another character.
Retirement: APPARENTLY DECEASED. Eclipso breaks his spine and he is only able to send his baton back to Tibet for his successor before he is put out of his misery. We later see the body. (Eclipso #13)
Final report: And indeed, there was another Manhunter (Chase Lawler) who launched a series the following year, and then another (Kirk DePaul) and another (Kate Spencer). It was only just revealed in the latter's series that Mark Shaw was not the Manhunter sent to Parador. Sarge Steel had Shaw on something else and sent a "ringer" in his stead. Despite not appearing for some 15 years, he was shown to be alive and well and recently turned down a chance to become the new Azrael.

Subject: Wildcat II
Profile: Latter-day Infinity Inc. member
Powers: Fighting prowess and abilities of a large feline
Chance of survival going in: Fair. It's like this. Heroes have a better chance of survival than villains. However, team book heroes have a lower chance than solo stars. Legacy heroes have a lower chance than non-legacy heroes (unless they originated the legacy). Late comers to a team are lower chances than original members of the same team, and disturbingly, minorities seem to have lower chances still.
Retirement: DECEASED. Mortally wounded by Eclipso's forces, Dr. Midnight doesn't get to her in time to save her from a fatal heart attack. Again, we see proof of death: Her body. (Eclipso #13)
Final report: Though a story in Showcase '94 flirted with the idea of resurrecting the character, the original Wildcat secured his own position by exposing it as a hoax.

Subject: Dr. Midnight
Profile: Latter-day Infinity Inc. member
Powers: Medical doctor with infravision and darkness bombs
Chance of survival going in: Low. Why lower chances than Wildcat despite sharing all the same attributes? Because a wild cat girl will always have better chances than a blind black woman with a traditionally male profession (a tradition that had gone the way of the dodo even by this point, I would have thought).
Retirement: DECEASED. Caught trying to give Wildcat CPR, she is savagely cut down by Eclipso. Her body is among the Shadow Fighters' fallen. (Eclipso #13)
Final report: Beth Chapel's dead has proven to be permanent, with someone else taking the mantle (and the original spelling Mid-Nite) in 1999.

Subject: Major Victory
Profile: Obscure patriotic hero
Powers: Suit that gives him super-human strength and toughness.
Chance of survival going in: Low. Having escaped unscathed from his stint in the Suicide Squad, Major Victory might well have burned all his free passes.
Retirement: DECEASED. Like most of the Shadow Fighters, the Major is killed by Eclipso(s). His last moment is not clear, but his body is seen among the fallen. (Eclipso #13)
Final report: As previously reported, Major Victory's nom de guerre has since been used by others, bur William Vickers himself has remained on the Other Side.

Oh Amanda, why does anyone still return your calls? Part 2 coming your way soon!

4 comments:

Martin Gray said...

It looks like she fleeced all those poor sods by not using the Suicide Squad name. Bad Amanda!

Siskoid said...

"I thought we were just gonna fight shadows!"

Robert said...

It looks like the Creeper might occupy that sweet spot between being popular enough that people keep wanting to bring him back, and obscure enough that killing him off doesn't get noticed.

David H. said...

that look on Major Victory's face. it implies his death was a rather unpleasant one.

 

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