Task Force X Retirement Files 008-011

Even more documents liberated under the Freedom of Information Act...
Files 001-003 - Files 004-007

Subject: PenguinProfile: Classic Batman villain
Powers: Criminal strategist/gimmick umbrellas.
Mission: To plan and take part in a mission to break a political prisoner, codename Firebird, out of Russia.
Chance of survival going in: Absolute. There's no way a seminal Batman villain (arguably one of the Big Three along with the Joker and Riddler) would ever be killed, especially not in a non-Batman title.
Retirement: RELEASED. The Penguin made it out of Russia alive, though the mission ended in failure, with the death of Codename Firebird and the capture of team member Nemesis. (Suicide Squad #7)
Final report: The Penguin would go back to Batman's books, bringing the Bat's attention to Task Force X in Suicide Squad #10 (oops!). He continues to feature heavily to this day (in fact, more than he ever did).

Subject: Slipknot
Profile: Lame Firestorm villain (pun not intended)
Powers: Rope specialist (cough).
Mission: To place the experimental bomb Baby Huey as close to the center of the Manhunter stronghold in the Louisiana swamps.
Chance of survival going in: Low. An extremely minor villain with a gimmick ill-matched to his principal foe. As the creative force behind Firestorm as well as Suicide Squad, Ostrander could do away with that title's villains without so much as an editorial peep. And to further compound matters, Slipknot had taken part in a previous mission (to apprehend a rogue Firestorm) and had betrayed his team.
Retirement: MAIMED. As a result of Captain Boomerang's manipulations, he tried to run with a standard issue explosive bracelet mid-mission, blowing his arm off. So Boomer knew his own was not a bluff. (Suicide Squad #9)
Final report: He survived despite being found by Duchess/Lashina in the swamp, and has appeared here and there, often in custody in the 2000s. Predictably, his arm was replaced with a bionic prosthesis, but not a very good one. He was recently killed by the Tattooed Man in Final Crisis: Ink.

Subject: Karin Grace
Profile: Suicide Squad support personnel
Powers: Medical doctor.
Mission: To place the experimental bomb Baby Huey as close to the center of the Manhunter stronghold in the Louisiana swamps.
Chance of survival going in: Good. While we might expect supervillains to be done in, the Suicide Squad's regular supporting players had an air of invulnerability about them. You expect to see them month to month, especially Flag's love interest, and at the same time, they don't seem "important" enough to be bothered with.
Retirement: DECEASED. Karin sacrifices herself to deliver a bomb inside the Manhunter compound to make up for betraying the Squad (and Flag) after she is manipulated by the Manhunters. (Suicide Squad #9)
Final report: Not surprisingly, Karin Grace never came back from the dead.

Subject: Privateer
Profile: Character is search of an identity.
Powers: Peak physical training/Manhunter expertise
Mission: To place the experimental bomb Baby Huey as close to the center of the Manhunter stronghold in the Louisiana swamps.
Chance of survival going in: Fair. Though at that point, nothing great had been done with Mark Shaw (either as Manhunter, Star-Tsar or Privateer), he was presented as a roguish hero figure. Heroes are notoriously better survivors than villains and a more precious commodity (well, they used to be, anyway).
Retirement: RELEASED/REFORMED. During the course of the mission, Mark Shaw not only survives, but alleviates everyone's fears that he might be a Manhunter agent. He leaves with a plan to revive his old, heroic Manhunter persona. (Suicide Squad #10)
Final report: Mark Shaw would go on to star in his own Manhunter series, which lasted 24 issues between 1988 and 1990. He is still secretly active (despite seeming to have died in the Eclipso series) and an ally of the current Manhunter, Kate Spencer.


Anonymous said…
Shaw also captured the Penguin after he started to steal again. The scene was fun: Oswald was at the tub, and Manhunter appeared: "you are under arrest!. Pingu asked for his clothes, and Shaw throwed him his hat.

Siskoid said…
I remember that! :-)
googum said…
I could be wrong about this, but I think Ostrander was the writer to first play up Penguin's cunning nature; as opposed to him being a fat guy fixated on flightless birds and umbrellas.

And I loved the Mark Shaw Manhunter book. Man, I've wanted an action figure of that for years.
Siskoid said…
It was a great use of a Batman villain. Despite being gimmicky madmen, they have to be smart enough to act as foils for Batman.

I was a fan of Manhunter too.
Dan said…
Siskoid said…
Baby Huey was a an experimental Doo-Wopanium bomb.
that Firebird fiasco mission was a great early SS story. the Enchantress had some cool moments on that mission. especially toward the end when the Squad took on the People's Heroes. ya know i don't think the DC Universe is gonna miss Slipknot too much but some kind of side story about him trying to get some pay back on Boomerang might have been kinda cool at some point. did he make a come back as a Blackest Night zombie by any chance?
Anonymous said…
in the Suicide Squad/Secret Six crossover Slipknot wasn't with the zombies. So I suppose he is still alive.

Siskoid said…
As the final report says, he died at the hands of the new Tattooed Man.

Not seen in Blackest Night, unless somebody spotted him...?
Aliera said…
I didn´t. I actually was convinced until now he had died when his arm exploded.
Mark Shaw was a great character and I liked his series.
Personaly I would like to see him on the active again. And I think he would still fit wonderfully in the squad.
Max said…
Karin's death always seemed like an unfortunate consequence of a forced "event tie-in to me. All of the other deaths in the series seem to "fit" except for this one. Ah, well, at least Ostrander was able to make a decent story out of the editorial mandate :)
Aaron Moss said…
Very nice Siskoid.

I put a link to this on my Task Force X Facebook page.

Keep up the great work and keep the Squad alive!