Amanda Waller is sending the Suicide Squad on another mission.
Deadshot, Captain Boomarang, Harley Quinn and the rest of the squad are supposed to get their hands on a powerful and mystical item that’s currently in the hands of Vandal Savage. The only problem is, there’s a whole lot of other villains after this object, as well.
If part of this premise sounds familiar, it’s because it’s from the comics. But not from the Suicide Squad comic books. Rather, the story can be found in the pages of the Secret Six — a team in which Deadshot is also a member.
When I watched the trailer for Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, the plot and some of the images made me think I’d seen them before. I got up from my computer and went over to my bookcase, where, among my collection, I have most of Gail Simone’s work on Secret Six in graphic novel form. I picked up one of the graphic novels. Flipped through it. Nope. I picked up another. Flipped through it. Yep.
The graphic novel Secret Six: Unhinged sees the team of Deadshot, Scandal Savage, Bane, Catman, Ragdoll and later Jeannette/Banshee (not Silver Banshee) on a cross-country delivery mission. Initially, they’re supposed to to take the vigilante Tarantula from the West Coast to the East Coast, back to Gotham. However, Tarantula has a very special magical artifact and it’s causing all the other villains to try and hunt her down to get it.
What’s the object? Spoiler Alert: It’s a “Get out of Hell Free” card.
This card was created by the demon Neron to sow chaos among the villains and humanity. While the devil would, supposedly, let a villain escape eternal damnation; Neron would still win by collecting any damned souls killed during the ensuing conflict. Some villains don’t believe the card is legit and are only trying to retrieve it from Tarantula to claim the bounty on it from a crime boss back in Gotham. Other villains, being aware of all their sins, see the card as a way to escape judgement and will stop at nothing to get it.
In this latest DC animated movie, it looks like Vandal Savage starts out with the card. Whether the card is the secret to his immortality or his backup, in case he is killed, remains to be seen. Of course, whether the card from Secret Six is the same object in Hell to Pay is speculation on my part. We won’t know for sure until the movie hits digital platforms on March 27th, 2018 and comes out on Blu-Ray April 10th, 2018.
What vexes me is that this animated movie is not a sequel to the Suicide Squad’s outing in Batman: Assault on Arkham. Why set them in a separate universe when you can build off the character development in a previous film? There’s no continuity conflict. Arguably, all the Suicide Squad members who appear in Hell to Pay survived the events of Assault on Arkham. I see no reason not to make it a sequel. It was a good movie — certainly better than the live-action Suicide Squad movie.
With DC doubling down on the live-action Suicide Squad franchise, it was only a matter of time before we saw another animated outing. I just think it’s a shame that this comes at the cost of a good Secret Six storyline. Sure, Tara Strong is gonna voice Harley Quinn, but it’s gonna be rough watching Deadshot and Scandal Savage (daughter of Vandal Savage) opposing each other in this picture, when they had such a good dynamic in the comics. Not to mention Scandal’s girlfriend, Knockout, who appeared in the earlier issues. Plus, there’s the quirky dynamic of Bane acting like a father-figure to Scandal. Man, we’re really gonna miss out on some well-developed characters.
Do yourself a favor. While you’re waiting for the latest DC animated movie, pick up some graphic novels from Gail Simone’s run on Secret Six. I know this is a good recommendation to give you readers and that there won’t be… hell to pay.