Now that you have read various reviews and opinions of DC Extended Universe’s Suicide Squad, here are at least four recommendations that in my not so humble opinion, are great supplemental material affiliated with the notorious Task Force. And in some ways, are a much better alternative than Suicide Squad. And what’s so great about these picks, is that you may already own or have access to them!
Batman: Assault on Arkham Available on Blu-ray and video streaming
Plot: Based on highly popular Arkham Video game franchise, Batman works desperately to find a bomb planted by the Joker while Amanda Waller hires her newly formed Suicide Squad to break into Arkham Asylum to recover vital information stolen by the Riddler.
Say what you will about DC’s film adaptations based on their characters (and believe me I have!), but when it comes to their DTV animated films, they kick Marvel’s ass in comparison to their offerings. Batman: Assault on Arkham is yet another primary example of why DC has overall superiority over The House of Ideas”! The film gains immediate pace off with Cadmus’ Amanda Waller conducting an assassination hit on Edward Nygma (The Riddler) for accessing top secret information regarding Task Force X and how detrimental it can be to her Shadow Cabinet, thus leaving her no alternative but to silence Nygma before he can pull an “Edward Snowden””. Unfortunately, Waller’s hit squad can’t comply with her orders because someone decided to rain on their “hit parade”!
Fuming over the botched assassination attempt, Waller recruits several handpicked villains from various DC Heroes’ Rogue Galleries in order to finish the job even if it means putting the Bat out of his “Belfry”.
Led this time by Deadshot; Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost, Harley Quinn and three others whose sole purpose served as nothing more than “Redshirts” rounds out the “volunteers”. Of course, you know that a Batman animated feature wouldn’t be complete without the Joker. (Voiced by Animation and Video game voice actor, Troy Baker.)
During the introductions of each Suicide Squad member, there’s a brief backstory that details who and what these ruthless individuals are all about. Be it their motives for committing criminal acts or just being assholes. It’s quite obvious that the live action film sampled said character intros because its either highly influential or another case of DCEU/Ayer grabbing various sources for one clusterfuck of a piecemeal.
What was so cool about this film aside from the vocal talents of Kevin Conroy, Neal McDonough, Troy Baker and CCH Pounder, was the hand to hand combat scenes were choreographed in a very fluid motion and it shows when watching Bats fuck shit up! And the fact that it leans more toward the adult demographic with violent scenes and sexual innuendo meaning that it’s strictly not for the kiddies!
This DTV is loaded with cool references from a certain film that shall remain nameless (I wanna see if any of you DC devotees can spot certain Easter eggs like the ones I have). Not to mention that there were various cameos from notable villains and if you happen to be a fan of the game series like me, or Batman in general, you will be rewarded with a good share of “fan wanks”. Throw in the action packed animation, impressive dialog, mystery along with dark comedic elements and what you have is truly a must buy! Arguably, one of the best if not the best DCAU Movie and much better than David Ayer’s abomination!
Justice League Unlimited: “Task Force X” Available on Netflix, Blu-ray and digital download.
Although we don’t actually get to see the newly assigned squad members in their signature attire, it doesn’t deter nor derail from this intriguing episode. Colonel Rick Flagg is assigned to lead a bunch of Death row convicts, most notably, the assassin Deadshot (Who is serving time for a botched assassination and a few other “things.”) on a suicide mission that entails infiltrating the Watchtower (The leagues’ orbiting headquarters that circles the earth.) and stealing a Destroyer-esque Armor that can be controlled by rage.
The use of double entendres between Lawton and Plastique demonstrates Dwayne McDuffie’s superb writing. What I also found amusing was the squad being able to hold their own against League Members Vigilante, Shining Knight, Atom Smasher and not to mention, the Martian Manhunter! Also, I might add that this rendition of Rick Flag closely matches the source material opposed to the unconvincing live action counterpart himself.
The dialog is very witty and the scenarios itself are quite entertaining. Let’s not forget that bleak ending! And this is all from a decades old cartoon!
Arrow: “Suicide Squad” (Surprise!) and “Suicidal Tendencies” Available on Netflix and HULU
In lieu of Rick Flag’s notable absence, we have Oliver Queen’s sidekick and BFF, James Diggle who along with his Baby Mama-Lyla, leads a group of expendables called- Task Force X in order to locate a nerve agent and neutralize it prior to being utilized as a potential terrorist threat. One of the highlights of this episode, would be the Bronze Tiger’s first debut Television debut (Courtesy of Michael Jai White of Spawn.) snippets of Diggle and Deadshot begrudgingly working aside one another with Diggle having second thoughts about his subordinate, decides to save him at the last minute.
Said scene was the payoff from this covert op based episode which was self-rewarding. Not bad for a CW Series that is notoriously known for diving into Soap Opera tropes. also Cynthia Addai-Robinson is the sexiest Amanda Waller since Pam Grier from Smallville!
(Well, if Ms. Grier was much younger at the time. *AHEM*)
In “tendencies’, Deadshot’s arc as well as Task Force X comes to a close during a hostage rescue operation. Instead of the usual flashbacks with the titular character, we are treated to more of Floyd Lawton’s background, how PTSD can affect a war veteran and themes of redemption. It’s a very memorable episode for various reasons also, there’s a face-off between Arrow and the Atom!
Batman The New Adventures: Mad Love Available on Amazon Prime Video
Remember those brief flashbacks between Harley Quinn and The Joker from the movie? Well, this was the very episode that inspired said scene from the movie and of course provides the genesis of the beloved Harley Quinn. “Mad Love” appropriately named, recants Quinn’s origin told from her perspective which is that of an in depth character study of obsession and infatuation. Harley goes from being this criminal psychiatrist to falling for Joker’s Bad boy persona like plenty of Women within the United States, and in doing so, loses not only her dignity and job but her very sanity.
Aside from Mad Love bring one of the better eps from TAS, underneath it’s really a sobering neo noir because of its subject matter; abusive relationships! Props to writer Paul Dini for not shying away from what may be considered as a bit controversial for an animated series. (We’re talking “dark territory” here!) Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples of Women who had promising careers, self-esteem only to have their lives ruined after falling for the “bad boy”.
I personally knew one who lost it all because she chose to date some piece of shit ex-convict. (Let me just say this, at least Quinn never got pimped out by the Joker, so at least she has that going for her.) Suffice to say that I’m a huge fan of the short lived New Adventures of Batman TAS, it’s more adult oriented, great cameos, unforgettable episodes such as Mad Love and you can’t beat that new art deco character design courtesy of the great Bruce Timm!
Batman: Gotham Knights (“Deadshot”) Available on Blu-ray and digital download.
Knights will go down in history for being the very first anthology based one DC’s most iconic Character-Batman! As for anything Suicide Squad related, “Deadshot” is a 12-minute short story that depicts the titular assassin accepting a contract from a mysterious figure called “The Russian” to carry out the elimination of a high value Target-Commissioner James Gordon! Can Batman thwart his modus operandi in time, before “shots fired”? And just who is “The Russain”?
The animation courtesy of Japan’s Legendary Studio Madhouse (Ninja Scroll, Wicked City, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Highlander: Quest for Vengeance, Black Lagoon, Trigun, Hunter X Hunter, Hellsing Ultimate, Death Note, and most recently, One-Punch Man.) is no doubt, the best of the anthology.
The saturation of sepia and yellow tones. blend in perfectly with the overall dark setting of Gotham City skylines and moving trains which is staged for the final showdown between the prestigious Hitman and the Dark Knight.
Guess who comes out on top?
Well, that’s it for my recommendations, have I missed anything or do you have any “suicidal” suggestions you may like to add? Feel free to drop ‘em in the comments section down below.