I realize that death is one of those things you really shouldn’t take too seriously in superhero comics. Dead, alive, dead… it all just blurs together after a while. You kind of have to accept that no one significant is ever going to stay dead, and that even B- and C-listers will probably make it back from the dead. It’s easier to get away with when the “death” in question was the sort of “falling down a bottomless pit” or “blown up in a huge explosion” death that doesn’t leave a body, but even that didn’t stop DC from bringing back Jason “Beaten to death with a crowbar and then blown up and subsequently buried” Todd, so whatever.
But there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, and this is one of them: Greg Rucka, along with co-writers Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, has brought back the Suicide Squad in the latest issue of Checkmate. That, in itself, is kind of cool, and the issue on the whole is pretty decent. The problem? They also brought back Rick Flag, the former leader of Suicide Squad. The same Rick Flag who went on a solo suicide mission back in Suicide Squad #26 and detonated a bomb right next to him that made a mountain fall down on him.
Yes, yes, I know — that’s exactly the sort of death I said you could bring characters back from. But in this case, it’s just wrong. Flag went into the enemy base knowing he wouldn’t come back. It was the end of a very nice character arc by writer John Ostrander. And the book was called Suicide Squad, for god’s sake, not Taking a Quick Nap, Be Back in a Couple Minutes Squad.
Seriously, guys: You’ve got Amanda Waller in Checkmate. You’ve got Bronze Tiger. You’ve got a bunch of C-list villains to draft. That’s all you really need for Suicide Squad, and in fact what Ostrander had for the second half of the series. Why not just let Rick Flag rest in peace?