[This story discusses the mid-credit sequence from Suicide Squad. If you don’t want to know what happens at the end of the movie, stop reading now.]
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) really likes private meetings in restaurants. Not only does Suicide Squad open with one, where she introduces the members of the team to her federal bosses and the audience alike, but the movie’s mid-credit sequence features a second, as Waller passes a dossier of information on the members of the future Justice League to Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), who then tells her to shut down the Squad, threatening her that, if she doesn’t, he and his new friends will.
If this is a scene intended to tease a future Justice League vs. Suicide Squad movie, it’s at once surprising and entirely logical. After all, if you want a big movie event, pitting your big team of good guys versus your big team of bad guys is probably the most obvious idea available. The surprise comes in the fact that, as strange as it may seem, it’s never really been done in the comics.
The closest DC’s comic book mythology has come was in a two-part storyline that ran across 1988’s Justice League International No. 13 and Suicide Squad No. 13; “Collision Course” and “Battle Lines” pit the two teams against each other briefly as a result of Bruce Wayne’s investigations into Amanda Waller’s Task Force X program, but the skirmish was short-lived, with Batman making the team stand down when faced with Waller threatening to expose his secret identity.
Founding members of the Justice League would come into contact with the Squad in a 1991 storyline where Superman, Batman and Aquaman investigated the disappearance of the Atom — a former Justice League member who was, unbeknownst to both teams, in hiding and working with Waller for reasons of his own. Even that storyline avoided an all-out fight between the heroes and villains, however, as the Atom calmed tensions before punching broke out.
Part of the reason for the lack of a big smackdown between the two super teams is that the Squad and the League generally move in different circles; the League is a much more public, visible team that traditionally deals with large-scale threats to humanity, whether to cities, continents or the planet itself. In comparison, the Squad is, in theory, a secret organization that keeps to the shadows and does its work without anyone knowing they’re around. The former fights the Legion of Doom and alien invaders. The latter takes on foreign dictators and, in one 1988 special issue, the Doom Patrol.
Waller’s most high-profile attempt to take down the Justice League in comic book mythology didn’t even involve the Squad at all. Instead, she went the propaganda route and built herself her own Justice League — called the Justice League of America, because what else could sound so upright and patriotic? — with each member specifically intended to take down a particular JL member. The team existed from 2013’s Justice League of America No. 1 until 2014’s No. 14, but outside of a short scuffle at the start of the Trinity War storyline in late 2013, they didn’t get a chance to fulfill their primary mission.
Promoting DC Entertainment’s new Suicide Squad comic book launching last week, new writer Rob Williams said that the series is intended to be central to the company’s comic book universe. With the profile of the team as high as it’s ever been, perhaps in the end it’s finally time for the Justice League to step in and have the fight fans have been waiting decades for — before the movies get there first.