The Usual Suspects #46
Welcome back for another edition of The Usual Suspects. This week I felt like I needed to take a break from Endgame and all things MCU, so I wanted to switch it up and look at what DC is doing with Suicide Squad 2. A few casting announcements over the last couple weeks, so let’s take a look at what they are building over there on the other side of the street.
So I think the biggest news around Suicide Squad 2 is the fact that DC scored James Gunn to helm this movie. That’s a big win for DC in my opinion. They really took advantage of Disney’s pandering to a vocal minority complaining over bad taste jokes from over a decade ago that Gunn had already apologized for, years ago. It made no sense.
But I don’t want to go too far back into that whole deal. What’s done is done. But I gotta imagine Marvel/Disney had a plan to bring him back after everything blew over. But whether that was their plan or not, they lost a couple years on GOTG 3 because of it. But no sense dwelling on the past.
Will Gunn still be the architect of all things Cosmic now as was planned before? Has Marvel given him some mandates, noting who they want included in the go forward…cough cough…Nova. Are there things still to be worked out making this extra time necessary?
Regardless, this is about the DCU now so let’s reset our focus.
So what could James Gunn have in store for us with Suicide Squad 2? He’s never been one to have small ideas and go with the expected. I’m quite certain when we heard a SS2 was coming that this was not the lineup we immediately thought of. But I like the idea of using smaller lesser known characters as the danger for them will be real. We all know they won’t kill off a Harley Quinn, but a Kite-man type? Anything goes.
Truth be told I would have loved to see Kite Man in this. Granted Tom King has made Kite Man his little pet project on his Batman run, but in film you can really do anything with him. Smaller characters don’t have that rich history that you need to adhere to. You can take liberties to fit the story you want to tell with very little objection. That is as long as you maintain the basic gist of who the character is. I mean you can’t make Condiment King a guy with ice powers or something. He’s the Condiment King.
And just to get it out of my system, some other crazy characters I wish Gunn would have chosen are Codpiece (yeah we can’t use that costume design), Egg Fu (I went with the non-offensive version), Rainbow Raider (folks might make assumptions about him with that outfit), or Crazy Quilt (same assumptions could be made with that get-up). Or Gunn could’ve used the female version of the character to add some diversity. Would’ve made more sense than the gender swap he did make.
Ok, enough of coulda, woulda, shoulda’s. Gunn’s actual picks are just as obscure in some cases. And not all of this is confirmed yet, so we’ll just go with the popular assumptions and my own gut feelings in cases where it hasn’t been officially announced by the WB.
So with that said, enough dilly dally…let’s get into it.
Origin and 1st appearance of, Peacemaker (Christopher Smith)
So by now you all probably know the story behind the Charlton Characters. DC ended up with their rights and the original Watchmen series was supposed to be based on them. DC execs at that time got cold feet at the idea of not being able to do more with these characters in future so Alan Moore created his own.
Peacemaker was to be the Comedian. Or is it the other way around? Comedian was supposed to be Peacemaker before DC chickened out. Whatever, you get the point.
But here James Gunn decided to go back and use Peacemaker for his take on a reboot Suicide Squad. Early rumors had Dave Bautista changing sides and possibly playing this role.
That would’ve made a lot of sense. He was the most upset by the Gunn firing and would do anything for James Gunn. Contract obligations to the MCU aside, Bautista tried to force Disney’s hand being very vocal about his displeasure. That all seems to have subsided and the latest rumors point to another former WWE star taking the role, John Cena.
I like Cena. I think he can absolutely fit in here. They can play him as the straight-laced military man, like Rick Flag in the last movie; or they can make him more of a wild card loose cannon.
He can be pretty funny too. He had a pretty funny cameo on Psych back in the day as one of Juliette’s brothers. And as generic and clichéd as it may be, I enjoyed Blockers. And this line from Trainwreck still cracks me up.
Given the rarity and age of the original 1st appearance of Peacemaker, I feel we should also note Crisis on Infinite Earths #6. Yes Clint already shared this one with you yesterday in Run the Table as the 1st full appearance of the Anti-Monitor. But this is also the 1st appearance of the Charlton Characters in the DC Universe. This Crisis book is very easy to find and still pretty cheap.
Active Listings: Only one copy listed and it’s a decent looking copy for about $150. Seller notes it as VG which seems about right given the wear and tear on it, but be mindful of what looks like extra staples at the bottom. Could be detached at the original staple and this was an attempt at Restoring it. But this book is impossible to find so if you want it, this may be your only shot for a while.
Market Analysis: Raw copies sold back in April and March. April sale for under $90 looked pretty solid, while the March sale for $31 was for a rough reader copy. Both could be deals because, really there aren’t many options.
1st appearance Bronze Tiger.
1st appearance Richard Dragon.
Oh the 70’s and the love for Kung Fu. Richard Dragon looks like he was DC’s answer to Shang Chi or maybe Iron Fist. Regardless, this isn’t about Richard Dragon, but rather Bronze Tiger who also first appears in this book.
Now I feel I should note that no one has confirmed Bronze Tiger for this movie. This is just a logical assumption as he was an early member of the Squad and on the team during the storyline that is rumored to be adapted.
Bronze Tiger has had many looks over the years from junglefied disco tights to 90’s Oakley wearing tough guy to an actual Tiger man.
I’m not sure these will be the looks that Gunn leverages for the movie. I would imagine something closer to what Michael Jai White rocked on the CW’s Arrow.
Again, this role would make a lot of sense for Idris Elba. Originally it was reported that he was taking over as Deadshot, but that would’ve been unnecessary. Why tread over the same ground again and confuse viewers with a semi recast reboot? So casting Elba not as a Deadshot replacement, but as Bronze Tiger would play much better. Sure we have seen it played by Spawn already, and a full-on Tiger man would be kinda cool, but we already have our half-animal man on this team. More on him later. So I doubt they go that route in SS2.
We should also note that while Richard Dragon is a top martial artist, so is Bronze Tiger. He also trains with O-Sensei and becomes one of the top martial artists in the DCU. What’s James Hong up to? No reason Lo Pan can’t be O-Sensei here.
Active Listings: Plenty of cheap copies to be had. Depending on what you are looking for. Raw low grades can be had for under $10, while decent raws could be only like $25 or so.
Top Listing is a CGC 9.4 up for $285 from MCS.
You could grab the whole run for under $100, which may not be a bad play as you’d also get Lady Shiva’s 1st in Richard Dragon #5 as well. Maybe Colleen Wing jumps ship now that the Netflix shows are done. Jessica Henwick basically is Lady Shiva in Iron Fist.
Market Analysis: Sales are up on this one the past year. A lot more the last 3 months but overall solid gains. A few CGC higher grade sales all done in April. The top sale being a CGC 9.8 for $390. Raw sales run the gamut from cheap copies to the $30 range. Plenty of room to grow if this pans out.
1st appearance of Polka-Dot Man
This one seems so silly. But there’s a market for silly. Look at some of the older Batman books from back in the day. We had the Rainbow connection Batman in Detective Comics 241, or the silly genie Bats in Tec 322, or Bat-Baby in Batman 147.
Silly concepts even came back into play in Grant Morrison’s run. I still have no idea what the heck a Batman Zur-en-arrh is.
But Polka Dot Man could be expendable, or could be someone Gunn turns into a true hero and focus. David Dastmalchian is no stranger to playing odd Batman characters. He showed up as a Joker lackey in both The Dark Knight and on Fox’s Gotham. He also had a turn at Abra Kadabra, so he’s no stranger to crazy concept villains.
Hey who was 100% confident a talking Raccoon and a tree that says only 3 words would work? So why can’t a guy in Polka Dot tights that has trick dots. Hey, every villain needs a gimmick right? Like a WWE wrestler, you need a shtick to stand out. Like a peacock.
Active Listings: Not a lot of choices here. Only see a few raws in the $140-$200 range. Market seems pretty cleaned up on this one as this was one of the earliest announcements when Gunn was talking over.
Market Analysis: Not a lot of sales. Especially in graded copies as there was only a few CGC sales done in the last year. The highest being an 8.5 for $230. That said there was a CGC 9.4 that sold for $1,875 last April so it was just outside the past year range.
Here we have another odd choice to the Suicide Squad roster. Not a lot of Ratcatcher fans out there and no female version to tie to the comics. But that didn’t stop speculators from cashing in quickly on this one. Just a friendly piece of advice when it comes to movie spec like this, if you don’t already have it, it’s best to let it go. That is unless you can get it super cheap.
To pay $20+ for this dollar bin book is crazy to me. It will be a $5 book again before the movie finishes its run in theaters. I’m just saying, is your PC really incomplete without this book in it right now? I get FOMO. I totally understand getting caught up in the hype but how high could a book like this could go?
That said, if it’s for your PC, then I say pay whatever you are comfortable paying. Who cares what it cost you if it’s never leaving your collection? But to speculate or invest in a book like this is kooky talk.
That said, this probably isn’t even the same character really. Gunn decided to gender swap the role and cast Daniela Melchior so he must have a plan of some sort. My first thought for a character like Ratcatcher wouldn’t have been an attractive young female.
I have no clue what that plan could be as there are plenty of other DC characters he could have chosen to add another female to the roster. Lady Shiva noted above would’ve fit right in. Maybe a character like Plastique or Nightshade could have been options too. Or even Black Orchid.
I would have loved to see Killer Frost personally. Would’ve made a lot of sense to put her on the team. Perhaps there were restrictions from DC on the choices. But in JG I trust.
Active Listings: Plenty of copies available in raw for $15-$25. No real graded options as this wasn’t a big key book. That said, given the gender swap, I’d be wary of investing in this one personally.
Market Analysis: Lots of sales since the character was announced, but they seem to have slowed. There was an auction that ended back in March for $45, but this is now an easy $20 find in a decent grade. The perils of being an early adopter, so never pay more than you are comfortable with and you won’t have any regrets.
1st full appearance of King Shark.
So King Shark was supposed to be in the original SS. But they decided to go Killer Croc instead, which is fine. But why did they have to use the crappy gangsta version?
That was such a waste. Who says Shorty anymore? They would have been better off with a silent version that looked more creature like. I get it’s difficult to animate a talking creature believably, but KC doesn’t need to recite Shakespeare. Just have him grunt and growl and give us the Hush version.
The Amazing Spiderman made the same mistake. Why do they think we want a humanoid version? Like the audience won’t buy in unless they can see a humanlike face? Ridiculous. How is that creepy humanoid face better than an actual Lizard man for a character that is called The Lizard?
Technology has gotten so good, they can animate a creature face. There are entire talking creature movies now with the Jungle Book and the Lion King Remake.
Or just use practical effects and have a killer prosthetic and just don’t have them talk much. But we’ll see. If the CW Flash can pull of King Shark on their budget, then the DCEU should manage it as well.
Also I should mention that King Shark had a cameo appearance in Superboy 0, but folks seem to prefer SB 9 so invest accordingly. No reason you can’t buy both if you are so inclined. Again, these won’t make you rich but cheap little add-ons like this can fill out a collection.
Active Listings: Lots of copies available as the 90’s weren’t shy at the printers. As noted raw copies are easy finds in the $15-35 range. Nearly all CGC copies are off the board, but no reason you can’t find a decent 9.8 contender given the sheer volume available.
Market Analysis: Sales are definitely up over the last year with CGC 9.8’s jumping up from the $50 range to the $150 range. I think that is the ceiling on a book like this, but you never know. If King Shark is the breakout character of the movie and isn’t just some scaly looking goof in a hoodie, maybe there’s some upside.
The sad part is that the prosthetics for Croc were really good. Loved the creature design. But the characterization and wardrobe were just, not good. Here’s to hoping they do better with King Shark.
Ok that’s it for this week. I just want to take a moment to let you guys know that I will be shifting this article to bi-weekly for a short while. Real life gets in the way and I won’t have the same free time to devote to give you guys the quality you deserve. So I will still try to get this out every two weeks, while maintaining a weekly Dollar Bin Digging and the monthly Wizard Rewind.
Like I said, this is only temporary and this will be back to its regular schedule before you know it. Plus with Writer Wars upon us, you will have plenty of new content to keep you occupied. So now, on with Person of Interest for a few extra books.
Who is Mindboggler? Mind boggler is an option to be the Slipknot for this reboot. You know the sacrificial lamb to show the stakes.
Mindboggler died during the Trial By Fire storyline in the 1st story arc for Suicide Squad in ’87. With that rumored to be an influential piece of source material, why not give us this throw away punk rocker. Cast someone fun in the role for a quick cameo, a James Gunn alum like Elizabeth Banks.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 1, 9.4 – 3
1st Rick Flag
Who knows, maybe they bring back Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag. He was sufficient. Not his fault but the role was pretty vanilla. He was good in that Netflix series Altered Carbon.
Regardless, this was not only Flag’s 1st appearance but the first appearance of The Suicide Squad as well, so it’s got that going for it.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 4.0 – 34
This one might be more of a long shot as Enchantress wasn’t as well received in the first one. The love story was week, and the sibling villain whatever was just plain boring.
If they bring back Kinnaman’s Flag, maybe they bring back Cara Delevingne to reprise Enchantress. This is very doubtful if they are really rebooting it from scratch, but worth a look anyway.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 7.5 – 15
Another alum from the 1st movie that is doubtful to return, this is the 1st appearance of Katana. Mostly an underutilized throw away character in the 1st movie they could have brought her back and fleshed out the role a bit.
But Karen Fukuhara just kinda walked around with a sword in a pretty dope mask in the first one, so it wouldn’t have been too hard to surpass that characterization.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 189
1st Amanda Waller
Whether they recast Amanda Waller or not, she needs to be in this movie. Personally I thought Viola Davis did a bang up job and would be happy to see her come back.I’m surprised this book is so cheap. High print run I suppose as I still come across these in Dollar Bins, but Amanda Waller is a good character in movies and the comics so her 1st should be more sought after. But what do I know?
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 179
…Anyway, see you all in Two Weeks….