Much like Deadpool, Suicide Squad hits theaters in 2016 with a far less complex comic book chronology than, say, your Batman or Green Lantern. Simply put, Suicide Squad doesn’t begin in earnest until the late 80’s, meaning we have a clearer path for a clear and enjoyable reading order.
This being comics, it’s still far from a simple straight line. Below you’ll find all the best Suicide Squad comics, where to start, and relevant events and tie-in reading orders!
Before the Ongoing – Suicide Squad Origins
Most readers will want to begin with Suicide Squad #1, but there’s actually a plausible lead-in for the truly committed.
The true origins of the Suicide Squad begin all the way back in Brave and the Bold #25 from 1959! While the issue sold for .10 cents at the time, it’s now worth upwards of $1,000. Don’t worry, you won’t need it to enjoy the Suicide Squad, but a cool collector’s item nonetheless.
Legends: The Collection #1 to #6
Legends (1986 to 1987) was the first DC Universe event after Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985). The event, written by John Ostrander and Len Wein, marks the introduction of Amanda Waller to the DCU, and sets the stage for the ongoing Suicide Squad, aka Task Force X.
Note that the most crucial Suicide Squad reference, Secret Origins #14: “The Secret Origin of the Suicide Squad,” is also included in the first Suicide Squad collection below.
John Ostrander Era Suicide Squad Reading Order (1987 to 1992)
John Ostrander, Kim Yale, Karl Kesel, and Luke McDonnell’s work creating and establishing the first Suicide Squad solo series ranks among my favorite comics of all time.
Fortunately, it’s easy to test the waters just to see if you like Suicide Squad, as the first collection of comics is relatively uninterrupted. After those first eight issues, though, Suicide Squad runs into a lot of DC Universe tie-ins and events. You can try to plow through the Suicide Squad issues on their own (this was my initial approach), but it will be fairly confusing without the general event context.
Secret Origins #14
Suicide Squad #1 to #4
Firestorm #64, Annual #5
Suicide Squad #5 to #8
Millennium #1 to #4
Reading the Millennium event is a bit like extra credit for this period of Suicide Squad. The bare bones of what you need, and what’s collected in volume 2, is Suicide Squad #9 to #18, with Justice League International #13 after SS #12.
Suicide Squad #9 to #12
Justice League International #13
Suicide Squad #13
Secret Origins #28
Suicide Squad #14 to #18
Deadshot: Beginnings #1 to #4
It’s no accident that 2016’s Suicide Squad cast Will Smith as Deadshot, and this solo miniseries showcases the deeply wounded psychology of the assassin in brilliant ways. There’s a reason Deadshot: Beginnings is inside the top 100 of my favorite comics of all time.
Suicide Squad #19 to #20
Suicide Squad Annual #1
Suicide Squad #21 to #22
Invasion! #1 to #2
Invasion! is another DC Universe event that is not included in the Suicide Squad collections. Again, extra credit to provide DCU context for Suicide Squad at the time.
Suicide Squad #23
Suicide Squad #24 to #26
Suicide Squad #27
Suicide Squad #28
Suicide Squad #29
Suicide Squad #30
Captain Atom #30
Suicide Squad #31 to #66
The Universe wide crossovers and tie-ins thin out for this period of Suicide Squad, which was cancelled with issue #66 in 1992.
I’ll end this era of Suicide Squad with the all-time introduction to Harley Quinn, who will become a crucial part of the Squad in later years. If you’re familiar with Batman: The Animated Series, you’ll recognize “Mad Love,” and if not, this comics adaptation from Paul Dini and Bruce Timm is a worthy introduction.
Return of The Suicide Squad (2001 to 2011)
The Suicide Squad float around the 1990’s, with very limited appearances following their series cancellation in 1992. The Squad didn’t reappear in earnest until a 12 issue series relaunch in late 2001, led by writer Keith Giffen. This second volume is as yet uncollected.
Suicide Squad (Vol. 2) #1 to #12
Note that this has nothing to do with the Suicide Squad as we know it at this point in the DCU! Nonetheless, Harley Quinn’s current involvement with the Squad gives us reason to enjoy her comics as well!
Deadshot: Bulletproof #1 to #5
Secret Six Vol. 1: Villains United Villains United #1 to #6, Secret Six #1 to #6, Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special #1
A comparable Suicide Squad inspired series, Secret Six is the best villains team-up during the 2000’s era DCU, and offers plenty more Deadshot and Bane action.
Following the events of Infinite Crisis, DC launched 52, a weekly comic with writing from the likes of Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid. It’s a fascinating DC Universe experience, and worth reading in its own right.
That said, it’s a 52 issue comic book series that is only tangentially related to Suicide Squad, and is deeply ingrained in the DC comics continuity of the 2000’s. It’s a recommended read in that context, and if you absolutely want to know what was happening to the members of the Suicide Squad throughout the 2000’s. Most of you new to Suicide Squad can quite reasonably skip.
Although it’s not titled Suicide Squad, Greg Rucka’s time writing Checkmate is about as close to a great Suicide Squad ongoing as the DC Universe had been in years.
The three collected editions above will cover Checkmate #1 to #22.
Suicide Squad: From the Ashes #1 to #8
John Ostrander returns to the Suicide Squad in earnest, with this miniseries diving into the return of Rick Flag, Jr.
Secret Six Vol. 2: Money and Murder #1 to #14
Secret Six Vol. 3 #15 to #24, Suicide Squad #67
Gail Simone’s work on Secret Six is so great, John Ostrander teamed up with her to write the all-new Suicide Squad #67.
Secret Six #25 to #36
As far as I can tell, still uncollected, but will wrap up Simone’s run on Secret Six.
Gotham City Sirens Vol. 1 #1 to #13
Gotham City Sirens Vol. 2 #14 to #26
Excellent Pre-New 52 series focusing on Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Come for the Harley Quinn and Joker elements, stay for the excellent Bat villain team-up series!
Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo’s Joker graphic novel is out of DC continuity, but will give you a dark, stylized Joker in a way I hadn’t seen him. It’s a good read in its own right, and a clear testament to the flexibility of the Clown Prince of Crime’s character.
New 52 Suicide Squad Reading Order
You can see how Suicide Squad fits into the New 52 with Comic Book Herald’s complete New 52 reading order.
Suicide Squad Vol. 4: Discipline and Punish #20 to #23, Deadshot #1, Harley Quinn #1
Suicide Squad Vol. 5: Walled In #24 to #30
Note that all issues of “Walled In” include the Forever Evil DC event banner on the cover. Note that they are also written by Matt Kindt, the brain behind my 6th favorite comic of all time, Mind MGMT. All of this collection can be read after Forever Evil #2, with the exception of Suicide Squad #30, which falls after Forever Evil #7.
Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City #0 to #8
Harley Quinn Vol. 2: Power Outage #9 to #13
Harley Quinn Vol. 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab #14 to #16, Annual #1, Holiday Special #1, Valentine’s Day Special #1
New Suicide Squad Vol. 2 #9 to #15
Deathstroke Vol. 3 Suicide Run Deathstroke #11 to #16
Takes you through Suicide Squad #22
DC Rebirth Suicide Squad Reading Order
You can see how Suicide Squad fits into the whole DC Universe with Comic Book Herald’s complete DC Rebirth reading order.
Collects: Suicide Rebirth #1, Suicide Squad #1 to #4
Collects: Harley Quinn #1 to #7