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Rounding Up the Easter Eggs in The Suicide Squad

Rounding Up the Easter Eggs in The Suicide Squad

By Joshua Lapin-Bertone Friday, August 6th, 2021

SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains massive spoilers from James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. We recommend reading it only after you’ve watched the movie.

Raise your hand if you’ve seen The Suicide Squad. Now raise your hand if you’ve already seen it multiple times. Wasn’t that amazing? James Gunn had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Of course, if you know me then you know there was another reason I was sitting so far forward. I was carefully looking at every nametag, every dossier, and listening for every name and reference, trying to find as many DC Universe Easter eggs as I could—and boy, there were a lot! We’ve rounded them all up here for you, so get comfortable and make sure there’s no one suspicious watching you. We all know how Amanda Waller can get when it comes to spilling her secrets…
 

  • The first Easter egg is probably the most important one. The doctor who implants the bomb in Savant’s neck in the movie’s opening scene is played by John Ostrander, a comic book legend who can be considered the father of the Suicide Squad. Ostrander’s 1987 relaunch of the Suicide Squad introduced many iconic concepts, from Amanda Waller, to her signature detonation devices, to the squad’s villainous roster and more. During Ostrander’s iconic run, he collaborated with his wife Kim Yale and artist Luke McDonnell to create some of Task Force X’s most enduring stories. If it wasn’t for Ostrander, we wouldn’t be watching this movie, so it’s only fitting that he shows up here right at the very beginning.

  • Another Ostrander related Easter egg! His character is called Fitzgibbon, a name that appears in every James Gunn movie. Gunn does this to pay tribute to a friend of his named Larry Fitzgibbon.
     
  • To be frank, most of the characters in this movie can be considered Easter eggs! People like Mongal and TDK aren’t exactly heavy hitters. James Gunn took some obscure characters and put them in the spotlight and it’s pretty impressive to see. For more on who these characters are, check out this primer I wrote last year.
     
  • According to James Gunn, Harley’s costume was inspired by her look in the 2011 video game Batman: Arkham City.

  • When Waller’s support team is looking through Savant’s dossier, if you pause at the right moment, you’ll be able to read a list of every prison he’s been incarcerated in. Apparently Savant has spent some time at Iron Heights, DC’s famous penitentiary which first appeared in The Flash: Iron Heights #1.
     
  • The Squad’s mission takes them to Corto Maltese, a fictional DC Universe country that was first seen in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #3. The name of the country was an Easter egg itself, since Frank Miller created the nation as an homage to a famous Italian comic by Hugo Pratt.

  • Amanda Waller details how Bloodsport put Superman in the ICU after shooting him with a Kryptonite bullet. The event she’s referring to is taken directly from 1987’s Superman #4. For more on this incident, and Bloodsport in general, check out this cool DCComics.com primer from my pal Alex Jaffe.
     
  • The shot of King Shark in his cell reading a book is a direct lift from 2013’s Suicide Squad #20.

  • As Bloodsport is walking through Belle Reeve with Waller, pay close attention to the other inmates. There’s a female prisoner with a painted face, and she appears to be Kaleidoscope, a light-based villain who appeared in New Adventures of Superboy #36-37. Now that’s a deep cut! There’s also a brief encounter with Calendar Man (first appearance Detective Comics #259) and Double Down (first appearance The Flash: Iron Heights #1). Fun fact: Calendar Man is played by Sean Gunn, director James Gunn’s brother who also played the Weasel.
     
  • The room where Amanda Waller briefs the Squad for their mission is a live action recreation of the briefing room from John Ostrander’s iconic run. For fans of the original comics, it was like seeing it jump from panel to screen!

  • The Squad’s mission to infiltrate and destroy Jotunheim was taken directly from 1987’s Suicide Squad #1, the beginning of Ostrander’s legendary run. The cinematic fortress is designed to look exactly like its comic book counterpart as well. In the comics, Jotunheim was home to a terrorist group instead of a giant starfish, but what is Starro if not a giant alien terrorist?
     
  • Of course, the giant starfish is from the comics! Starro the Conqueror made his first strike against the world in The Brave and the Bold #28, the first appearance of the Justice League. His horrifying ability to attach miniature extensions of himself on human faces was first used in Justice League of America #189-190. Curious about Starro? Drop by DCComics.com next week for an article filling you in on all you need to know about the cosmic creeper.

  • While detailing Flag’s history with Bloodsport, Waller mentions that the duo helped take down someone named Avral Kaddam in a country called Qurac. The fictional country Qurac was first seen in Tales of the Teen Titans #51. Interestingly, in Ostrander’s Suicide Squad run, Jotunheim was located in Qurac instead of Corto Maltese. Avral Kaddam was a Quraci general who seized power in 1991’s Deathstroke #1-4.
     
  • After Rick Flag is…uh…”rescued,” he changes into a bright yellow shirt. This look is an homage to the battle outfit Rick Flag wore throughout John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad run.

  • At one point in the film, Amanda Waller takes a break from being a ruthless director to practice her golf skills, in anticipation of an upcoming game with Senator Cray. Joseph Cray was a corrupt politician who first appeared in 1987’s Suicide Squad #11. Cray’s son Adam later took Ray Palmer’s place as the Atom (get it?) and spent some time with Task Force X.
     
  • Rick Flag dying as Jotunheim explodes is similar to a story beat from 1989’s Suicide Squad #26 (you guessed it, another Ostrander homage). In the movie, Flag survives the explosion, but is killed by Peacemaker, while in the comics Flag seemingly dies as a bomb destroys Jotunheim. In 2007’s relaunched Suicide Squad #1, readers learned that Flag survived, so maybe his cinematic counterpart has a chance. All Peacemaker did was stab his heart. That’s not so bad, right?
     
  • After Task Force X brings down Starro, DuBois’s daughter learns about their victory by watching GBS. Galaxy Broadcasting System is a media giant that was first seen in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #133. For a time, Clark Kent was their nightly news anchor. If you’re currently watching Superman & Lois, then you might be familiar with the news organization and their shady owner Morgan Edge.
     

All in all, The Suicide Squad was not only a love letter to John Ostrander’s classic run, but to the DC Universe in general. As you know, the movie comes at you fast and there are so many deep-cut references that it’s possible I might have missed a few…which just gives me another excuse to watch the movie again. What about you guys? Did you find any Easter eggs I missed? Reach out to me on Twitter, or post your findings on our DC Universe Infinite Community page.
 

The Suicide Squad, directed by James Gunn, is now in theaters and streaming on HBO Max. Not yet an HBO Max subscriber? Sign up today to enjoy the best of DC movies and TV.

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.