DC Entertainment’s Suicide Squad is set to stir up trouble at theaters across the world starting next week, and tons of people are excited to see the DCU’s resident team of super-criminals in action (myself included).
But, that means we have whole DAYS to wait before we can see the movie (the humanity!), so what else are we going to do but fall back on the age-old tradition of asking “Who would win?” between two sets of comic book characters. In this case, we’re comparing the Suicide Squad with their Marvel Comics counterparts, The Thunderbolts!
Now, before we get into things, there’s something to understand: The Thunderbolts have gone through a number of roster changes over the years, so I’ve done my best to pick characters that were fairly consistent or prominent, in order to create a reasonable match-up! I’m also restricting myself to the confirmed Suicide Squad characters from the upcoming film.
If you don’t like these loose guidelines I’ve set for myself, feel free to write my editor (she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org).
A Brief History Lesson
Suicide Squad: Recognizing that there were plenty of perfectly good (okay, slightly damaged) super-powered people rotting away behind bars, elements of the U.S. government recognized an opportunity to “recruit” some super soldiers. Promising these criminals pardons in exchange for their service, these rogue agents created the shadowy Task Force X, which unofficially became known as the Suicide Squad. These various criminals worked as black ops wet work teams, assassinating political opponents, hunting down rogue super-humans, and generally operating as government-sanctioned bad guys!
The Thunderbolts: At one point, the majority of Earth’s heroes (the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and others) were presumed dead. As a result, super-villains throughout the Marvel Universe were having a veritable field day with their various schemes and such, since there weren’t many good guys around to stop them. One super-villain, Baron Zemo, recognized this as a golden opportunity to win the trust and admiration of the entire world… then use that trust and admiration to take over said world. He pulled together a team of fellow villains and convinced them to masquerade as super-heroes, in order to gain access to Avengers Mansion, the Fantastic Four’s Baxter Building, and other high-tech, classified super-hero stuff. Adopting new identities and costumes, the villains-in-disguise became … The Thunderbolts! Over the course of many years, the Thunderbolts morphed into a government-sanctioned team of super-villains – some looking to reform, others operating under coercion.
Without further ado, let’s get ready to rumble!
Harley Quinn Moonstone
Honestly, this one is pretty unfair. Dr. Harleen Quinzel, more commonly known as Harley Quinn, is a good hand-to-hand combatant and all, with an array of weapons and dirty tricks. On the other hand, Moonstone (aka Dr. Karla Sofen) is infused with the power of an otherworldly gem that grants her flight, control over light, the ability to project laser beams, and intangibility.
Quinn likely manages to keep Moonstone off-guard, what with her knowledge of psychology and being straight-up crazy. As good a manipulator and psychologist as Moonstone is, I’m not sure she’d be able to anticipate Harley Quinn’s tactics easily. Mix in Harley Quinn’s various weapons and diversionary tactics, and Moonstone is going to struggle to pin Harley down. But that would only last for so long, as Moonstone’s ability to fly, fire lasers, and become intangible would keep her more-or-less out of harm’s way long enough to figure out Harley’s erratic behavior.
Needless to say, Moonstone almost certainly nabs the win here just due to the sheer imbalance in power levels, but considering that both she and Quinn are both psychologists-turned-supervillains, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to pit them against each other!
Suicide Squad: 0, Thunderbolts: 1
Killer Croc Venom
This is a fun one. Killer Croc is an inhumanly strong, incredibly durable freak of nature with a savage cannibalistic streak. Venom is an alien symbiote granting its human host super-strength, unbelievable agility, durability, and web-like tendrils that he can use to swing between buildings, bind opponents, and climb up walls.
Venom is more at home in open areas, what with his web-slinging and such. However, he’s no stranger to cramped sewer tunnels and similar environments, meaning that he can take the fight to Killer Croc’s home turf. Of course, close quarters would hamper Venom’s mobility, and Killer Croc specializes in getting close and ripping opponents apart. The biggest threat to Venom would be if Croc managed to take the fight underwater, but even there Venom might be able to overpower Killer Croc – Venom is stronger than Spider-Man, and while Killer Croc is easily stronger than Batman, he’s nowhere near as physically powerful as Venom is.
Honestly, while I think Croc would give Venom quite a workout, ultimately the alien symbiote would overpower Croc and chalk up a second win for Team Marvel.
Suicide Squad: 0, Thunderbolts: 2
Hmmm. Deadshot is a master assassin, who is known for never missing his target (statistically speaking, at least; he’s missed plenty of heroes like Batman, Nightwing, and others, but he has far, far more successful assassinations under his belt than failures). He has a variety of firearms, including custom wrist-mounted cannons, an armored suit, and a high-tech eyepiece that assists with target identification, tracking, and lining up a shot. He’s also a respectable hand-to-hand combatant, though that’s definitely not his specialty. Taskmaster is a mutant with the ability to mimic the combat moves of any person he studies, who is also in peak physical condition. He can perfectly mimic Captain America, Daredevil, the Punisher, and other heroes, going toe-to-toe with them in a fight. Combine that with his personal arsenal, such as a shield, sword, knife, bow & arrows, pistol, and any number of other hidden weapons, and Taskmaster is a tough opponent.
I feel like Deadshot would have a distinct advantage in his ability to make optimal use of the environment. He wouldn’t get involved in a straight forward fight, instead opting to sneak around the area and find a perfect firing position. Even if he did get cornered, he could probably use the environment to his advantage, collapsing walls and otherwise causing trouble for Taskmaster until he could line up a shot.
In the end, Taskmaster wouldn’t have time to study and copy Deadshot’s fighting style. After a few rounds of trading punches, or even gunshots, I feel like Deadshot would manage to pick off Taskmaster and score DC their first win.
Suicide Squad: 1, Thunderbolts: 2
El Diablo Atlas
El Diablo is a pyrokinetic gang member with a conscience. Atlas is a former soldier with the ability to grow giant-sized, and increase his strength accordingly. It might seem like Atlas has this fight locked down, but the fact is he’s not very smart when on his own, and considering that he’s legitimately trying to reform his villainous ways, I think he would make some mistakes. Plus, El Diablo’s ability to project scorching waves of heat and jets of flame give him the advantage of range on Atlas, allowing Diablo to keep his distance long enough to create a distraction or trap Atlas in a burning building.
In this case, I doubt it’s a matter of El Diablo knocking Atlas out as much as it is a matter of El Diablo escaping and leaving Atlas scratching his head. Not very dramatic, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor!
Suicide Squad: 2, Thunderbolts: 2
Honestly, this would probably be the coolest match-up to read in comic book form. Enchantress is a woman imbued with magical powers by a demonic entity that shares her body. Songbird is a mutant with a powerful sonic scream that she can focus through a high-tech harness to create constructs out of solid sound. Both characters have a lot of versatility in their power sets.
Enchantress can heal, teleport, manipulate and generate various kinds of energy, and achieve a number of other effects using her magic. Unfortunately, Enchantress’s control over her powers is somewhat shaky, meaning that she might not be able to tap into her full potential if she’s pressured by her opponent. Songbird’s powers are purely sound-based, but she has been using them for a long time in her tenures as villain and hero alike, so she knows how to get the most out of her abilities. Not only that, Songbird worked with Baron Zemo for a time, and she learned her tactical acumen from a man that often came close to killing Captain America himself.
It was tough to decide this one, but after mulling it over, I think that Enchantress would win this fight – once she realized the nature of Songbird’s powers, it would be a simple feat to weave a magical area of silence that rendered the sound-controlling hero powerless. While Songbird might still be able to win in a hand-to-hand fight, I doubt Enchantress would give her the chance!
Suicide Squad: 3, Thunderbolts: 2
Rick Flag MACH IV
Rick Flag is essentially a normal soldier – extremely well-trained and used to combatting super-powered threats, yes, but still just a soldier. MACH IV is a second-string villain-turned-hero with a suit of powered armor equipped with a variety of rockets and machine guns. The fact that MACH IV can fly and is protected by his armored suit gives him a serious advantage – combine that with his technologically advanced targeting system and other gadgets, and this becomes almost no contest.
However, Rick Flag does have access to a range of high-caliber military weapons, and some explosives to boot. A well-placed shot from a grenade launcher could easily disable MACH IV’s flight, eliminating that advantage. Considering that MACH IV is essentially a mechanic in a discount Iron Man suit, putting him on the ground with Flag is a dangerous proposition.
Plus, Rick Flag is pretty ruthless and cold-blooded, not to mention he has exceptional tactical and situational awareness. Despite being a former villain, MACH IV is a legitimately good person, and combined with his tendency to rush right into danger, I think ultimately he would pull his punches and give Flag the chance to gain the upper hand.
Suicide Squad: 4, Thunderbolts: 2
Captain Boomerang Bullseye
This is another match that would be awesome to see on the page, in full color glory. Captain Boomerang is, as one might guess, a master of the boomerang. He’s so good with his weapon of choice that he gives the Flash himself a run for his money. Throw in a dash of low-level super speed (at least in the comic book iteration, I don’t know about the movie version), and Capt. Boomerang is a legitimately dangerous foe. Bullseye, on the other hand, is a complete psychopath who can throw any object as a lethal weapon, and his fighting skills are good enough that he once killed Elektra, considered to be one of the greatest martial artists in the Marvel Universe.
I think that Capt. Boomerang would prove an infuriatingly elusive target for Bullseye, what with his super-speed. The fact that his boomerangs can double back and strike at Bullseye from unpredictable angles just means that the fight is even tougher to call. I imagine the match would remain a stalemate right up until the end, with both villains struggling to sneak in a good throw and get the upper hand.
However, ultimately Bullseye can use anything as a weapon, including the good Captain’s own boomerangs. If Bullseye can get in close even for a split second, he wouldn’t hesitate to finish Capt. Boomerang off, so I have to give this win to the Thunderbolts!
Suicide Squad: 4, Thunderbolts: 3
Slipknot is a master-class assassin in the DC Universe, with a mastery of ropes and knots that borders on supernatural. Add in the fact that he is an expert martial artist, and has developed his own chemical formula that makes his ropes nigh unbreakable, and the man could be seriously dangerous despite his silly premise. Deadpool… well, really, do I have to introduce Deadpool? The Merc with the Mouth is also a world-class martial artist, a marksman, and an eternally regenerating pain in the ass. Armed with his dual katanas, dual pistols, and more pouches than you can shake a 1990’s gritty paramilitary superhero at, Deadpool is ready for just about anything.
As entertaining as this fight would be, what with Slipknot tying Deadpool up in those unbreakable ropes, it’s not like the master of knots poses any real threat to the Merc. Even if Slipknot strangled him to death, Deadpool would just heal and come back for more. Slipknot couldn’t even reliably tie Deadpool up and just leave him there – between the Merc’s ability to dislocate/break his various joints and bones and the fact that he typically has some sort of teleportation device on him, Deadpool would just weasel out in no time. This is a no-brainer – Deadpool ties up the score!
Suicide Squad: 4, Thunderbolts: 4
Katana Lady Deathstrike
Katana is a Japanese woman who studied under a samurai, wields a magical cursed katana called Soultaker, and trained with Batman. She’s often included in discussions of the DC Universe’s top martial artists. Lady Deathstrike is a Japanese woman-turned-cyborg with adamantium bones & claws, as well as augmented strength, speed, and durability. Coincidentally, Lady Deathstrike has also trained as a samurai, and she makes for an exceedingly lethal opponent when using her cybernetic enhancements in conjunction with her martial arts training.
While on the surface this fight seems like it favors Lady Deathstrike, the truth is that Katana is a better fighter – you don’t train with Batman for years and not get a leg up on most opponents. Plus, her sword is literally magical – even with adamantium claws, Lady Deathstrike isn’t cutting through Soultaker, effectively negating one of Deathstrike’s primary advantages. Of course, Lady Deathstrike isn’t going to fight fairly. Without a doubt, she’ll be looking for any dirty trick she can use to throw Katana off, and I imagine that Katana would be walking away with a couple of scars.
However, she would be the one walking away. While there’s no doubt in my mind that this would be an awesome battle, I feel like Katana’s status as a hero would ensure her victory in this match-up!
Suicide Squad: 5, Thunderbolts: 4
Joker Green Goblin
Okay, this one’s cheating on both sides. Joker isn’t technically a member of the Suicide Squad in the comics or in the movie (as far as we know). Also, Green Goblin wasn’t technically a member of the Thunderbolts – Norman Osborne led the team under the alias Iron Patriot. But come on, these two are both crazy, they’re criminal masterminds, they’re nemeses for two of their brands’ most popular heroes, they typically employ themed explosives and other weapons… It’s too good an opportunity to pass up!
Down to brass tacks. While these two characters seem similar, they achieve their goals through very different means.
Joker is a raving lunatic, unpredictable and ruthless. He has at his disposal his signature laughing gas, guns, knives, explosives, and various other weapons disguised as novelty items. He also has a seemingly endless supply of loyal thugs, goons, and gang members ready and willing to do his bidding.
Green Goblin is also a ruthless psychopath, but he fits more of the classic supervillain mold – high-tech gadgets such as a glider, grenades, body armor, and chemically augmented strength and durability.
Right off the bat, Goblin has a height advantage with his glider. However, a hail of gunfire from Joker’s thugs counters that even with Green Goblin tossing a few pumpkin bombs into their midst. Once Goblin is grounded, he’s easily a match for a dozen or so goons, effectively neutralizing Joker’s gang. Of course, that’s not taking into consideration Joker himself, who is dangerous in his own right – a few well-placed booby traps would knock Green Goblin off-balance.
Ultimately, I feel like Green Goblin claims victory in this fight. His superhuman strength, agility, and durability mean he’s able to take a lot of punishment, and while Joker’s deviousness allows him to keep Batman guessing when it comes to the Clown Prince of Crime’s schemes, in a straight-up fistfight Joker simply can’t compete.
Suicide Squad: 5, Thunderbolts: 5
And with that, it’s all tied up!
That does it for the first bracket of Suicide Squad vs. The Thunderbolts! Tune in next time when we go for Round 2, pitting the winners against each other to see which team ultimately comes out as the baddest of the bad!
What do you think? Did I leave out a character that should be in here? Is there a match that you disagree with? Let me know in the comments!