More than any other team in the DC Universe, Amanda Waller’s Task Force X is known for its versatile membership. With a roster designed for expendability, you can always expect fresh faces on each new plausibly deniable mission just waiting to explode the moment they step out of line. Across comics, television, film and video games, we’ve counted 244 characters—some heroes, but mostly villains—who have suited up for a Suicide Mission. More than half of these are one-timers, brought in on special proviso or killed after a single job.

Yet, expendable as they are, some Task Force agents prove more reliable than others, such as the four playable characters in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. But why is that? How, out of everyone who’s ever been part of the Suicide Squad, did we up with a team of Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, King Shark and Harley Quinn on the Suicide Squad’s first video game? With such a heavily rotating cast, are these really the villains most synonymous with the team? To answer that, we had to resort to the one thing we never thought we’d have to do when we became professional writers: math.

Introducing: The Squad Score

To determine who the most iconic characters are on the Suicide Squad, we here at came up with a (totally unofficial, but still really cool) formula we’re calling the “Squad Score.” If a character appears as a member of the Suicide Squad in a collected comic book story, they earn one point. For example, John Ostrander and Kim Yale’s 1987 Suicide Squad series was collected in eight volumes. So, a character who hypothetically appeared on the team in all eight volumes of that series would earn eight points.

For this exercise, we reviewed every single Suicide Squad comic published to date, but also every story arc which features the Suicide Squad, including Elseworlds stories.

But how to account for media outside of comics, which typically reaches a wider audience? Your mom might know that Harley Quinn is a member of the Suicide Squad, for example, even if she had never heard of other mainstays like Bronze Tiger or Count Vertigo. To account for this, characters were awarded three points for each television show, video game or animated film which featured them as a member of the team, and a whopping five points for appearing as a team member in either of the two live action movies. Characters like Harley, Captain Boomerang and Rick Flag, who appeared in both, got ten.

Don’t like it? You make the rules next time. But we put a lot of work into this weird exercise and we’re going to show off the results. Of the 244 names we processed, only seventeen managed to score in the double digits. And some of them…may surprise you.

So, Who’s Top of the Squad?

Just eking in at ten points each are Cheetah, Deathstroke and The Suicide Squad’s Bloodsport. Cheetah managed to hustle her way onto this list thanks to an appearance in the animated Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, and her role as a semi-consistent utility player in the New 52, New Suicide Squad, and recent War for Earth-3 outings. Deathstroke was included as a member of the team in the LEGO DC video games, and has drifted in and out of the team as he’s seen fit since 2014’s New Suicide Squad. Formerly obscure Superman villain Bloodsport owes his appearance on this list entirely to the Idris Elba factor, with his cinematic debut heralding a headline in the 2021 Suicide Squad comic series.

Four points ahead is Aquaman’s nemesis, Black Manta. In addition to featuring in every story of New Suicide Squad, Manta reported in for the animated incarnations of the team in Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War and Young Justice.

Tied at fifteen each is former Firestorm villain Plastique and walking contradiction Peacemaker. The explosive generating Plastique’s membership on the team dates back to Ostrander and Yale’s Suicide Squad #1 and has remained a constant presence since—including appearances in the animated Justice League Unlimited and Harley Quinn, and even a live action membership in Smallville. Peacemaker, in contrast, is a relative newcomer to the team, making his squad debut alongside Bloodsport in 2021’s The Suicide Squad. But Christopher Smith has taken to the role like the shine on his helmet, inseparable in the three years since.

Next up with a Squad Score of sixteen is Green Arrow villain Count Vertigo. Only appearing on the team outside of comics once, in Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, Vertigo earned his score by putting in the work: consistent team membership through multiple incarnations, dating all the way back to the debut of Waller’s squad in 1986’s Legends. The secret to his loyalty? He’s looking for a reason to die on one of these missions. But it never happens to the guys who want it.

At 21, we have Bronze Tiger—one of the highest Squad Scored heroes in the team’s history, with a pivotal role in the Squad’s earliest incarnations as one of the field leaders who keeps the troublesome villains in line. Like Vertigo, Bronze Tiger appears in Hell to Pay, but works that much harder as he wrestles with the question of whether, deep down, he’s really any better than the killers on his team.

Just ahead of Bronze Tiger at a Squad Score of 25 is the antihero who may be his spiritual successor on the team: El Diablo, originally a 2008 reimagining of one of DC’s classic Western rangers of vengeance. Chato Santana has been backing up the Squad with fiery fists and a guilty heart since the 2011 New 52 relaunch which also brought Harley Quinn onto the roster. Santana made it all the way to the 2016 Suicide Squad movie, and though he was dropped from the A Team in the concurrent comic relaunch, El Diablo stuck around to pinch hit from then on as needed.

At 26, we’ve got our wild card for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League—King Shark. (Though, with the game’s release, we’ll technically have to bump him to 29, bringing him up from seventh place to fifth.) Like El Diablo, King Shark made his Squad debut in the 2011 Suicide Squad series, though he was regularly held back on missions for bad behavior. Adaptations love him, though. He’s been included on the team for Batman: Assault on Arkham (which, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is basically a Suicide Squad movie that also happens to have Batman in it), LEGO Batman, 2021’s The Suicide Squad and will soon make the cut for the upcoming anime series Suicide Squad ISEKAI. Since his breakout in the 2021 film, King Shark’s been getting more inclusion with the team for recent outings. What can we say? The camera loves Nanaue.

Just ahead of King Shark is Killer Croc, whose 28 points probably belong to King Shark on a parallel Earth. Legend has it that King Shark was originally slated for Croc’s role in the 2016 Suicide Squad film, but directional change gave way to Killer Croc’s presence in the film and ubiquity in subsequent comics. But it seems like there’s only room for one semiaquatic man-beast on the team, as the rise of King Shark has afforded Waylon Jones a leave of absence.

Tied at 29 points each—and soon to be joined by King Shark—are two other members of the 2016 movie Squad, Enchantress and Katana. Enchantress dates back to Waller’s original ‘86 roster and made the cut as the major plot mover for their first live action film, guaranteeing her a place on the Rebirth-era team. She was joined on screen by newcomer Katana as the morally uncompromisable team member needed to keep the Squad in line—a role she’d continue to bring to the comics thereafter.

Now we get up to the big numbers. Our fourth place Squad Member is Rick Flag—son of Rick Flag Sr., leader of the Silver Age Suicide Squad predating Waller’s team of costumed misfits. With his 44 Squad Score, Rick is a stalwart, dependable government man, valuable as the straight man to the Squad’s colorful wackiness. Rick Flag’s the only member of our top four who isn’t a playable character in Kill the Justice League, but let’s be honest. When the other options are Harley Quinn, Deadshot and Captain Boomerang, who would you rather play: the gimmickless army guy…or King Shark?

Coming in at number three with a score of 70 is Harley Quinn. You know who she is. As synonymous with the Squad now as practically anyone, Harley’s been on nearly every incarnation of the team since the once controversial choice to separate her from Gotham and the Batman books in 2011. Harley finally earned her reprieve from the Squad in Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s Suicide Squad: Bad Blood, but with a brand new series, Suicide Squad: Dream Team, announced for this March, it seems she’ll be reporting back in for duty soon. At this point, seniority is the only reason she doesn’t place higher, with her competition just as synonymous with the team as she is now and for longer.

Only two members of the Suicide Squad have put in more hours on the team than Harleen the Queen. And one of them is George “Boomerbutt” Harkness. Back in the long ago, he was once a Flash villain, but at this point he’s been with the Squad so long that even he’s practically forgotten that. Perennially snide, cowardly and a pain in Waller’s butt, a Suicide Squad run never really feels like a Suicide Squad run without Captain Boomerang. At 80 points, a slight case of death between Identity Crisis and Blackest Night is the only reason he runs behind the team’s all-time MVP. Thanks, Tim Drake’s dad.

Which leaves us, naturally, with Deadshot, who's our winner with a whopping 86 points. Floyd Lawton debuted as a one-off Batman rival in 1950, returned with a classy new look in 1977, and was drafted for the Suicide Squad the moment Waller opened up registration for super-villains in Legends #1. Since then, nary an incarnation of the Squad has been complete without him. Deadshot has served with the team pretty much continually through 2020, until he went out the only way a Suicide Squad member ever truly gets off: in a body bag. Filling in for him since then has been his cinematic replacement Bloodsport, and yet more recently, Amanda Waller’s own nephew, Deadeye. But even on the front lines of the Squad, the dead don’t stay that way for long. If Boomerbutt ever wants that top spot for himself, he better hustle.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is now available on PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC.

Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask the Question" column and writes about games, movies, TV, comics and superhero history for Follow him on Bluesky at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC or Warner Bros. Discovery, nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.