As if his day job as co-executive producer on Supernatural didn't take him to enough dark places, Adam Glass' new gig writing DC Comics' Suicide Squad is also packed with depravity. The comic book, whose first issue goes on sale Wednesday as part of DC's relaunch of its entire line, features a team of hardened super villains who are recruited into a government black ops team as a way to reduce their prison sentences. Their missions are brutal and bloody (the first issue includes a harrowing torture sequence) and as the name of the team implies, survival is never guaranteed.
The Squad is run by Amanda Waller, a ruthless agent who is not afraid to get blood on her hands. "Espionage is not pretty, it's not martinis and tuxedos, it's usually down and dirty," Glass says by telephone, taking a break from writing an outline for the 11th episode of Supernatural's upcoming seventh season. "She cleans up the messes nobody else will deal with. If you know Amanda Waller's name, then she's doing something wrong."
Glass filled his roster with a mix of DC Comics villains both well known and obscure. Perhaps most famous — but not recognizable here thanks to a redesign of her costume — is Harley Quinn, a former psychiatrist who fell in love with the Joker and turned to a life of crime. "The thought was, let's see her operate outside of the Joker, not being obsessed 24/7," Glass says of the famously nutty moll, who first appeared in TV's Batman: The Animated Series. "One thing that I think gets downplayed with her is how smart she is. This is a woman who is a mastermind in her own right." But fans of the character shouldn't expect a lobotomy. "We didn't lose any of the humor," Glass promises. "She's still funny, she's still sexy, she's still a little crazy. This is Harley if she's moved away from home, her chance to shine on her own."
Other members of the team include the cold-hearted master marksman Deadshot, another longtime fan favorite and member of past incarnations of the Squad; the over-the-top human/shark hybrid King Shark; El Diablo, a fire-wielding religious man who is looking for redemption; tech-savvy vigilante Black Spider; Savant, a master extortionist; and the brand-new character Voltaic, a mercenary with electricity-based powers. Spoiler alert: One member won't be on the team by the end of issue No. 1.
Glass accepted the offer to write this motley crew because, "I just love swimming in the grey," he says. "I love superheroes... but I like the darker areas, I like to work with the morality play of it all. These characters are perfect fodder for that... They're not heroes, but like everybody, when you get in certain situations, even your worst bad guy might mind that he's got a hero in him."
He's also excited about being a part of DC's ambitious plan to reboot its entire universe. "Change is never easy, but it's always inevitable," says Glass, whose TV résumé includes stints at Cold Case and The Cleaner. "It's exciting to be going after a whole new generation of readers, but also not forgetting our fans. As a fanboy it's so exciting to be a part of something like this."
Here's an exclusive first look at four pages from Suicide Squad No. 1. Federico Dallocchio, Ransom Getty and Scott Hanna are the artists for the issue, but future issues may feature others.
To find a comic book shop near you, go to comicshoplocator.com. The issue (and all of the new DC titles) can also be downloaded on your PC at read.dccomics.com and on mobile devices through iOS (Apple devices), Android and WP7.