SUICIDE SQUAD WEEK continues with a look at the uptight field commander of the Suicide Squad. How uptight? We're talking Cyclops level. Flag is most famous for the hideous yellow shirt he insisted on wearing into combat. He was like Linus from Peanuts, only instead of a blanket Flag had his lucky shirt that made him feel safe - even when bad guys were shooting directly at his neon yellow center of mass.
It's funny that Rick Flag's name rhymes with "punching bag," because that's basically what he is - a superhero punching bag. Flag gets his ass handed to him in every other issue of Suicide Squad. There's just something about Flag, some je ne sais quoi that just makes people want to punch him directly in the face.
Batman wants to punch Rick Flag. In Suicide Squad #13, our team meets the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire era of the Justice League. Naturally, they fight. As per the rules, the two teams eventually realize they shouldn't be fighting and the declare a truce.
Except Batman, he's not done fighting. He wants to punch Rick Flag. Punch him dead.
I gotta hand it to Rick Flag, anybody that can go toe-to-toe with Batman for more than two panels is pretty bad ass. He even manages to chip the end off of one of Batman's ear things. Despite Rick Flag's pluck and spunkiness and chutzpah, he is fighting Batman - and that means he's going to the hospital.
While Flag bleeds and twitches on the floor, Batman turns and walks away, his victory somewhat diminished by the absence of one of his pointy ear things. Maybe there's a lesson there for all of us: Batman will hospitalize you if you touch his pointy ear things.
I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the shirt, or the weird stare, or his haircut, or his lack of respect for personal boundaries, or his braying donkey-like laugh -- whatever it is, people want to punch Rick Flag.
Pirates want to punch him:
I take back what I said about Flag being tough; it looks like he's getting his ass kicked by a salsa dance instructor. Just kidding! That's actually Mark Shaw (aka Manhunter) in his rakish Privateer identity, and he's a tough mother even with an eye patch and a puffy pirate shirt. He beats the living bejeesus out of Flag, who may have been drinking as well.
Flag sleeps there on the floor for the next six hours while people step over and around him. Never end your evening with shots of Jaegermeister and nitrous hits, my man. Also, don't fight pirates.
After a while, all that bludgeoning and punching that Rick Flag endured took its toll, and he went a little bit crazy. It went beyond wearing the day-glo shirt; Flag got really creepy and possessive with this girl Karen who worked in IT, and he murdered this one dude in order to keep his job. And frankly, his psychosis was affecting his performance at work.
Flag was last seen in Suicide Squad #26, invading a mountain fortress in "Qurac" on a literal suicide mission - but he was wearing a sensible black outfit, thank God. He was trying to dismantle a terrorist atomic bomb, but Flag's long time rival Rustam had other plans.
Plans that involve punching Rick Flag. And stabbing him. And maybe kissing him...
It's a good thing, too, otherwise we would have had to watch Rustam kick Rick Flag's ass. I understand that somehow The Man in Yellow is coming back from the grave in the relaunch of Suicide Squad. If it involves Rick getting in brawls with anybody and everybody, I'm all for it.
Good old Rick Flag, obliging sparring partner to all comers in the DC Universe. I salute the sacrifice the man made to his cognitive abilities in order to keep me entertained.