A forerunner to the Suicide Squad led by Green Lantern Guy Gardner makes the movie team look downright pathetic in comparison. The Suicide Squad that fans know and love made its debut during the 1987 Legends crossover event. But a year prior as the Crisis on Infinite Earths raged across the DC Universe Guy Gardner assembled a ragtag group of villains and led them in assault on the all powerful Anti Monitor putting the movie version as well as most other subsequent versions to shame.The first Suicide Squad also known as Task Force X debuted in 1959s The Brave and the Bold 25 by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru this version would fade into obscurity soon after. A new incarnation of the team resembling the one best known to fans premiered in 1987s Legends 3 by John Ostrander Len Wein and John Byrne. Comprised of some of the DC Universes vilest villains the Suicide Squad undertakes hazardous missions on behalf of the United States government in exchange for time off their sentences. At the helm of Suicide Squad is Amanda Waller an indomitable force of nature who uses strong arm tactics and sheer intimidation to keep the Squad in line.
However a year prior to the debut of Wallers team a forerunner of sorts to the Suicide Squad came together in Green Lantern 168 to 198 by Steve Englehart and Joe Staton. These issues which also tied into then current Crisis on Infinite Earths see Guy Gardner reinstated to the Green Lantern Corps full time. The Guardians believe that a tactical strike on the Anti Monitors home world of Qward will defeat him and charge Gardner with coordinating the team. To help Guy marshals together a team of villains including Shark Sonar and Goldface to help him. Gardner also manages to convince Hal Jordan then exiled from the Corps to assist as well. With his forces gathered Green Lantern Guy Gardner departs for the anti matter universe. However the Guardians have been misled destroying the moon will actually give the Anti Monitor unlimited power. Now the Green Lantern Corps must follow Gardner and his proto Suicide Squad to Qward in a desperate attempt to stop them.
While this team is not referred to as the Suicide Squad it is not hard to see it as a forerunner to that team and one that eclipses its successors as well as the film version. Guy Gardner brings together a team of villains to help him supposedly save the universe by killing the Anti Monitor essentially a space god. Subsequent versions of the Suicide Squad would largely deal with more grounded Earth bound threats. Likewise the film versions do not have the ambition glimpsed in Guy Gardners proto Suicide Squad either. While he lacks the presence of the Suicide Squads Amanda Waller Guy Gardner still strong arms villains into joining his team and uses force to keep them in line.In the past year Amanda Waller has expanded the scope of the Suicide Squad taking the teamm into the multiverse as well as the afterlife. A year prior to the Squads debut however Green Lantern Guy Gardner led an early version of the team one that makes subsequent versions look pale in comparison.