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Rick Flag of the Suicide Squad (post-Crisis DC Comics) with arms crossed

Colonel Rick Flag

(Post-Crisis version (profile #1 - pre-Skartaris))


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Rick Flag is the leader of several versions of DC Comics’ Suicide Squad. This profile covers the version of the character that appeared from 1987 to 2007 – from the Crisis on Infinite Earths to his apparent death at Jotunheim.

We strongly suggest that you first read our Suicide Squad (Mission X version) profile for context.

As to the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths version of Rick Flag, it is in another castle.


Background

  • Real Name: Colonel Richard Rogers Flag
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Richard Montgomery Flag (father, deceased), Sharon Race Flag (mother, deceased), Richard Flag III (son)
  • Group Affiliation: Suicide Squad
  • Base Of Operations: Belle Reve Prison, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 210 lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Flag was originally a gifted, highly trained military pilot. He has since evolved well beyond these roots, having years of experience as a top special operative, commando and military intelligence specialist.

He can operate a seemingly endless variety of vehicles, from paddleboat to stratofortress . And he can fight with nearly any modern weapon and several types of military hand-to-hand training.

Colonel Flag is not a combat monster or a master of some exotic skills. But he is a very experienced operative with extensive training, and a good field commander. In most cases he operates on a low cinematic  levels, conservatively spending his Hero Points .

In DC Heroes terms his Guilt Drawback means that he has to be careful with his HPs spending. So most of the time it doesn’t looks like he has a solid HPs total.

He has twice given a solid account of himself against Batman (and once against the Bronze Tiger), for almost a minute of hand-to-hand combat. But this was done by uncharacteristically burning through his Hero Points. Though he could land hits and take a remarkable amount of punishment, he couldn’t really hurt his nigh-invincible opponents.

Rick Flag, Jr. and the Suicide Squad about to attack Jotunheim

Flag is smart. He can definitely come up with intricate yet effective plans. He’s good at employing the skills and powers of his teams. His long intelligence background means that he understands stealth, manipulation, decoys and other subtle tools. He and Waller make an excellent pair of mission planners.

While he’s a bird Colonel, Flag doesn’t hold a command. However, he had full authority over the security forces at Belle Reve, which is noted as the equivalent of a Lieutenant Rank in game terms.

Equipment

  • A high-quality, compact Colt M1911 variant. The exact model in our game stats is arbitrary.
  • Wrist radio used for communication among the field team.
  • Flag can pack additional equipment for some missions, though he prefers reliable basics and will not generally carry big-time equipment. His job is to command, not slug it out with superhumans. Classics include :
    • Low-light binoculars
    • Uzi submachinegun. The older full-sized model with a wooden stock.
    • Laser rifle. These laser rifles were only used to defend Belle Reve against superhumans – they are fragile and hold a limited charge, and would be of little use in the field. Presumably, it was a modified version of one such rifle that was issued to Deadshot to Operation: Brimstone. The basic model was of limited use against the Female Furies, but it could hurt them whereas they ignored firearms.
    • The Belle Reve security team also once produced special firearms of unknown specifications. Those may have been custom-made shotguns holding two or three large-bore, extra-long explosive shells.
    • Fighting knife. Flag produced a military fighting knife but once – it thus seems to have been a mission-specific backup weapon, presumably for stealth missions.
  • In the one known flashback to his Forgotten Heroes years, Colonel Flag is armed with a M16A1 and what I assume is a Colt M1911A1. Some recent flashbacks to the early Suicide Squad (Waller version) missions also depict him with a M16.

Considering the continuity conundrum

Though this profile assumes that one has read the Suicide Squad (Mission X) article, here is a quick recap about the continuity mess.

Richard Flag is NOT:

Rick Flag, Jr. with his pistol on the ground, over a white background

With that out, there are two approaches to chronology:

  • The official DC approach is that the Squad was perpetually created 6 or 7 years ago – meaning the mid-2000s as of this writing. The bulk of super-heroes stories perpetually started 10-12 years ago – meaning circa 2000 as of this writing.
  • This approach creates numerous problems and make it impossible for third parties to document continuity in any depth. Our Suicide Squad (Mission X) profile thus suggests a timeline using actual, fixed dates. It should be understood that they are NOT official and are solely used to keep the articles organised.

In 2008, Rick Flag was retconned into… never having existed, and having been an unwitting impostor all along. This will be covered in the next Rick Flag profile. Don’t worry about that for now.


History

Richard Rogers Flag is the son of Richard Montgomery Flag, the Commanding Officer of the Suicide Squadron during the 1940s and 1950s. A special-purpose military unit, the Squadron fought in the Pacific, then in Korea. It was later reinvented as the military arm of Task Force X, a secret agency dealing with extraordinary menaces against the United States.

Rick Flag, Jr. with Amanda Waller and the Penguin

For more about the Suicide Squadron of the 1940s and 1950s, see the extensive Suicide Squadron article on writeups.org.

The basic facts are that Rick Flag lost his parents when he was but a boy. His mother sacrificed herself to save him from a runaway car. Some years later his father — very affected by the death of his wife — sacrificed himself to stop an enormous War Wheel from killing thousands.

These deaths were the continuation of a long trail of blood. It had started in the 1940s. During the war dozens if not hundreds of Suicide Squad soldiers sacrificed their lives so that other may live — and urged their comrades to carry on in their name.

Hardened by the loss of his parents and raised by his father’s lifelong buddy Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, Rick Flag grew determined to serve. He became a military officer and a fighter pilot as soon as possible.

Flag was considered one of the finest fighter pilots in the US during these years, though almost all his chronicled exploits occurred on the ground. He was noted for a rivalry with another best-of-the-best pilot, Ace Morgan.

Tactical Air Command

Flag was eventually tapped by Gen. Wade Eiling as part of Project Eagle. The goal was to assemble a special forces commando answering to Eiling alone, amade up of men with a special kind of drive. Flag was the field commander. His men were called Caetano, Eddie Vracek, Vega and “Dutchman” van Damm.

They were presumably all manipulated by Eiling to have an exceptional level of motivation, even by the lofty special operations standards. Among other things, Eiling had them all implanted with post-hypnotic suggestions forcing them to follow his orders.

This Suicide Squad operated in Iran at least 4 times. They relied on a local named Dr. Raza Kattuah, an archaeologist whom the Americans knew under the code name Rustam. Rustam was a reliable ally for Eiling’s men. But, true to form, Eiling later decided that Kattuah had outlived his usefulness. A US air raid “accidentally” bombed his house.

The hit failed. Kattuah’s entire family was killed, but he survived. Rustam became a sworn enemy of the US, and would become Flag’s nemesis.

Rick Flag, Jr. and the Bronze Tiger

Gen. Eiling eventually chose to expend his Suicide Squad. A highly-placed foreign ally became suspected of collaborating with Americans, and needed to have his credibility reinforced. Eiling sent his Suicide Squad to kill that man without telling them that he was a US collaborator, then warned the target.

Flag’s team was ambushed and killed off, with Flag being the only survivor. The trail of blood went on, as the members of this Suicide Squad urged Flag to carry on in their name.

Flag realised that Eiling had sent them to die. But the general simply used the post-hypnotic implants to have Flag stand down and forget about Eiling’s treason.

Mission X

Flag eventually recuperated from the operation that saw the loss of the Squad. He was sent to assist aerospace research as a top USAF pilot. During this research program he met with a military physician, Karin Grace. Grace was Flag’s great love, though she bore an unhealthy resemblance to Flag’s mother.

A new, four-man Suicide Squad was soon assembled. This one would not be a special forces unit. Instead, it was a way to partially fill the security hole that followed the closure of Task Force X. Like with Task Force X’s Suicide Squad, the goal was to foil extraordinary and paranormal menaces against the US and the “free world”.

Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, who had been a friend of Rick Flag, Sr., wanted the younger Flag to head this unit. Gen. Eiling agreed – quite probably to have a man within Stuart’s organisation.

Rick Flag, Jr. vs. Batman

The point was for the military to have its equivalent to the Challengers of the Unknown. As such it was chiefly composed of brains rather than muscle. Beyond the well-educated Flag providing military skills, the team relied on two scientists and a doctor. The physician was Karin Grace. The scientists were Dr. Evans (an astronomer) and Jess Bright (a physicist).

All team members had been picked for their selfless resolve stemming from traumatic events. That was presumably on Eiling’s recommendation based on the previous Suicide Squad. Though the team’s performance in the field was extraordinary, deep fissures existed within their psyches.

Furthermore there was little precedent in gender-integrated field units. The men’s wish to impress Grace with their exploits became a crutch to ignore their various PTSD  symptoms. Flag and Grace decided to hide their relationship from the 2 scientists, sensing that it would shatter the team’s exceptional but fragile dynamics.

The Suicide Squad indeed disintegrated during a mission in Cambodia, when Flag and Grace’s relationship was exposed. As detailed in our Suicide Squad (Mission X) entry, Hugh Evans was killed, Jess Bright was thought KIA for decades, and Dr. Karin Grace experienced a severe breakdown.

Wait in the fire, wait in the fire

What happened between Col. Rick Flag and Dr. Karin Grace after Cambodia was never quite documented. What is known is that Flag visited Grace several times at the hospital after her breakdown. But the doctors asked him to stop as it made it difficult for them to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder. Rick never learned that Karin was pregnant and had his son.

Rick Flag, Jr. facing Amanda Waller

Why he never saw her again between the doctor’s request and Waller’s Suicide Squad is less clear. Grace is known to have rebuilt her memories to cope with her severe PTSD, re-imagining her relationship with Flag as hurtful and cruel. It is thus likely that she was the one who avoided contact until she came to desire vengeance for imaginary mistreatments.

However, one also gets the faint impression that Flag no longer had the courage to face Grace. He preferred to wallow in his memories of her and used the doctor’s request not to see her as his excuse. Given later events, it is possible that he mashed the loss of two Suicide Squads and of his lover into one ugly neurotic hairball eating at him.

Danger trail

Rick Flag carried on as a solo operative for military intelligence. Presumably most of his work was for Air Force Intelligence and Gen. Eiling. Later bits of dialogue imply that Captain Atom (Nathaniel Adams/Cameron Scott), another Eiling operative, was familiar with — and perhaps even a friend of — Col. Flag. Flag did not appear to know Atom’s secret identity, though.

Rick Flag, Jr. and the Suicide Squad in a forest

These years of intelligence and special operations work are mostly undocumented.

One of the Colonel’s last missions was to infiltrate a band of adventurers called the Forgotten Heroes. The Heroes had been assembled by the Immortal Man in his eternal war against Vandal Savage.

Savage was attempting to recover various fragments of the meteor that had empowered him and his nemesis during prehistory. To do so he ventured through space and time. To stall the Immortal Man, Savage assembled a group of operatives whom he called the Forgotten Villains, including future Suicide Squad member the Enchantress.

The Heroes were at that point Congo Bill (in his Congorilla body), Rip Hunter, Dane Dorrance of the Sea Devils, Cave Carson, Animal Man (Buddy Baker), Dolphin and Colonel Flag – though their membership slowly evolved over the decades.

The details of Flag’s infiltration mission — such as whether his backers were Vandal Savage agents in the US government — are unrevealed. So is the length of his collaboration with the Heroes. From later remarks, one gets the impression that Flag was proud of his time with the Heroes.

King Faraday of the CBI then recruited Rick Flag for a special mission, to recover the Bronze Tiger (Ben Turner). Turner had been brainwashed into serving the League of Assassins. Yet Faraday thought that it was possible to deprogram him and reclaim the Tiger’s unbelievable martial skills for US intelligence.

Rick Flag, Jr. and the Suicide Squad in a Russian prison

Faraday, Flag and a young agent code-named Nightshade (Eve Eden) successfully stormed a League of Assassins base. Flag held off the Tiger in hand-to-hand combat long enough for his allies to eliminate the other assassins and pump Turner full of tranq darts. The 3 agents returned to the US with Turner, who was successfully deprogrammed.

The Tiger drew the attention of a newcomer in the intelligence world, Amanda Waller, who helped with his deprogramming.

A question of time

Using our suggested timeline in the Suicide Squad (Mission X) profile, the rough chronology of Flag’s biography is as follow. This timeline is *non-official*, and we’ll keep it in a boxed section for clarity’s sake. See the Mission X Suicide Squad article for discussion of the other five (!) known timelines for the Squad.

  • Born circa 1930
  • 1945 – death of Mrs. Flag
  • Graduates as a Lieutenant circa 1952. The USAF Academy didn’t exist back then, so it seems likely that he was a Naval Aviator who studied and trained in Annapolis.
  • 1955 – Rick Flag Jr. transfers to the USAF
  • 1956 – Death of his father. Flag, Sr.’s Suicide Squad apparently doesn’t survive him.
  • 1957 – Recruited to join a new Suicide Squad (this one a USAF special forces commando). This unique unit – at a time where the USAF was barely starting to train ground troops to protect air bases – was essentially Gen. Wade Eiling’s private death squad.
  • 1957 – Eiling’s Suicide Squad operates in Iran. In this timeline, it was presumably a follow-up to Operation Ajax, when the CIA and MI6 deposed the Iranian government.
  • 1958 – Eiling sends Flag’s unit to its death. In the comics, the death of this Suicide Squad is a part of the War on Drugs. For this timeline, it would have occurred during the CIA-backed anti-Sukarno uprising in Indonesia.
    Flag is the only survivor. He is sent to the NACA for aerospace work, where he meets Karin Grace, as part of his recovery.
  • 1959 – the Mission X Suicide Squad is formed
  • 1965 – mission to Cambodia, the Suicide Squad disintegrates
  • 1966 – Flag returns to duty, presumably under Gen. Eiling. His career as such is undocumented.
  • 1984 – Flag joins the Forgotten Heroes
  • 1985 – Flag, King Faraday and Nightshade free Ben Turner from the League of Assassins
  • 1986 – Eiling agrees to transfer Flag to Waller.

The Wall makes an opening

During the mid-1980s, a Washington insider named Amanda Waller obtained Ronald Reagan’s authorisation to set up a new Suicide Squad. That was despite opposition from members of the US intelligence community.

Rick Flag, Jr. and the Suicide Squad about to intervene in Manhattan

The Squad had always employed problem individuals and sent them on high-risk missions as expendable assets. Waller took that reasoning one step further by staffing her ops teams with super-villains. This version of the Squad set up shop in 1986 in the Belle Reve prison, a pen in Louisiana built to hold superhumans and other high-risks prisoners.

Suitable prisoners were offered years off their sentence in exchange for participating to missions and keeping their mouth shut. They were kept in line with tampering-proof explosive bracelets affixed to their wrist. The whole operation was run in full secrecy, and employing costumed criminals meant superior deniability.

Waller couldn’t rely solely on criminals, though. Her ground crew was made up of civil servants – a pilot (Briscoe), two psychiatrists (Dr. LaGrieve and Dr. Herrs), a computers expert (Flo Crawley) and an aircraft mechanic (Mitch Sekofsky) with his own crew. Later on, the chaplain and the chief scientist of Belle Reve (Rev. Craemer and Professor Callendar) also provided their expertise.

Waller also recruited the two known survivors of the previous Suicide Squad – though that was not her original plan. An experienced intelligence man was needed to command crews of criminals, and she wanted Ben Turner. But negotiating that proved impossible due to the resistance against her projects.

Waller was forced to compromise. She ended up having to take Colonel Rick Flag as field leader.

Flag had the blessing of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. More importantly his presence in the Squad was the only way to gain the approval of Gen. Wade Eiling. Waller resented this and distrusted Flag. She suspected that he was some sort of plant. Amanda remained hostile and unfair toward Flag during this entire era, though he occasionally managed to impress even the Wall.

Rick Flag, Jr. about to kill Senator Cray

Waller then went on to recruit the other Mission X Suicide Squad survivor – Karin Grace, whom she hired as a physician. It seems that Waller recruited her out of spite, to get back at Flag. Grace was quite willing to emotionally hurt Flag – see her writeups.org entry.

Flag and Waller agreed to have Ben Turner become Flag’s second in command. They approached the third member of the CBI team that had freed Turner, Eve Eden. Eden and Waller hammered out a deal so she’d work with the Squad. Flag, Turner and Eden formed the reliable, non-criminal backbone of the Squad and became friends.

They were also the least expendable Squad members, though Waller wouldn’t have minded terribly had Flag encountered an untimely demise.

Dogs of war, part 1

While planning its first operation, the Squad was scrambled to respond to the Legends crisis . This outing was an unexpected success as the team destroyed Darkseid’s gigantic agent Brimstone, taking but one casualty in the process.

Deadshot agreed to join on a permanent basis for personal reasons, as did Enchantress. Captain Boomerang was kept on the team as he had proved too much of a secrecy risk.

The Squad began operations but two months after the Darkseid crisis. They launched the strike for which they had presumably been assembled.

The nation of Qurac had assembled, after years of efforts, a team of super-terrorists, the Jihad. The goal of Qurac’s President Marlo was to sell the services of this team to create a revenue stream. Parties with a axe to grind against the USA were the most likely customers.

The field leader of the Jihad was Rustam, out for revenge against the US for Gen. Eiling’s treason and murder of his family. The Jihad was installed in Jotunheim, a fortress built by the Nazis in Qurac during World War Two.

Rick Flag, Jr. and the Suicide Squad briefed by Amanda Waller

Waller and Flag had already arranged for an operative — Nightshade — to be planted among the Jihad. The first major customer was also an undercover Squad member – Nemesis. Though there was one treason and one casualty, the well-prepared operation was a partial success. The Jihad was crippled, but not thoroughly destroyed.

During the raid on Jotunheim Flag clashed with his opposite number on the Jihad, Rustam, but did not manage to kill him.

Dogs of war, part 2

In the wake of this mission Flag discovered that Waller had authorised torture/brainwashing sessions to purge memories of the Squad from unreliable operatives. This happened to Plastique, who had tried to switch to the Jihad during the operation in Qurac. Flag was furious, and intended to resign over the matter.

The Female Furies then invaded Belle Reve and reclaimed the imprisoned Gordon Godfrey. During the fray Waller came to admit that Flag was right and stated that she wouldn’t again resort to such means. Flag decided to stay.

The Squad then successfully sabotaged the rise of William Heller. Heller was funding various White supremacist groups in the US and was attempting to trigger race riots.

Rick Flag, Jr. cleaning his pistol

An attempt to shut down Firestorm, however, did not go well. Firestorm had been demanding the destruction of the world’s nuclear weapon. The US government wanted him out. A team mostly made up of known Firestorm opponents was sent in for maximum deniability, but the intervention of the Justice League made it go sour.

The Squad’s NSC  liaison Derek Tolliver panicked and released the Parasite. Flag was forced to leave Firestorm alone to concentrate on taking the Parasite down with the Justice League’s help.

The mission was a nasty failure. Squad operatives had been filmed (though they remained amply deniable), Multiplex was apparently killed by the Parasite, Firestorm got away, civilians were wounded. And while Batman assumed that Flag was still working with the Forgotten Heroes, his suspicions were aroused.

A Squad team was next sent to count a Cold War propaganda coup. They were to free a Soviet dissident from prison before Gorbatchev would. This mission went partially sour as the dissident did not want to leave, and the unstable Enchantress went berserk. Furthermore the US State Dept. got into a political fight with the NSC for ordering the mission.

The team made it out of USSR by the skin of their teeth. They lost Nemesis (Thomas Tresser) who took huge risks to cover their egress. The dissident was gunned down by Soviet troops, making the mission a success for propaganda purposes.

It reminds me of the pain I might leave…

Back stateside, Flag wanted to immediately start putting together a mission to rescue Tresser. Waller rejected this as utter folly.

Furthermore, Karin Grace started a campaign of emotional warfare against Flag. It included passive-aggressive accusations of betrayal and the transfer of her lover, Mark Shaw, to the team so Flag would see them together.

When Flag, exhausted by exposure to the Russian winter, grabbed Karin by the shoulders, Shaw punched him out. Ben Turner was made mission commander in Flag’s stead.

Rick Flag, Jr. threatens a man in a suit

During the Millennium crisis, the Squad was not activated – but the Manhunter cult was clearly taking an interest in them. Waller and the Belle Reve warden decided to strike first after intelligence indicated that a major Manhunter base was hidden in the bayou near Belle Reve.

A car bomb was put together and loaded with an explosive so potent that the odds of survival of those delivering it were slim. Flag knew that it was likely a suicide mission, and intended to deliver the bomb himself.

At this point, the combination of guilt over the losses and failures of the various Squads, of his fixation on duty, and of Grace’s harassment made heroic suicide an attractive option, mimicking the death of his father.

Karin Grace was actually a Manhunter double agent. She volunteered to join the mission in the bayou. After the Manhunters stopped most of Flag’s team, Grace drew the Colonel into a trap and had him captured.

…leave behind

However, she discovered that the Manhunters had tricked her all along. When they ordered her to gun down the unconscious Flag, Karin realised how badly her memories of her relationship with Flag had been repressed and biased.

Asking Mark Shaw to tell Flag that she now remembered and asked for his forgiveness, Dr. Grace turned against the Manhunters. She delivered the car bomb herself. She also continued the Suicide Squad trail of blood, asking that Flag carry on in her name.

Karin’s sacrifice destroyed the Manhunter base, avenging her manipulation at the hands of the Manhunters and allowing Flag and most of the team to survive.

Rick Flag, Jr. and the Forgotten Heroes

Colonel Flag was devastated by Karin’s death and last words. Amanda Waller kept him out of command for a while, expecting him to snap if pushed. However, when Batman invaded Belle Reve, Flag faced him hand-to-hand then chewed up the operatives present for their behaviour. This impressed even Waller who reinstated him.

Though he seemed to function more or less normally, Dr. Grace’s sacrifice had been the coup de grâce to Flag’s morale. By that point it was inevitable that Flag would find an opportunity to die as his father did.

Have gun, will travel (part 1)

Waller had generally avoided getting involved in President Reagan’s wars in Latin America. But when reactionary American vigilante Hawk was captured by Sandinista troops in Nicaragua, there was little choice but to send a team and extract him. Flag went in with two expendables (Mister 104 and the Weasel) and two promising agents (Psi and the Thinker).

The mission went bad as soon as the op area was reached. Mister 104 rebelled and destroyed the whole team’s explosives bracelets. Howbeit the Thinker wanted to take the Suicide Squad deal, and psychically reined 104 in.

Furthermore, the Doom Patrol had been sent in by rival intelligence agencies to steal Waller’s thunder. The two teams ran right into each other. Mr. 104 had a vendetta against Cliff Steele and attacked, sending the whole situation out of control.

The Thinker was killed by the Weasel. Flag took his psychotronic  helmet to regain control of the situation – but the helmet overrode Flag’s mentality, turning him into a megalomaniac and control freak. As a result he lashed out against a Rocket Red unit that had come to kidnap Hawk, worsening the catastrophic situation.

Rick Flag, Jr. with a long coat and the early Suicide Squad

Psi and Mister 104 were gunned down by the Rocket Reds. The helmet then forced Flag to murder the Weasel in revenge for the Thinker’s death. The shock of killing one of his own men made it possible for Flag to remove the helmet and regain his free will.

After briefly passing out, Flag lucked out and stumbled upon Hawk, whom he brought back stateside. The mission was a success, but only Flag had survived it.

Have gun, will travel (part 2)

Meanwhile, another team was sent to assassinate Colombian drugs lord Cujo and destroy a huge stock of cocaine. They worked with DEA agent Roy Harper and ex-JLA heroine Vixen. The mission was a success, with no casualties.

Flag again attempted to have a rescue mission to recover Nemesis (Thomas Tresser) authorised. But as expected it was shot down – especially since it increasingly looked like the Soviets were using Nemesis as bait.

Flag, Turner and Eden decided to launch the mission anyway, taking a team of super-villains with them without briefing them. At this point, Flag had chosen Nemesis’s life over his career, and was expecting to end up in jail even if the mission worked.

Rick Flag, Jr. as a Forgotten Heroes member

Upon learning of Flag’s unauthorised actions, Waller had the Justice League International scrambled to stop him. The two teams reached an understanding in the field after some minor clashes, and Nemesis was recovered under JLI authority.

One clash wasn’t minor, however. Batman was about to quit the JLI in frustration, and Flag reacted in anger to seeing how Batman looked down on him and his motley crew. The two very tense men brutally slugged it out. Though Flag gave an excellent account of himself, he lost and had to be hospitalised in a terrible state.

Thus, Flag couldn’t take part to the next mission to free Nightshade’s brother in her native dimension . Yet he willed himself to recover in time to join the next mission.

While the Nightshade mission had mostly failed, it had led to the Squad meeting with Rac Shade. Shade helped them return home and explained the threat of the Meta Zone infiltrators on Earth. Waller immediately authorised a mission to deal with those. The strike was a complete success and Flag gunned down Z.Z., Shade’s enemy.

The decision is taken

Meanwhile, the Jihad had rebuilt itself under Rustam’s leadership. This time they struck first, launching a number of simultaneous metahuman terror attacks throughout Manhattan. Though orders were not to engage so as to preserve secrecy, Flag and Turner scrambled what they had and intervened anyway.

The Squad successfully engaged the Jihad, and Flag attempted to kill Rustam for the second time. The two fighters were again separated before one could kill the other, as Rustam destroyed the bridge they were fighting on.

After that case, Colonel Flag overheard their former NSC liaison, Derek Tolliver, threatening Waller with exposing the Squad. He wanted the team to dance to his tune and get the corrupt Senator Cray reelected. Flag snapped and shoved his .45 in Tolliver’s face, but Waller forced him to back down with her own gun.

Rick Flag, Jr. using his wrist communicator

This is presumably at this point that Flag took his decision as to how he would go out. He stopped attending the therapy sessions of Dr. LaGrieve. He became increasingly withdrawn and morbid, staring at photos of Karin Grace for hours and rejecting Eve Eden’s determined attempts at helping him.

Flag felt that his failures as the Squad’s leader had dishonoured the memory of father. In Rick’s opinion Richard Montgomery Flag would have turned the shambling, chaotic Squad into a disciplined crack unit by now.

Death wish

Colonel Flag requisitioned a jet fighter at Belle Reve’s Yeager Airfield. He flew to Washington without filling a flight plan. He murdered Tolliver to prevent him from exposing the Squad, then located Cray.

Waller had sent the Squad to stop Flag, and Deadshot did locate the Colonel. But for personal reasons, Deadshot opted to kill Cray himself then attempt a suicide-by-cop. Flag left before this showdown, to go on with his plan.

Rick Flag, Jr. is told what the Suicide Squad is about

Unbeknownst to Flag, a corrupt police detective found Tolliver’s projected press release. He sold it to the Daily Planet. The deaths of Tolliver and Cray only led to the Planet treating the story as serious, and the existence of the Squad was exposed.

Flag had already left the country, though, and headed for Qurac. There, Rustam was preparing a third Jihad.

From his father — who during WWII successfully raided the impregnable Jotunheim fortress now hosting the Jihad — Flag knew of ways to sneak into Rustam’s base. He also knew that a Nazi prototype atomic bomb was buried in the basement. Rick intended to find it and detonate it.

Rustam spotted him at the last moment, but Flag was successful – razing Jotunheim and ending the Jihad. Both Flag and Rustam were at ground zero of the atomic blast.

Post-mortem interlude

Though Rick Flag was later revealed not to have died, there were a few appearances of his in the afterlife. This is a common issue in both the Marvel and DC Universes, and one suspects that these dimensions do not function as people expect them to.

While hovering a bit beyond death, Captain Atom had visions. In those he helped Rick Flag overcome obstacles in a sort of purgatory so they could both reach a sort of paradise, where Col. Flag was reunited with Dr. Grace. Atom soon left this apparent afterlife to face Nekron. It seems likely that his visions and Flag’s presence were allegories and hallucinations.

Rick Flag, Jr. is recruited by Amanda Waller

During the Day of Judgement crisis , Rick Flag was among a number of fallen heroes found in Purgatory. These were allegedly heroes stuck there as a result of their own failures and shortcomings.

A task force of living heroes came there to recover Hal Jordan. But angel-like humanoids called Keepers intervened to prevent Jordan from escaping back to life. Seeing another chance at heroism, Flag, the Vigilante (Adrian Chase) and other fallen heroes fought the Keeper to allow the living heroes to leave with Jordan.


Description

Flag wears a costume of sorts as a member of Waller’s Squad. He has a tight yellow T-shirt, black trousers with red piping, and a readily visible shoulder holster for his .45.

Flag had previously favoured wearing deprecated USAF uniforms, but wearing something resembling a US uniform was no longer possible with this version of the Squad.


Personality

Flag is at this point burnt out – though “hollowed out” might be a better description. This is the result of decades of service in a hard, treacherous job. He solely exists to carry out his duty as a veteran special operations and military intelligence officer, no matter what the odds and the hardship. He has already lost most of what he had to lose.

Rick comes across as wooden and mechanical and it sometimes feels like he’s just going through the motions.

His core problem is survivor’s guilt – starting with the death of his mother to save his life. The destruction of the Mission X Suicide Squad essentially left him a dead man walking. He could still function fine as an intelligence field officer, but was diminished on an emotional and human level.

The death of Karin Grace finished him off. At that point it was written that he would go out like his father before him – by finding a respectable and heroic way to commit suicide.

Sacred duty

Duty has become everything to Flag. It’s all that he has left, and he clings to it as a drowning man to a lifeline. He’s adamant about accomplishing his duty, grows irritated when his resolve is questioned, and is committed to his mission even if that must cost him his life. He knows, and accepts, that he’s always been expendable.

Furthermore, the Suicide Squad is the familial legacy. And he’s sworn to carry on in the name of all the heroes who fell in service as Squad members since 1943.

Rick Flag, Jr. briefs the Suicide Squad

Flag sees himself as a good guy despite his blood-soaked job. There are extremities that he will never accept, such as torture, collateral damage, or gratuitous deaths, and he genuinely fights for democracy and the good stuff. He was burnt out as a person, but his cynicism clearly didn’t extend to the principles he defended.

This rapidly eroded after Dr. Grace’s death and the failure of some missions. By the time of the Janus Directive plot , Flag barely blinked when ordered to assassinate American citizens.

Death is here, is there

The Colonel can easily come across as gloomy. He has seen numerous agents die, and knows that more will die yet. He frequently reminds his operatives to be on their toes and that things could go very bad at any moment for any reason. Flag’s priority is the mission, but his second priority is to bring back as many operatives as he can, even when they are expendable thugs and psychos.

Flag, deep down, would have liked being a super-hero and more clearly fight the good fight. This is impossible in practice, though the Mission X version of the Squad and the Forgotten Heroes took him close to that. He chafes at Waller’s ethically dubious Squad missions and having to operate with criminals, and would much prefer a cleaner situation.

On the other hand that is his duty. He also knows what his father did with a loosely comparable band of misfits, scum and murderers. He seems to feel that he has to measure up to that.


Quotes

Bronze Tiger: “Looks like we’re off to a flying start.”
Rick Flag: “Could be worse. Probably will be. Let’s get going.”

“My real objection to the mission is that it’s not necessary. Like the Penguin said, it’s for propaganda.”

(To the Enchantress) “Get this straight – I’m not your friend, I’m not your social worker, and I don’t have to be nice.”

“If I don’t make it, you take command. Don’t leave anybody behind, Ben, if you can help it. Okay ?”

(As Batman leaves Belle Reve, Flag chews up Deadshot) “Let me tell you something ! That man is worth any 10 of creeps like you or Boomerang ! He’s a man I’d have been *proud* to serve with instead of the two-bit jerks like you I get stuck with ! And now that man’s my enemy ! Just to protect scum like you ! Well, you and the other are going to shape up, Lawton. Or I’ll by God know the reason why !”

Rick Flag, Jr. vs. the Privateer

(As the convalescent Flag comes in to join a field mission)
Amanda Waller: “Who said you were ready, Colonel ?”
Rick Flag: “I did. Want to fight about it ?”

Rick Flag: “Some things in life are worth more than your life.”
Eve Eden: “The Squad isn’t one of them, Rick.”
Rick Flag: “The Squad’s all I got left, Eve.”

“I won’t ask you to ‘carry on for me’, Eve. That’s a dead end I’ve found myself in. Live your life. Get out of the Squad before it poisons you. Be happy – for God’s sake, be happy if you can. That was something I never learned to do.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Colonel Flag

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Responsibility
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Military operative
Inf: 06 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 019 HP: 040

Powers:
Iron will: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:
Iron will is a Skilled Power, and is limited to effects that would have him abandon his duty as an officer

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing, Dodging): 05, Charisma*: 06, Martial artist (AV, RV): 07, Martial artist (OV): 06, Martial artist (EV): 05, Medicine (First aid): 03, Military science: 06, Vehicles (Air, Land, Water): 06, Thief (Stealth): 05, Weaponry (Infantry weapons): 06

Advantages:
Credentials (US Military, Medium ; US Intelligence, Low), Familiarity (Lips-reading), Leadership, Expertise (Wilderness survival, Special operations work), Rank (equivalent to a Lieutenant)

Connections:
Suicide Squad (Low), Bronze Tiger (Ben Turner) (High), Amanda Waller (Low), Nightshade (Eve Eden) (High)

Drawbacks:
Guilt, SIA toward Duty, Misc.: Flag is implanted with an irresistible post-hypnotic compulsion to freeze then do Gen. Eiling’s binding when he hears the words “dies iræ”.

Equipment:

  • .45 Kimber Compact Stainless [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Range: 03, Ammo: 07, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range, used the listed Range instead, R#02].
  • WRIST RADIO [BODY 01, Radio communications: 07]. Used for communication among the field team.
  • Flag can pack additional equipment for some missions. Classics include :
    • Low-light binoculars [BODY 01, Ultra-Vision (Night vision only): 09, Telescopic vision: 05, R#02].
    • Uzi submachinegun [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 07, R#02, Advantage : Autofire].
    • Laser rifle [BODY 01, Laser beam: 06, Sharpness (Laser beam): 03, Range: 03, Ammo: 02, R#05, Limitation: Laser Beam has No Range, use Range instead].
    • Knife [BODY 06, EV 03 (04 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist)]


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Colonel Rick Flag (post-Crisis, pre-Skartaris) — Averaged PL 7.6

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
01 03 02 04 07 03 02 02

Powers

Duty-bound ● 1 point ● Descriptor: Discipline, sense of duty
– Enhanced Will 3 (limited 2 to effects that would have him abandon his duty as an officer)
– Second Chance (limited 1 to effects that would have him abandon his duty as an officer)

Combat Advantages

Close attack 1, Defensive Roll 2, Improved Trip, Ranged Attack 4

Other Advantages

Benefit 2 (US Military connections and rank), Contacts, Equipment 4, Leadership, Tracking

Skills

Athletics 5 (+6), Close combat (Unarmed) 2 (+10), Deception 4 (+6), Expertise (Special Operations soldier) 10 (+13), Expertise (Military intelligence operative) 8 (+11), Expertise (Small unit tactics) 7 (+10), Expertise (Lip-reading) 3 (+6), Expertise (Wilderness survival) 6 (+9), Insight 4 (+6), Intimidation 3 (+5), Perception 5 (+7), Persuasion 3 (+5), Ranged combat (Firearms) 4 (+10), Stealth 5 (+7), Treatment 1 (+4)

Equipment

.45 pistol Light pistol ● 6 points
Wrist radio Commlink ● 1 point
Mission-specific equipment has included:
Low-light binoculars — Senses 4 (Extended visual 2, Darkvision) ● 4 points
Uzi — Ranged Multiattack ballistic Damage 4 ● 12 points
Laser rifle — Ranged Penetrating laser Damage 5, Quirk 2 (fragile, 2 shots) ● 13 points
Combat knife — Strength-based piercing Damage 1, Improved Critical 1 ● 2 points

Offense

Initiative +2
Unarmed +10, Close, Damage
Firearms +10, Ranged, Damage by type

Defence

Dodge 08 Fortitude 07
Parry 09 Toughness 03*/05
Will 07

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Baggage Flag lives with crushing levels of guilt, PTSD, survivor’s guilt
  • Danger trail Flag’s job is hideously dangerous. Furthermore his interests and his superiors’ do not align, and many of them are complete bastards
  • Service Rick deeply believes in duty and honour, and is the inheritor of the Suicide Squad unit tradition of sacrifice and chain of blood. He also feels he has to measure up to his father’s extraordinary example
  • Mind control Flag is implanted with an irresistible post-hypnotic compulsion to freeze then do Gen. Eiling’s binding when he hears the words “dies iræ”.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 7, Dodge/Toughness PL 7, Parry/Toughness PL 7, Fort/Will PL 7
  • Points total 148 Abilities 78, Defences 17, Skills 35, Powers 1, Devices 0, Advantages 17. Equiv. PL 10.

Notes

The Limited on the Second Chance in his Power is debatable. I considered that it was narrower than usual for Second Chance, mostly based on the fact it didn’t come up much (the incident with the Thinker’s helmet being the main example).

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: DC Universe (chiefly Suicide Squad)

Helper(s): Frank Murdock

Writeup completed on the 25th of November, 2011.

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