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Rick Flag, Jr. threatens a man in a suit (Suicide Squad / DC comics) (header version)

Colonel Rick Flag

(1980s Yale/Ostrander take) (part 2)


This article is the second half of this profile. *And* it’s part of a huge series.

So please check our Suicide Squad orientation page first, so you know what to read in which order.


A question of time

Here’s a possible timeline for Mr. Flag, assuming that events occur by publication date. As per our “no sliding time“ method.

  • 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 team). 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. This part of his long career 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.

So yes, this means that Col. Flag is chronologically in his 50s and 60s during the heydays of the Yale/Ostrander Suicide Squad stories. See our Aging in Superhero Comics article for more about that, eh ?

Rick Flag of the Suicide Squad (post-Crisis DC Comics) loads his pistol

History (part 2)

In 1985, Amanda Waller created a new version of the Suicide Squad. The concept was closer to those units that Rick Flag’s father had commanded during the 1940s, as she made use of criminals with special capabilities.

It also reused some assets from Rick Flag’s Mission X heydays.

Waller’s project was to have Ben Turner command her unit in the field. But Turner was too Black and too suspicious to the liking of other intelligence big wheels. She therefore had to ally with General Eiling, whom she despised.

Eiling’s condition to support Waller was that Rick Flag would lead the field team.

A few good folks in a cesspool

Amanda Waller took that deal. But she visibly distrusted Flag and resented his presence. She was almost certain that he was Eiling’s mole.

Ben Turner was Flag’s lieutenant. But the two men quickly came to trust and respect each other.

Waller further made a deal with Eve Eden. Who also developed a solid working relationship with both men.

These, plus some members of the ground team, formed the original reliable base to work with. The rest tended to be expendable criminal lowlives.

Waller slowly and warily came to respect Flag as well. Especially as he acted as a counterweight to her more ruthless, cold-blooded penchantsStrong tendency to behave in certain ways..

For the bulk of the events of Flag’s service with Waller’s Suicide Squad, see the corresponding team profiles.

Rick Flag, Jr. and the Suicide Squad in a forest (DC Comics)

History (part 3)

Flag’s time with this Squad proved harrowing :

  • He had never recovered from the trauma of previous missions, particularly Cambodia. Most casualties that Waller’s Squad endured weighed heavily on him. And there was the chain of fallen soldiers calling on him to carry on in their name.
  • Working with scum such as Captain Boomerang (George “Digger” Harkness) was bad for his morale. Especially since Flag had been a bona fide hero during his Mission X days.
  • Rick felt that it was his familial duty to make the Suicide Squad run well. He also tended to compare himself to his father, who had achieved weirdly impossible things with his own units.
  • Waller also hired Karin Grace, since she needed the sort of experience she and Flag had. But for complex reasons having to do with the Manhunters cult, Grace waged a psychological war to destroy Flag’s morale.

And I feel them drown my name

Worn by PTSD  and stress, Rick Flag decided to go out in an heroic act of service. Just like his father had done.

His first attempt was during the Millennium crisis. However, his old flame Karin realised that the Manhunters had deceived her, and had manipulated her into hurting Rick.

She did the suicide run that Rick had been intending to do, asking him to carry on in her name.

Karin’s sacrifice was a major victory in saving Earth. But Rick had lost her again for the last time.

Flag then commanded a mission in Nicaragua that broke real bad. He was the only survivor.

The Squad then had to leave Nemesis (Tom Tresser) behind in the USSR.

Walking to the bright lights in sorrow

Both Flag and Eden were determined to launch a rescue mission. Waller ruled against this, so the pair decided to sacrifice their career to rescue Tresser.

The duo’s special operation in the USSR more or less succeeded. But the Justice League International had been sent to intercept Flag, Eden and their operatives. The harrowed Flag snapped and got into a brawl with Batman (Bruce Wayne).

Though he held his own for a remarkably long time, this achieved little. And the grievously wounded Flag had to be hospitalised.

Colonel Flag cut his hospital stay short to return to his command. But he still sought his dutiful death.

It reminds me of the pain I might leave behind

Flag stopped attending the therapy sessions with Dr. LaGrieve.

The colonel became increasingly withdrawn and morbid, staring at photos of Karin Grace for hours. He rejected Eve Eden’s attempts at helping him.

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

Having accidentally learned of the Tolliver plot, Flag flew to Washington, D.C.. There he :

  • Confronted and executed Derek Tolliver to protect the Squad.
  • Went to kill Tolliver’s ally, Senator Cray.
    But Deadshot (Floyd Lawton) found Flag first. Lawton was in the midst of a psychotic break. He killed Cray himself and let Flag go.
  • Left the US to prepare a big solo strike in Qurac.

I believe my time has come

The Squad’s first full operation had been to attack the Jihad super-mercenaries in Qurac. But though Flag and his operatives had twice prevailed against the Jihad, the team — commanded by Rustam — still presented a major threat.

The Jihad was based in Jotunheim, a fortress built by the Nazis during World War Two. Its distinctive architecture made it almost indestructible.

However, Rick’s father had raided Jotunheim during the War. This successful operation had buried experimental Nazi nuclear warheads that were being developed in Jotunheim’s basement.

Rick had his father’s full reports about this op. He therefore knew of a way to break into the fortress that even the current occupants weren’t aware of. And he knew how to locate and detonate the 40+ year-old nuclear warheads underneath.

Even Rustam couldn’t stop Flag’s solo intrusion. They were both at ground zero when the nukes went off, destroying Jotunheim and the Jihad for good.

Rick Flag of the Suicide Squad (post-Crisis DC Comics) senses danger

Subsequent appearances

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. One suspects that these dimensionsOther realms of existence that are not our universe. do not function as people expect them to.


While hovering a bit beyond death, Captain Atom once had visions. In those he helped Rick Flag overcome obstacles in a sort of purgatory so they could both reach a sort of paradise. There 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 mere allegories and hallucinations.

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 to Purgatory 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 Keepers. This allowed the living heroes to leave with Jordan.


Rick Flag (and Rustam) were later revealed to have escaped at the last second from the atomic blast.

However, it was a “everything you thought you knew about Rick Flag was wrong” story. So it’s prolly best covered separately for clarity.

Rick Flag, Jr. cleaning his pistol (Suicide Squad / DC comics)


Flag is hollowed out. This is the result of decades of service in a hard, treacherous job.

He solely exists to carry out his duty as an officer, no matter what the odds and the hardship. He already lost most of what he had to lose.

Rick comes across as wooden, gloomy and mechanical. 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 his lifeline.

  • He’s adamant about accomplishing his duty.
  • He grows irritated when his resolve is questioned.
  • He is committed to his mission, to the death.
  • He accepts that he’s always been expendable.
  • He’s sworn to carry on in the name of all the heroes who fell in service as Squad members since 1943.

Flag sees himself as a good guy despite his blood-soaked job. There are extremities that he will never accept, such as torture or needless deaths. He genuinely fights for democracy and the good stuff.

The Colonel is burnt out as a person, but his cynicism doesn’t extend to the principles he defends.

However, this rapidly eroded after Dr. Grace’s death. By the time of the Janus Directive plot, Flag barely blinked when ordered to assassinate American citizens.

Death is here, is there

The Colonel frequently reminds his operatives to be on their toes. And that things could go real bad at any moment for any or no reason.

Flag’s priority is the mission, but his second priority is to bring back as many squaddies as he can. Even when they are expendable thugs and psychos.

Rick’s ideal would have been to be a super-hero. That’s impossible in his life, though Mission X then the Forgotten Heroes took him fairly close. He therefore chafes at Waller’s ethically dubious Squad missions and having to operate with criminals.



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 ten 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 !”

(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.”

Rick Flag, Jr. vs. the Privateer (DC Comics) (Suicide Squad) punch

DC Heroes RPG

Colonel Rick Flag (Ostrander version)

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 05
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 06
Inf: 06 Aur: 04 Spi: 05
Init: 019 HP: 040


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.


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


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


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


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”.




Military intelligence officer.




  • .45 Kimber Compact Stainless pistol [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.
  • Additional gear may 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].
    • Knife [BODY 05, Enhance (EV): 01 (Cap is 06), Descriptor: Piercing, Slashing].

Rick Flag, Jr. and the Suicide Squad briefed by Amanda Waller (DC Comics)

DC Adventures RPG

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

01 03 02 04
07 03 02 02


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.


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).


.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.


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


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

* Without Defensive Roll.


  • 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.


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).

Writeups.org writer avatar Sébastien Andrivet

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: DC Comics.

Helper(s): Frank Murdock.

Writeup redone on the 31st of December, 2022.