Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo, the team behind Injustice: Gods Among Us, has reunited for DC's new volume of Suicide Squad - and in addition to harboring (reformed?) criminals, it's also home to a villainous Ted Kord.
'Wait, what? Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle, as a villain?' Let's walk you through it.
The new Suicide Squad so far
Taylor and Redondo's Suicide Squad bringing together a mix of fresh and familiar faces to Task Force X - led by Deadshot and Harley Quinn. From the get-go, the creative team has shaken up the status quo - first by taking Amanda Waller off the team, replaced by a mysterious man named Lok. Not much is known about Lok, but he works for Ted Kord. (More on that in a bit)
As the leader of Task Force X, Amanda Waller has always been a fair but forceful director; Lok, on the other hand, is far more trigger-happy. He forces the Suicide Squad to team up with a new group of international terrorists, the Revolutionaries. Starting off on the wrong foot, there are a good number of members that don't make it - including the 'beloved' Cavalier. But ultimately, these two teams work together to defuse the bombs in their heads and kill Lok.
So with Lok dead, their worries should be over, right? Wrong. Now, this newly-formed mega team has even bigger fish to fry, as Ted Kord walks out of the shadows quite literally to be the big bad of this book. It's revealed that Kord has been the puppet master controlling the new operation.
'But wait, isn't Ted Kord a good guy?'
'Why is he so willing to kill?'
Well, let's take a look back at what we've seen from Ted Kord thus far.
What has Ted been up to?
Ted Kord's first appearance in the modern 'Rebirth' era was in 2016-2017 Blue Beetle series, where he acted as a retired hero helping out the current Blue Beetle, Jamie Reyes.
Kord later popped up in the 2018-2019 Heroes in Crisis event, breaking his friend Booster Gold out of Sanctuary after he was framed for mass-murder. Did the emotional anguish from the events of Heroes in Crisis affect Ted Kord as it did many other heroes? Hard to say, but there were no signs of it in his most recent appearance in The Terrifics. There he was revealed to be a member of the T-Council, where he was cracking jokes with the rest of his teammates.
Ted Kord's in Suicide Squad's 'Bad Blood'
This leads us to Suicide Squad. There's not much yet to connect-the-dots to Kord's more capitalistic approach to life, but it seems like he has fully tapped into his industrial roots with a take-charge attitude now at Kord Industries.
In one issue, he does mention that he has friends in high places as a threat to the Suicide Squad's rebellion. This could imply that he's still friendly with the Justice League and other superheroes - though Batman may be on his tail following the caped crusader's encounter with Deadshot in Suicide Squad #6.
In the subsequent issues, readers got the biggest clue yet.
The team has stolen files from Belle Reeve, and Ted is worried that the Suicide Squad will learn more about his plans. On that note, Ted mentions a girl that they have imprisoned on an island – someone with no digital record. Is she a new character created by Taylor and Redondo? Will she be connected to any of the Suicide Squad members?
Looking ahead, Taylor has tweeted that Deadshot will die in September's Suicide Squad #9. Will it be Kord who pulls the trigger? If Deadshot actually dies this will be extra heartbreaking, following his recent reunion with his daughter - making Ted Kord an even more menacing antagonist.
It will be interesting to see Taylor dig deeper into the ethical side of the narrative.
Who's the villain of the story when going up against a team of bad guys? And what's really behind Ted Kord's turn to the dark side?