Rick Flag is an elite soldier and government agent working in Task Force X. He was the leader of the first Suicide Squad, and Amanda Waller enlisted him when she started a new Suicide Squad using super-villains. Flag is the team's field commander, and he accompanies them on all covert ops missions. His father Richard Montgomery Flag was a hero in World War II, and his son with co-worker Karin Grace is Rick Flag III.
There are multiple conflicting stories of Rick Flag's origins. In the original story, he was a pilot during World War II. His entire squadron sacrificed themselves so he could destroy an enemy aircraft carrier, and he dedicated his life to making sacrifices for others. It was later revealed that this actually happened to his father, Richard Montgomery Flag, who became the leader of the 1940's Suicide Squadron. Richard Rogers Flag was born shortly after the war, when his father married Sharon Race. Sharon died when her son was a child, struck as she pushed him out of the way of a moving car. Richard Montgomery Flag sacrificed himself to stop the War Wheel from destroying a city, leaving young Rick orphaned. Rick was adopted by his father's friend Jeb Stuart, and entered the military when he was old enough to enlist. He attended flight school and became a top-rated test pilot, where he developed a friendly rivalry with Ace Morgan. When he applied to become an astronaut, he was introduced to space medicine expert Karin Grace. They bonded over the tragedies they had both experienced, and soon fell in love. When Jeb Stuart revived the Suicide Squad under Task Force X, he invited Rick and Karin to be part of the program.
Task Force X
This new team included Rick and Karin, astro physicist Hugh Evans, and nuclear physicist Jess Bright. Unlike their predecessors it was public, and Rick flew them around the country in a "Flying Lab." Their first recorded mission was fighting the "Red Wave" beast, and Flag piloted an experimental rocket to launch it into the sun. Hugh and Jess were both also in love with Karin, and Rick insisted that Karin keep their relationship secret so it would not upset the others. The team was shrunk temporarily by cosmic rays, and Flag used his reduced size to blow up an enemy military base containing nuclear weapons. When they battled the Subway serpent in Paris, Flag figured out that they could suffocate it using a giant plastic bag. Rick disarmed a nuclear weapon when the Creature of Ghost Lake carried it into a populated city. General Brent put the team back together after a hiatus, and Flag traveled to a parallel Earth where they fought super-intelligent dinosaurs. The Cyclops Polyphemus kidnapped Karin, and Rick tricked the cyclops into getting hit by a boulder. Rick killed the Master of the Dinosaurs by turning his plane into a bomb and parachuting to safety. The Mirage Master tried to trick the Suicide Squad into killing each other, but Rick was saved by Karin's love. Rick had to navigate the team to safety when they were trapped inside an alien dinosaur zoo. The Sculptor Sorcerer was hired by gangsters to kill the Suicide Squad, but an island girl fell in love with Rick and released him from the trap.
Their final mission was investigating a temple in Cambodia, where they were attacked by a Yeti. Rick was gravely injured, and Karin accidentally told the others that she had feelings for him. Hugh and Jess decided to quit the team, but they were still trapped. Rick was the only one with survival skills, so Hugh and Jess covered his escape with Karin. The Yeti attacked again, causing Hugh and Jess to fall to their apparent deaths.
This version of history changed following Infinite Crisis. In the new timeline, Rick Flag is not seen as a member of the original Suicide Squad. They are shown to be active much earlier, in 1952, at a time when Flag could not have been born yet. The team includes Hugh Evans, Jess Bright, Karin Grace, and Frank Rock replacing Rick Flag as their leader. Booster Gold learns this while traveling through time with Rip Hunter.
Later, Rick was sent to infiltrate the Forgotten Heroes as a spy for the government. After the "death" of the Forgotten Heroes' leader, the Immortal Man, the team disbanded and Flag worked covertly for the U.S. government.
King Faraday of the CBI used Flag and Nightshade to help him capture and deprogram the assassin Bronze Tiger. Flag took the martial arts master on by himself long enough for Faraday to get in position with tranquilizers.
Rick Flag learned that Amanda Waller was reviving Task Force X, and he asked to be assigned with her. Flag disliked Waller's agenda, but promised he would follow orders no matter what his personal opinions were. He began recruitment starting with the Bronze Tiger, and they pulled Deadshot out of prison. Flag lead this team also including Blockbuster, Captain Boomerang, and Enchantress, to destroy the monster Brimstone. The mission was successful and they killed Brimstone at Mount Rushmore, although Blockbuster died under Flag's command. Boomerang realizes that it was supposed to be a suicide mission, and Flag explains that they are all expendable, even himself. Waller tried to keep these prisoners for longer, but Flag honored his promise and released them. Boomerang was captured by G. Gordon Godfrey, and threatened to expose Task Force X on live television. Waller sent Flag to rescue or assassinate Boomerang, and he angrily protested the murder, but promised he would do whatever he had to. Flag stopped Deadshot from killing Boomerang, and had Enchantress solve the problem non-lethally, then he punched Boomerang in the face.
Trial by Fire
The Suicide Squad sets up in Louisiana's Belle Reve prison, with Rick Flag as field leader and Bronze Tiger as second-in-command. Simon LaGrieve declares Rick emotionally unstable in his psychological profile. He says that Rick needs grief counseling, but Waller only cares that Rick is operational. Rick also has a reunion with Karin Grace, hired by Waller as their new medic, who resents him for not visiting her in the hospital. Rick leads the Suicide Squad against the terrorist group Jihad in Qurac. He fights their leader Rustam, but gets distracted and Rustam escapes. Waller has Karin mindwipe the traitor Plastique, which infuriates Rick and he forces them to stop. The Female Furies of Apokolips attack Belle Reve, and Flag battles Mad Harriet with nothing but a machine gun. Rick provides support when they discredit the racist vigilante William Hell. President Reagan sends a team lead by Rick to arrest the rogue hero Firestorm. Rick argues with their corrupt NSC liaison Derek Tolliver, who releases the uncontrollable Parasite. The Suicide Squad are forced to fight Justice League International, and Flag teams up with Batman to keep his cover. Waller sends Rick to rescue Zoya Trigorin in the Soviet Union, and Rick is forced to take his team behind enemy lines. The exhausted Rick threatens his operatives with brutality if they do not comply. Deadshot is forced to shoot Enchantress non-lethally, and Rick puts a gun to Deadshot's head so Deadshot will not miss. The Russian army is alerted, and Rick pushes Nightshade to her limits trying to escape. Nightshade confides in Nemesis that she has feelings for Rick. Rick illegally detains American tourists so the Suicide Squad can steal their passports and escape. Deadshot says that he and Rick are similar, which bothers Rick. They battle the People's Heroes, and Rick teams up with Deadshot to punch out Molotov. He is forced to leave Nemesis behind. Karin Grace accuses Rick of abandoning Nemesis the way he abandoned her. Rick yells at Karin, and Karin's new boyfriend Mark Shaw beats Rick up. Waller believes Rick is exhaused and relieves him of command duty.
Warden Economos sends the team to blow up a Manhunter temple during Millennium. Bronze Tiger replaces Rick as leader. Karin Grace betrays Rick, and reveals that she is a Manhunter agent. Karin explains that she fell in love with Mark Shaw during her hospital stay, and Shaw introduced her to the society of Manhunters. The Manhunters ask her to execute Rick, and she is unable to pull the trigger when she remembers good times they had together. It is revealed that the Mark Shaw she fell in love with was an android, and Karin swears revenge on the Manhunters. While Rick is unconscious, Karin decides to drive their bomb into the heart of the temple. Her last request is asking Mark Shaw to let Rick know that she remembered his love, asked his forgiveness, and told him to carry on for her. Rick is carried out, and he screams her name when Karin dies in the explosion, then his face turns expressionless. The Suicide Squad does not receive public credit for this victory.
Mark Shaw tries to comfort Rick, and Rick tells him to get out. Batman infiltrates Belle Reve, and Rick is forced to fight the hero he reveres. Rick is able to hold his own against Batman long enough for Waller to show up, and she makes Batman leave. Deadshot is impressed that they made Batman back down, and Flag yells at the Squad by telling them Batman is worth ten of any scum like them. Waller is impressed by this, and she reinstates Flag's command. President Reagan sends Rick to rescue Hawk in Nicaragua with a new team including Mr. 104, Psi, Thinker, and the Weasel. They are forced to battle the Doom Patrol and the Rocket Red Brigade. Rick briefly wears the Thinker's Thinking Cap but takes it off when it turns him into a crazed killer. They are successful in rescuing Hawk, but the entire team is killed except for Rick. He returns to Belle Reve and refuses to talk to anyone.
Rick Flag disobeys Waller, and takes the Squad on an unauthorized mission to rescue Nemesis in Moscow. Bronze Tiger and Nightshade are the only ones aware that this is not sanctioned. Waller is so angry that she has President Reagan send Justice League International to stop them. Rick tries to reason with Batman, and Batman tells Rick that he is a disgrace. Rick puts his hand on Batman's shoulder, and Batman slaps him in the face. They viciously fight to a standstill until both men have to be physically restrained. Batman walks away, and Rick has to be hospitalized. Both teams work together and Nemesis is released. Waller confides in Bronze Tiger that she never wanted Flag as leader. Bronze Tiger was supposed to be leader, and she believes the government refused because he is black. Shade, the Changing Man takes them on a mission to stop Doctor ZZ, and Rick shoots ZZ dead. The Jihad returns to attack Manhattan, and they demand the Suicide Squad be handed over. Waller orders the Squad to stand down, but Rick and Bronze Tiger refuse to listen. Waller tells Rick to do the job right this time. Captain Cold says this mission was not part of his deal, and Rick threatens to blow Cold's arm off if he does not obey. Rick has a second fight with Rustam, but Rustam destroys a bridge and escapes. Rick captures Ifrit, and Captain Boomerang thanks Rick for saving him, but Rick replies that he has no regard for Boomerang's life.
He also threatened a superior who was himself threatening Waller's position. This did nothing to ease Flag's mental instability, and it soon worsened. It came to a head when US Senator Cray threatened to reveal the existence of the Suicide Squad to the public. Unbeknownst to him, Amanda Waller had already dealt with the threat, and Flag set out to assassinate Cray in order to ensure the existence of the Suicide Squad, even though he loathed some of its members. The Squad set out to stop him, with the clearance to do so by any means necessary. The villain Deadshot found Flag and Cray, but instead of killing Flag however, Deadshot murdered the senator. Flag was forced to flee, and unwittingly, the existence of the Suicide Squad was still revealed.
Flag set out to destroy the Jihad team once and for all after learning that his father had previously attacked their stronghold, Jotunheim, during World War II in order to neutralize a Nazi prototype nuclear weapon. He left a note to Nightshade detailing his plans. The bomb was still there, buried under rubble and the Jihad was unaware of its presence. Flag sneaked in and slew his way through to the bomb itself. He battled the Jihad's leader Rustam personally, just before the bomb exploded.
Raise the Flag
It was later revealed that, in the final seconds before the nuke went off, Rustam teleported himself and Flag to Skataris. Flag was able to return to the Earth by killing Rustam and stealing his weapon, before being detained in a Quraci prison for three years.
A few years later, Rick Flag was rescued from a secret Quraci prison by the Bronze Tiger. He had been imprisoned there for four years until Amanda Waller discovered him and alerted the Tiger to his whereabouts. Rick was later revealed to be leading a clandestine Suicide Squad unit at the behest of Amanda Waller, and against the expressed mandate of the Checkmate organization.
During an internal power struggle within the Suicide Squad, former General Wade Eiling revealed that he had brainwashed Rick Flag all those years ago, and that he was secretly a soldier named Anthony Miller. Overcoming the conditioning due to extreme stress, Flag was able to incapacitate Eiling and hand control of the Squad over to Amanda Waller. When offered to choice of leaving, he declined, on the grounds that the Squad "needs a Rick Flag".
- Beretta M9
- Automatic Rifle
- Semi-Automatic Rifle
- Psi-Scimitar: Flag has acquired the Psi-Scimitar, an energy-based mêlée weapon that he recovered from his late adversary Rustam.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- Rick Flag is legally referred to as Richard Flag, Jr. despite the fact that he and Richard Flag have different middle names.
- He once engaged in a prolonged fight against the Batman and the two fought to nearly a standstill.
- Rick Flag was once a soldier by the name of Anthony Miller who was manipulated and brainwashed by General Wade Eiling into becoming Rick Flag as a plan to create a skilled and sacrificial assassin that could be controlled with a phrase. The phrase Eiling used to control Flag was "Dies Irae", which once spoken would make Flag susceptible to any command of the person who said the phrase.
- 83 Appearances of Richard Flag, Jr. (New Earth)
- 117 Images featuring Richard Flag, Jr. (New Earth)
- 8 Quotations by or about Richard Flag, Jr. (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Richard Flag, Jr. (New Earth)
- Suicide Squad (Volume 3) #8
- Suicide Squad #50
- The Brave and the Bold #25
- Secret Origins (Volume 2) #14
- The Brave and the Bold #26
- The Brave and the Bold #27
- The Brave and the Bold #37
- The Brave and the Bold #38
- The Brave and the Bold #39
- Action Comics #552
- Booster Gold (Volume 2) #20
- Suicide Squad #38
- Legends #1
- Legends #2
- Legends #3
- Legends #4
- Legends #5
- Legends #6
- Suicide Squad #1
- Suicide Squad #2
- Suicide Squad #3
- Suicide Squad #4
- Firestorm (Volume 2) #64
- Firestorm Annual (Volume 2) #5
- Suicide Squad #5
- Suicide Squad #6
- Suicide Squad #7
- Suicide Squad #8
- Millennium #4
- Suicide Squad #9
- Millennium #5
- Suicide Squad #10
- Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special #1
- Suicide Squad #12
- Justice League International #13
- Suicide Squad #13
- Suicide Squad #14
- Suicide Squad #16
- Suicide Squad #17
- Suicide Squad #18
- Suicide Squad #26
- Suicide Squad (Volume 3) #1
- Suicide Squad (Volume 3) #3
- Suicide Squad (Volume 3) #5
Suicide Squad member