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Get to know the faces of the 'Suicide Squad'

Watch the trailer for "Suicide Squad."

Who are the members of the “Suicide Squad”? Even those without encyclopedic knowledge of DC Comics characters are familiar with villains such as the Joker, but most of the new bad guy roster consists of characters who are not household names —at least not yet. 

Directed by David Ayer, “Suicide Squad” is the story of a group of supervillains brought together by the government to take on covert missions in exchange for clemency. Among those assembled include members of the Batman rogues gallery, foes of the Flash and those with more supernatural inclinations. 

Here is a look at the “Suicide Squad” cast in and out of costume along with a brief history of the characters they portray in the film.

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Margot Robbie | Harley Quinn

(Before: Joel Ryan / Invision/AP; After: Warner Bros.)

Unlike most superheroes and villains in the DC cinematic universe, Harley Quinn did not originate from the pages of comic books. Harley was introduced to the DC world in “Batman: The Animated Series” in 1992 working alongside her beloved “Mistah J.”

Created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, Harley’s life before becoming a criminal in a jester outfit was as a psychiatrist. During her tenure at Arkham Asylum, Dr. Harleen Quinzel fell in love with the Joker and even helped him to escape before eventually being driven mad herself and becoming the Joker’s sidekick.

The animated character’s popularity eventually lead her to be absorbed into DC’s comic book canon, with Harley Quinn eventually getting her own ongoing series.

Jared Leto | The Joker

(Before: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times; After: Warner Bros.)

One of the most famous supervillains in comic book history, the Joker debuted in the pages of “Batman” No. 1 in 1940. As Batman’s most well known nemesis, the Joker has been brought to life multiple times on big and small screens — including Heath Ledger’s Academy Award-winning turn as the clown prince of crime in 2008’s “The Dark Knight.”

While aspects of the Joker’s personality and origin story have varied over his 76 years, his green hair, bleached skin and red lips remain his signature looks. Other enduring qualities are his madness and his penchant for using chemical props and weaponry like his Joker venom. 

Will Smith | Deadshot

(Before: Thibault Camus / Associated Press; After: Clay Enos / Warner Bros.)

In the comic book universe Deadshot is, as his name suggests, an expert marksman and hired assassin. First introduced in “Batman” No. 59 in 1950, the “never miss” sharpshooter started off as a supervillain and enemy to the Caped Crusader. His real name is Floyd Lawton; he is also known for his disregard for human life, his willingness and desire to die a spectacular death and his inability to actually kill Batman. 

Cara Delevingne | Enchantress

(Before: Jordan Strauss / Invision/AP; After: Clay Enos / Warner Bros.)

Enchantress, the alter ego of June Moone, first appeared in comics in 1966’s “Strange Adventures” No. 187. In her various appearances she has been pitted against heroes that include Supergirl and the members of the supernatural superhero team Justice League Dark. A powerful sorceress, Enchantress’ powers include the ability to manipulate magical energy, teleportation, healing and the ability to walk through walls. 

Jai Courtney | Boomerang

(Before: Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images; After: Clay Enos / Warner Bros.)

Captain Boomerang, also known as George “Digger” Harkness, made his debut in “Flash” No. 117 in 1960. Thus, Boomerang’s nemesis is the Flash, and he’s tangled with Barry Allen and Wally West in the comics. Raised in Australia, this villain got his nickname thanks to his weapon of choice, the boomerang. And in the newly updated “Suicide Squad” movie the character can use his Boomerang for surveillance (among other things).

Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje | Killer Croc

(Before: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times; After: Clay Enos / Warner Bros.)

Another member of the Batman rogues gallery, Killer Croc first appeared in comics in 1983 with his first full appearance being in “Batman” No. 358. Croc’s real name is Waylon Jones, and his increasingly reptilian look (and temperament) is due to a rare genetic condition. He has superhuman strength, speed and bulletproof skin. Croc is also generally depicted as being more brute force than brains. 

Jay Hernandez | Diablo

(Before: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images; After: Warner Bros.)

The original El Diablo, also known as Lazarus Lane, first appeared in “All-Star Western” No. 2 in 1970. After falling into a coma, Lane becomes the host to a demon and becomes a vigilante. The current El Diablo Chato Santana — the Diablo depicted in the film “Suicide Squad” — is the third character to take on the mantle (who made his comics debut in 2008). In the comics, Santana is an ex-criminal who meets a comatose Lazarus Lane after being hospitalized. 

Viola Davis | Amanda Waller

(Before: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times; After: Clay Enos / Warner Bros.)

The sometimes villain, sometimes superhero ally Amanda Waller is a high-ranking government official who uses everything from her connections to intimidation to get things done. Making her comic book debut in “Legends” No. 1 in 1986, she is often seen overseeing missions for the Suicide Squad or specialized research into people with superpowers (a.k.a. metahumans) although she does not have any powers of her own. 

Joel Kinnaman | Rick Flag

(Before: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times; After: Clay Enos / Warner Bros.)

Three generations of Rick Flag have graced comic book pages, with Rick Flag Sr. first appearing in “The Brave and the Bold” No. 25. Rick Flag Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps and he was eventually tapped to (reluctantly) lead the villain infused Suicide Squad. 

Karen Fukuhara | Katana

(Before: Charley Gallay / Getty Images for DC Entertainment; After: Warner Bros.)

Katana, also known as Tatsu Yamashiro, was created by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo and made her debut in “The Brave and the Bold” No. 200 in 1983. In comics she has been a part of various superhero teams including the Outsiders and Birds of Prey. A trained martial arts expert, Katana yields the Soultaker sword, which, as its name implies, can capture the soul of every person it kills.

Adam Beach | Slipknot

(Before: Charley Gallay / Getty Images for DC Entertainment; After: Clay Enos / Warner Bros.)

Slipknot first appeared in "Fury of Firestorm No. 28" in 1984. This supervillain's superpowers include ropes, lots of ropes. Created by Gerry Conway and illustrator Rafael Kayanan, Slipknot developed a secret that makes ropes he carries stronger than metal. This also allows him the ability to scale any wall. Take that, stairs!

tracy.brown@latimes.com

Twitter: @tracycbrown

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