Blackguard: What DC Comics Teaches Us About Pete Davidson's The Suicide Squad Character

Pete Davidson as Blackguard in The Suicide Squad

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I have a feeling that Pete Davidson’s character in The Suicide Squad is not going to last in the movie for very long, to be perfectly honest. There has been a lot talk among fans of which characters will survive director James Gunn’s new DC Comics adaptation and, for Blackguard, the odds of showing up in a sequel do not look very good. This prediction comes not from any malice toward the Saturday Night Live star, who I am actually a fan of, but from the research I have done on the supervillain’s story from the comics.

You see, Blackguard is famous for being one of least competent career criminals in the DC Universe, which might have a lot to do with why we have not seen him in any DC movies until now. Yet, I actually think adding him to the Suicide Squad cast is an ingenious choice, and I am looking forward to seeing it play out on screen, which probably sounds strange after I have already assumed him to have a short life expectancy in the film. Hopefully, it will make more sense after I provide you with a little more insight into his story from DC Comics, starting with his very firs appearance.

Booster Gold and Blackguard

Blackguard Debuted As A Booster Gold Villain

Created by DC Comics writer and artist Dan Jurgens (one of the masterminds behind the Death of Superman storyline), Blackguard is the evil alter ego of a man with the unfortunate name of Richard Hertz, which I am positive will serve as the inspiration of much mockery in The Suicide Squad. Presumed to be no more than an average, lowly career criminal, Hertz would rise to supervillain status when he became a member of the organized crime syndicate known as The 1,000.

Blackguard’s first mission for the super-criminal group, as seen in the first issue of Booster Gold’s self-titled series in 1986, was to accompany a fleet of troops in a robbery of S.T.A.R. Labs, which was intercepted by the Metropolis-based superhero. Ironically, Booster Gold was able to foil his enemy’s plans by using his greatest asset against him.

Blackguard in his suit of armor

Blackguard Wears A Strength-Boosting Suit Of Armor

Given Richard Hertz’s lack of superpowers, The 1,000 was able to make him more superhuman with the aid of a special suit that enhances his physical strength, betters his basic skills in hand-to-hand combat, and comes equipped with a battle mace and shields created out of pure energy. However, Blackguard’s newfound strength would seal his downfall when Booster Gold discovered his weakness: gullibility. Booster was able to trick him into hitting a power terminal on his armor that would render him unconscious, leading to his arrest.

Realizing his incompetence while using the armor they trusted him with, The 1,000 sent a mystery mercenary known as Mindancer to break Blackguard out of his jail cell just so they could put him in their own custody. The syndicate was about to execute him and Booster Gold, whom they had also captured, until a vigilante known as Thorn rescued them, but Blackguard was then put in a sluggish state by Mindancer and was unable to fight back during the scuffle.

Blackguard and Neron

A Demon Helped Blackguard Become Smarter

Sometime later, while he was still down in the dumps over losing out on his shot with The 1,000, Blackguard came into contact with Neron, who is more or less the Satan of the DC Universe. The demon had been offering several villains a chance at a classic Faustian exchange of wishes and Richard Hertz became his latest customer.

What Blackguard truly wanted was the chance to finally prove himself as a worthy supervillain, so he asked Neron, apparently, if he could make him smart. Neron agreed to his request and endowed him with average levels of intelligence and, in return, Blackguard was asked by the demon to team up with fellow villains Earthworm and Cheetah (Kristen Wiig’s Wonder Woman 1984 character) to take control of a superhero-themed bar called Warriors, which was owned by former Green Lantern, Guy Gardner. Little did Hertz know that the man he was making enemies with would soon become his business partner.

Guy Gardner drinking at a bar

Blackguard Opened A Bar With A Former Green Lantern

As you could have likely guessed, the attack on Warrior’s did not go in the villains’ favor, and even resulted in what initially appeared to be Guy Gardner (in an altered psychological state) incinerating Blackguard. However, he survived and, after spending several years in jail, Richard Hertz was released from prison a changed man, now on friendly terms with the former Green Lantern. He and Gardner then decided to open up a bar in Queens together which they called the Dark Side.

Unfortunately, it was around this time that Neron’s gifts of intellect to Hertz were wearing off. This would cause him to revert back to a life of crime, but unsuccessfully, of course. After years behind bars, Blackguard was given another chance to prove his worth as a supervillain, but it would also be his last.

The General takes Blackguard's head off

Blackguard Was Killed During His First Suicide Squad Mission

Now operating the Suicide Squad on her own, Amanda Waller took an interest in Blackguard as a potential new member. After enduring rigorous training and tests, “The Wall” put him on an assignment with Marauder, White Dragon, and Wade Elling (otherwise known as the General) on which they were tasked with preventing a weaponized virus from causing worldwide extinction.

As it turns out, the General was actually planning to turn against the team and did so by promptly ripping Richard Hertz’s head off. So, that, in the seventh issue of Suicide Squad Vol. 3 in May 2008, was the end of Blackguard.

Considering how Blackguard’s entire arc in the comics ends almost immediately after his recruitment in the Suicide Squad, I would not be surprised if that translates to the big screen in James Gunn’s upcoming film. Of course, the man has been known to be extremely lucky at times, such as when he came out without a scratch when Guy Gardner’s attack should have killed him, so perhaps he will just be part of a running gag in The Suicide Squad in which he just barely survives what should have been a bitter end. That is a more favorable joke to be the butt of than everyone making fun of the name Richard Hertz, at least.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.