Membership: Airborne, Boobytrap, Firefight, Rocket Launcher, Smokescreen

Purpose:  Mercenaries.

Affiliations: Count Nefaria (employer); Nitro, Whiplash (one-time allies, also hired by Count Nefaria) 

Enemies: Iron Man, S.H.I.E.L.D., Forensic Agent Jenna Carlisle

Base of Operations: Mobile

First Appearance:  Iron Man III#1 (February, 1998)

History:  Nothing is known about the Death Squad's history, including how they met, where they acquired their training, or what their other jobs may have been.

(Iron Man III#1) - A mysterious employer hired the Death Squad to kill Tony Stark. They followed him to a building the Stark Foundation was constructing. The Squad took some pot-shots at Stark, who managed to elude them by falling through the floor of the building (I'm sure he planned it all along). The fall gave Stark time to don his Iron Man armor and engage the Squad. Althouguh initially frightened by Iron Man's appearance, the Squad quickly recovered and gave the Golden Avenger a run for his money. Rocket Launcer scored an early hit, and Booby Trap clogged his boot jets. Ultimately, however, Iron Man got his act together and started dropping members of the Squad one by one. Firefight realized they were beaten, and ordered Airborne to evacuate them. Iron Man was unable to follow due to the damage to his jets, and the Squad escaped.

(Iron Man '99 Annual) - Iron Man (along with S.H.I.E.L.D.) was investigating the murders of ionically-powered beings. Following a lead, Iron Man went to the grave of Grover Raymond, aka Aries of Zodiac. However, the tip proved to be a trap, as Iron Man was ambushed by the Death Squad, Nitro, and Whiplash. The Squad was much less effective this time, due mostly to Nitro's stupidity and the unseen help of S.H.I.E.L.D agent Carlisle. Iron Man repeatedly forced Nitro to explode against his will, and the Squad decided to flee. Iron Man tracked them to the castle of Count Nefaria, where Iron Man attacked the Squad. Iron Man was beating them when suddenly, an ionic shock erupted from the floor, apparently killing the Squad and severely damaging Iron Man's armor. Iron Man slowly recovered and defeated Nefaria by forcing him to exhaust his supply of ionic energy. Nefaria was taken into custody, but the Death Squad was not shown again.

Comments: Created by Kurt Busiek (writer), Sean Chen (pencils), Eric Cannon (inks)

I really, really like these guys, especially in their first appearance, when they got with Iron Man and showed a professionalism and cohesiveness that is rare for super-villain teams.  It certainly seemed that they were supposed to have died in their second appearance.  The ionic shock knocked all of Iron Man's systems off-line and he felt that he couldn't survive another, so it's doubtful unarmored humans could survive.  Still, it's possible, and these guys are too good to just throw away.  I'd like to see them against Black Panther, Spider-Man, and maybe the Punisher (although they might not survive that one either!).

Profile by Chuck D

Clarifications: This Death Squad has no known connections to:

Airborne of the Death Squad has no known connection to:

Boobytrap is not a female, despite...never mind.

Firefight of the Death Squad has no known connection to:

Smokescreen should be distinguished from:


Airborne: Airborne is a human female who wears a light suit of body armor that enables her to fly. Her armor is faster than Iron Man's, at least in close quarters, and is also very maneuverable. The armor boasts twin laser canons and light missles. However, because the armor is very light in order to maintain its speed, it does not afford her nearly as much protection as Iron Man's does. The other members of the Squad have grapples on their uniforms which they can fire into the air, enabling her to evacuate them.












Boobytrap:  Boobytrap, carries devices that. . .well, boobytrap his foes. He has used hand-thrown landmines and glue-grenades which clogged Iron Man's boot jets.





Firefight:  Firefight is the leader of the Death Squad. He is a human male who carries a very large automatic rifle on his right arm, linked to some sort of pack on his back. The rifle appears to fire conventional rounds. He also carries what appears to be a conventional shotgun. Firefight is an exceptional leader, with great tactical and strategic skills, as well as complete control of his people.








Rocket Launcher:  Rocket Launcher is a large human male who carries numerous missles, rockets and explosives on his person. The insulation on his uniform is sufficient to protect him from the explosion of one of his wrist-fired rockets at point-blank range.







SmokescreenSmokescreen is a human female whose primary weapons are devices that baffle sensors. She has used smokecreens, blackout bombs which generate not only darkness, but block infrared and flouroscopic scanners, and a grenade which releases foil into the air to disrupt target locks. She can also turn invisible. Her only offensive weapon is a conventional UZI.






images: (without ads)
Iron Man III#1, p19, pan1 (main image)
  p31, pan2-3 (Airborne)
  p26, pan2 (Boobytrap)
  p28, pan2 (Firefight)
  p27, pan1 (Rocket Launcher)
  p26, pan6 (Smokescreen)

Iron Man III#1 (February, 1998) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Sean Chen (pencils), Eric Cannon (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Iron Man '99 Annual (1999) - Kurt Busiek & Joe Casey (writers), Terry Shoemaker (pencils), Bud LaRosa & Terry Shoemaker (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)

Last updated: 08/02/02.

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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