Despite mixed reviews, the edgy DC anithero ensemble movie Suicide Squad set a box office record for the biggest opening August weekend in history. Whether audiences were lining up in spite of its critical thrashing or because of it, Suicide Squad proves that, in some cases, comic book movies have no need for validation beyond the black and white of ticket sales. The viewers who took a chance and came out for the movie were treated to some surprises that weren't included in Suicide Squad's year-long buzz-building campaign. Among those well-kept secrets is the presence of (spoilers ahead!) Incubus, the equally evil brother of the villain Enchantress. Enchantress possesses Dr. June Moone (Cara Delevingne) in Suicide Squad and endows the mild-mannered archaeologist with the abilities as the 6,000-year-old witch. The malevolent spirit uses her human form to conjure her brother, and boom: Amanda Waller's crack squad of criminals and psychopaths have two all-powerful siblings as an enemy. Incubus ultimately plays a key role in Suicide Squad, but does Enchantress' brother have a comics history?
Incubus is not a creation of Suicide Squad director David Ayer. Like Enchantress, Incubus first appeared in DC comics. The baddie made his debut in Suicide Squad #14 and #15 in 1988; he also got a flashback arc in a Secret Origins issue that same year. However, the movie version of mystical brother and sister duo deviates from their escapades in print. Comic Squad member Nightshade figures into the Incubus and Enchantress story from the '80s for a start. That character didn't make the jump to the big screen.
In the comics, Nightshade is the alter ego of super-spy Eve Eden and is recruited into the Squad because of her exceptional capabilities The source of Nightshade's powers is her parentage; her mother Maureen is a refugee from an alternate dimension called the "Land Of The Nightshades." Nightshade leads her compatriots to that dimension to save her brother Larry from the evil that drove her mother away from her birthplace. Larry Eden had been possessed and then killed by Incubus, who still utilized his body. Part of Nightshade's duties as a Squad member was to babysit Enchantress and keeping the sorceress from causing too much trouble. In the Land Of The Nightshades, it is revealed that Enchantress is occupied by Incubus's sister spirit, the Succubus. In some "females are strong as hell" action, Nightshade's will rejects the Succubus before it can take her over so that she and her brother can conceive a powerful, demon child. Crisis averted, in more ways than one.
Incubus comes and goes quickly in the Suicide Squad comics. (Deadshot takes him out for good, for the record.) But the undersung character is definitely getting his due in Suicide Squad as part of a formidable familial alliance. IGN spoke to Alain Chanoine, the actor who plays Incubus and his unwilling human host. "The main importance when I was cast was my chemistry with Cara Delevigne because we’re brother and sister, right?" Chanoine said. "We’ve known each other for thousands of years so that’s half of the character."
Together, comics characters Incubus and Enchantress make up a frightening force that requires a whole Suicide Squad to bring it down.
Image: Warner Bros. Pictures