Enchantress & Incubus: Understanding the Villains of Suicide Squad

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Walking out of Suicide Squad, many viewers may be asking who exactly Incubus is and what is his connection to Enchantress? We take a look at these characters and explain what their backstory is and how it ties into Suicide Squad’s A-plot. Beware there be spoilers in this article after the jump.

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Walking out of Suicide Squad, many may be asking themselves about the Ghostbusters influenced set piece ending featuring Cara Delavigne’s Enchantress and a character that is identified as her brother; the energy devouring Incubus. Continuing our tradition of explaining obscure DC characters and plotlines prominently featured in DC Universe films, we present our rundown of the relationship between Enchantress and Incubus.

Incubus serves as the Vince Clortho to Enchantress’ Zuul in the plot of Suicide Squad. Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller infodumps on the audience early on that Cara Delavigne’s Dr. June Moone is merely a host for Enchantress; a 6000 year old witch whose power is kept in abeyance due to Waller using Enchantress’ original heart as a check on her abilities. Waller uses Squad leader Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) as an additional check on Enchantress, using their relationship as leverage on Moone to make her want to stay in control.

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This is a loose adaptation of a comic book storyline called “Nightshade Odyssey” that starts in Suicide Squad #14 by John Ostrander (whose name is used for the building the Squad clears in the film) in the Suicide Squad comic book featuring Enchantress with Flagg’s role originally one given to the comic book character Nightshade. Nightshade, who was the original inspiration for the character Silk Spectre in Watchmen, has a paranormal origin where she is part of a line of royalty from an alternate realm called the Land of Nightshades. Nightshade’s mother takes her and her brother Larry away from this land to escape a demonic entity of untold power called Incubus. Incubus follows them to this realm and stole her brother’s body (the possession kills Larry) to use a host and returned to the Nightshade realm and killed all the beings there. This leads to the revelation that the comic book Enchantress’ powers were merely a result of possession by the counterpart to the Incubus demon, the Succubus, who sought to use Nightshade’s body to spawn a child who would be the vessel for their master; a literal antichrist/Rosemary’s Baby situation.

This is where the idea of June Moone being merely an unfortunate host for Enchantress arises:

You can see most of the elements of this storyline make it to the big screen; albeit tweaked by happenstance and MPAA ratings guidelines. There is no Nightshade in the film, so her backstory and connection to the Incubus are scrubbed. Flagg gets the role of being June’s handler; Incubus infects a random passerby and kills him (ala Larry) and Enchantress’ feral side is the step-self for the Succubus persona/demon possession. In many ways, these changes make the film more reminiscent of The Mummy Returns relationship between Imhotep and Anck-Su-Namun than the comic book storyline. Incubus provides Enchantress with power to keep her alive despite her power being destroyed and concentrates on a machine to destroy people for not worshipping her. This set piece literally makes the finale the exact same cataclysm/finale of 1984’s Ghostbusters. The Rosemary’s Baby implications of the original storyline might have been a little too out there for DC since you would have Flagg being forced to impregnate Enchantress to create the apocalypse. This might have given Enchantress a more pivotal role in the film than just a hallucinatory CGI capacitor for Incubus’ power as he spawns monsters for the Suicide Squad to destroy.

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DC and David Ayer should be commended for adapting an actual comic storyline for the film. However, fan expectation for a bigger storyline role for Joker and Harley Quinn is one reason many may walk away disappointed and confused by this villain tandem and adaptation.

Check out our full review of Suicide Squad HERE


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