John Ostrander, Kim Yale and Luke McDonnell's run on Suicide Squad in the late '80s is one of my all-time favorite comics, and has a pretty legitimate claim on being the best team book that DC ever published. In the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths, it took the unused pieces of the newly unified DC Universe and built obscure villains like Deadshot, Captain Boomerang and Count Vertigo into some of the company's most compelling characters. And despite revivals that have been met with somewhat mixed success, it's never quite been that good again.

Fortunately, anyone who wants to relive those glory days of danger and excitement has something new to check out. Inspired by the original series, cartoonist and illustrator Michel Fiffe has created a 16-page Suicide Squad fan-comic called "DEATHZONE!" And it looks every bit as awesome as that name implies.For those of you who aren't familiar with the Squad, Fiffe accurately describes it as "DC's version of The Dirty Dozen." The shadowy government organization called Task Force X recruited C-List super-villains and sent them on suicide missions, with the promise that if they survived, their sentences would be commuted and they'd be sent back out on the street to go bother Green Lantern or whoever. It was one of the most perfect concepts in comic book history, as it provided not only a way to use a surplus of sillier villains that modern writers wanted to move away from, but also an in-continuity way to explain why these guys kept coming back and fighting super-heroes even when they were carted off to jail for capital crimes that wasn't just "oh, they broke out again."

And it apparently resonated with Fiffe: He cites Suicide Squad #10 as an inspiration, the issue where Batman confronts the Squad and ends up backing down when he goes up against their formidable leader, Amanda Waller.

That thing is easily one of the best comics of the decade, which is probably why a 9-year-old Fiffe drew his own version:

To be honest, that's about as well as I can draw now, but Fiffe's skills have certainly improved, and DEATHZONE!'s story of the Squad going up against their arch-nemeses, the Jihad, is a pretty good example of that:

To see more, including larger images of the comic and a few more pages from a younger Fiffe's version of the Squad -- and to find out how you can get the whole 16-pager for free (well, free with a $5 print) -- check out Fiffe's website!

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