Who is Savant? The Suicide Squad Character’s Comic Origins Explained

The Suicide Squad is set to introduce Michael Rooker as Savant, a rival to Batgirl whose good at everything except being humble.

Warning: SPOILERS for The Suicide Squad.

The Suicide Squad opens with a narrative told from the point of view of Savant, one of the many new supervillains to the DCEU. Along with the returning characters of Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Savant makes his debut as part of Task Force X’s Team 1. In the comics, Savant (Michael Rooker) is a minor villain and a computer hacker, so he might have seemed an odd choice for The Suicide Squad.

Savant debuted in comics in 2003 in Birds of Prey #56 and was created by writer Gail Simone and artist Ed Benes. Introduced as a former vigilante and self-proclaimed genius, Savant turned to a life of crime after he decided he was better at extortion and kidnapping than heroism. Savant is usually accompanied by his Russian partner, the former KGB agent Creote, and the two are portrayed as close confidants and equal partners with one another. His first major storyline as an antagonist takes place in Birds of Prey #56 to 60 but the character never joins the Suicide Squad until the New 52 era of continuity where he only has a minor role on the team.

Related: All Chapters In The Suicide Squad Explained

Savant was once an ordinary rich man named Brian Durlin who fancied himself a genius and decided to move to Gotham city to be a vigilante. After being personally called out by Batman for his recklessness and unheroic behavior, Savant decided to build his own underground blackmailing empire to extort money from people in order to prove his “genius.” In his debut issue Savant and Creote manage to subdue Black Canary and attempt to torture her for information about her partner at the time: the computer hacker Oracle, a.k.a. Barbara Gordon. Savant thinks he’s the best and he’ll do everything he can to prove it. He travels all the way from Europe to Gotham to try being a superhero, not because of any personal tragedy or a desire to help but because he’s a bored rich kid who wants to be Batman. Even the reason he decides to target Barbara Gordon is because Oracle is the best hacker in the DC universe, and as a “genius” himself Savant wants to take Barbara down and be number one instead.

Savant The Suicide Squad

After his debut in the Birds of Prey comics, Savant remained a background villain until the New 52 when he was made a member of the Suicide Squad in Suicide Squad #6. This iteration of Savant has the same backstory and personality as the original minus the history with Barbara Gordon. The New 52 Savant manages to be even less prominent than the original, however, as he is swiftly taken out of the story by  Suicide Squad #8, which foreshadowed the dark implications for Michael Rooker’s version of the character in the movie.

While The Suicide Squad opens from Savant’s perspective, the film gives the audience very little insight into the character. He’s shown to be ruthless and a skilled marksman, killing a bird with a tennis ball after calculating a trajectory that requires multiple ricochets. His skills as a computer hacker never come into play as they would have little use on the mission as it is outlined to Team 2, and the betting pool instead clarifies that he is an expert in weapons and hand-to-hand combat. Savant’s arrogance is on full display until his final moments as he assumes that he is the most experienced member of the team and views the rest of Task Force X with disdain. His relatively simple skills and abrasive demeanor go some way to explaining why Amanda Waller chose him for the doomed Team 1.

The Suicide Squad‘s conceit relies on the fact that these characters have nothing to lose because they have a bomb implanted in the base of their skull that will be detonated if they abandon the mission. While the majority of Team 1 perish at the hands of the Corto Maltese army, Savant flees in terror, serving to illustrate how Waller’s bombs function – the same role held by Slipknot in the 2016 Suicide Squad. Like many of the obscure villains James Gunn introduced in this movie, it seems unlikely that Savant will make another appearance in the DCEU. While comics are famed for bringing people back from the dead, Savant’s unimpressive abilities and gruesomely missing head make a resurrection improbable at best after the events of The Suicide Squad.

Next: Who is Javelin? Flula Borg’s Suicide Squad Character Explained

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