"The Janus Directive"
Checkmate Vol 1 15.jpg
Cover of Checkmate vol. 1, 15 (May 1989).Art by Gil Kane.
Publisher DC Comics
Publication date May – June 1989

Spy, superhero


"The Janus Directive" was an eleven-part comic book crossover first published by DC Comics between May and June of 1989. Among the creators who contributed to the storyline were writers John Ostrander, Kim Yale, Paul Kupperberg, Cary Bates and Greg Weisman and artists John K. Snyder III, Rick Hoberg, Rafael Kayanan, Tom Mandrake and Pat Broderick.


The storyline did not have its own series, but ran through several titles - mainly Checkmate! (vol. 1) and Suicide Squad (vol. 1), though Manhunter (vol. 1), Firestorm (vol. 2), and Captain Atom (vol. 5), all had individual issues which were involved in the crossover. Checkmate! and Suicide Squad were published biweekly for the duration of the event.

The storyline focused on the covert operations super-teams and organizations that existed in the DC Universe at the time.


Suicide Squad leader Amanda Waller began to send her agents on missions in the apparent pursuit of her own private agenda, the so-called Janus Directive, one that brought the Squad into conflict with other metahuman villains and government agencies. So, an all-out mayhem broke loose among these groups, involving various metahumans associated with the United States military and civilian agencies.

Eventually, it came out that Waller had not gone rogue, but had been nearly assassinated by the cult leader Kobra. Kobra had tried to murder Waller and replace her with a subservient doppelgänger in order to then manipulate and mislead the various government agencies to keep them from stopping his own plan: to activate a massive space-based microwave pulse cannon that would fry all electronic systems (not to mention human nervous systems) in the eastern United States, unleashing the Kali Yuga, the age of chaos he thought it was his destiny to commence. Waller had gotten the drop on her double and murdered it instead, but decided to play the role of the double in order to ferret out the true mastermind behind the Janus Directive. Eventually, the truth was revealed, and the groups united and stormed Kobra's space ark, capturing him and destroying his weapon.

The fallout of the Janus Directive saw a very irate President Bush reorganize the various agencies to bring them more tightly under executive control; he dissolved Task Force X, the umbrella organization under which both Checkmate and the Squad operated and the component agencies becoming autonomous, and made Sarge Steel a Cabinet-level official with overall control of all governmental metahuman activity on the civilian side. General Wade Eiling was made his equivalent in the Department of Defense. Waller was put on probation by Bush because of her "lone wolf" tactics, much to her displeasure.

Waller would soon thereafter be imprisoned for taking matters into her own hands one time too many, after she led an assassination team to personally liquidate the Vodou-oriented drug ring called the Loa. This led to the shut-down of all Suicide Squad operations for one year.

Major players

While individual operatives like Firestorm (Ronald Raymond), Firehawk and Manhunter (Mark Shaw) did play a part in the storyline's resolution, they were nowhere as important as the characters in this chart.

Project AtomC.B.I.CheckmateForce of JulyProject PeacemakerSuicide Squad
Major Wade EilingSarge SteelHarry SteinMajor VictoryPeacemakerAmanda Waller
Professor Heinrich MegalaKing FaradayHarvey BullockLady Liberty Bronze Tiger
Captain AtomJohn ChaseValentina Vostok Mayflower Vixen
Major ForceCherie ChaseGary Washington Silent Majority Ravan
Black Thorn Sparkler Captain Boomerang
Checkmate Knights Abraham Lincoln Carlyle Duchess
Shade, the Changing Man
Count Vertigo


  • Part 1: Checkmate! (vol. 1) #15 (May, 1989)
  • Part 2: Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #27 (May, 1989)
  • Part 3: Checkmate! (vol. 1) #16 (May, 1989)
  • Part 4: Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #28 (May, 1989)
  • Part 5: Checkmate! (vol. 1) #17 (June, 1989)
  • Part 6: Manhunter (vol. 2) #14 (June, 1989)
  • Part 7: Firestorm (vol. 2) #86 (June, 1989)
  • Part 8: Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #29 (June, 1989)
  • Part 9: Checkmate! (vol. 1) #18 (June, 1989)
  • Part 10: Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #30 (June, 1989)
  • Part 11: Captain Atom (vol. 5) #30 (June, 1989)

Although not bannered as a part of the crossover, parts of Firestorm (vol. 2) # 87 were an epilogue to the storyline.

See also

External links

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