RUN: 66 issues 1987-92 plus annual and special (with Doom Patrol). A spin-off mini, Deadshot will eventually get its own entry
KEY CREATORS: John Ostrander, Kim Yale, & (#44) David De Vries (writers) Luke McDonnell, Geoff Isherwood, Karl Kesel, etc (artists)
OUTLINE: At first super-villains went on mission and then had their sentenced reduced to time served. Later it was simply that that could spend a little time outside if they went on a mission but then had to return. Finally, the team, still mostly super-villains, performed heroic but dangerous missions for hire, no longer connected with the government.
STANDOUT ISSUE: Captain Boomerang's origin (#44)
DUD ISSUE: A Dr. Light-Hearted Tale (#51), a humour story of Dr. Light dying and get resurrected over and over. This might have worked better in another title, but not one in which characters returning home in bodybags was a recurring theme)
OVERALL: As much as I like Thunderbolts and realize its direction is different than this title, it still reads like Suicide Squad Lite in comparison. Suicide Squad took a hard edged look at super-villains put into morally grey but at least a little situations and as a bonus showed them working with a few heroes.
 What really gave this title an edge was that there was a very real possibility of characters dying on a mission. And one more thing: the members were clearly in an unhealthy environment for growth.  There probably wasn't a great chance of Captain Boomerang ever reforming, but there were times when you could see that the verbal abuse the members showed one another did not exactly increase the chances of him growing as a person.
 This is not to say that there wasn't character development, and the villains most inclined to reform did, but there was a tension caused by the characters being in a dysfunctional family, one where a teammate might indeed try to kill you given the right opportunity and reason
RECOMMENDED OR NOT? Very much recommended. My favorite John Ostrander title to date.
CONTINUITY NOTES: Given the Shade the Changing Man ongoing, which conflicts with Shade as seen here, it's possible that Shade's teammates now remember a different Hypertimeline until some timeline merging occurs, but this isn't clear one way or another.
 Ironically, Wonder Woman appearing at a 1950s hearing, at the time an error and inaccurate, probably now did happen as shown due to events in Wonder Woman (this scene actually happened in the Secret Origins tale which strongly connected to the ongoing)
See my review of Killing Joke for another continuity error