Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Release Date: 10th February, 2016
Full disclosure: I’ve not really been keeping up to date with DC’s New Suicide Squad title. Like, at all. A sad case of “too many books, not enough time”, I guess. However, when I heard that two of my all-time favourite creators, Tim Seeley and Juan Ferreyra, were set to take over the series from issue #17, I just knew I had to go ahead and pick it up. Thankfully, this issue works perfectly as a jumping-on point, with Seeley using Mister Ashmore – a stereotypically stuffy Brit being given a tour of Belle Reve with a mind to setting up a “Task Force X” in the UK – as a way to provide a catch-up to the status quo of the series, as well as to give new readers a re-introduction to some of the Squad members themselves.
Subtlety takes a back seat here as you might expect, with Seeley’s distinctive sense of humour making its indelible mark on the opening pages. Jibes about Cap’n Boomerang’s name and threats of “defensive urination” set the irreverent tone wonderfully for what is to come, with Ferreyra providing his own distinctive visual take on the Squad as we gradually meet them one by one. From Harley’s self-imposed “self help” sessions to some truly inspired use of shadow and a lamp by Deadshot, the two creators combine to ensure that the early portion of this book remains truly engaging, in spite of it only really serving as a drawn-out (re)introduction.
It doesn’t take long before the Squad – Deadshot, Harley, Cheetah and El Diablo – are hurled headlong into their latest mission, a protection gig on the neon streets of Hong Kong. I’m not going to delve into any spoilers here, but suffice to say that things deteriorate in a faster-than-expected fashion when a mysterious new player arrives, and… well… you’ll have to pick up the issue to find out just what shocking cliffhanger Seeley and Ferreyra have in store for ya. For me though, this is exactly the tone and tempo I expected from the series, and while Harley may come across as a little too over-the-top at times (even for her!), the rest of the Squad and the intriguing mystery of the story itself definitely had me hooked.
While it’s not necessarily his best work, Ferreyra’s artwork is still stunning in places, even if he doesn’t really get the chance to flex the full extent of his creative muscle here. His colours in particularly really shine here, literally in fact, particularly during the scenes set in the hazy glow of the Hong Kong streets. He also is given a perfect opportunity to showcase his gift for creative double-page spreads in the latter stages of the book, cramming all manner of detail and dynamism into practically every square inch of space. My only real criticism with the visual side of the book is the fact that it all feels a little ‘small’, at least for the time being. The characters are almost all viewed from a distance over the course of this issue, resulting in a weird sense of disconnect from what we’re reading and a somewhat subdued level of emotion – even during the shocking closing moments.
Niggles aside, this is a great jumping-on point to a series that seems poised to undergo a new lease of life with this particular creative team at the helm. While it’s admittedly mostly set-up thus far, the seeds of the mystery have definitely been planted and the eyebrow-raising cliffhanger should do more than enough to ensure readers pick up the next issue. Familiar yet fresh, patient yet dynamic, this is a fantastic opening salvo from the Seeley/Ferreyra partnership, and I for one can’t wait to see what kind of twisted ride they’re going to take us on in the issues to come.
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