Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Rob Williams
Artwork: Philip Tan, Jonathan Glapion, Scott Hanna, Sandu Florea
Release Date: 3rd August, 2016
Under normal circumstances, a new Suicide Squad title would be flying under the radar somewhat, but with a certain movie opening on Friday, this is a VERY BIG DEAL. No pressure.
The Squad made their first appearance waaay back in 1959’s Brave And The Bold #59, as a regular army squad, albeit one who fought giant monsters. It wasn’t until they burst out of the Legends mini-series in 1986, created and written by the brilliant John Ostrander, that the squad we know and love appeared. It’s brutally simple concept: The Dirty Dozen with supervillains.
Pulled together by the formidable government agent Amanda Waller, Task Force X (to give if it’s official title) would be sent in to do the jobs conventional methods wouldn’t work for. Not only that, the team would be 100% expendable. The Ostrander run is now regarded as somewhat of a classic and as entertaining as the New 52 iteration was, that’s the yardstick that any new version of Suicide Squad will be compared to.
Fortunately, this time around Rob Williams is at the helm.
As a long-time fan, I’m pleased to see he absolutely nails it here. Right the opening act of Waller convincing Obama of the need for a government-sanctioned bunch of bastards, Williams is on fire here.
Echoing a similar scene back on Ostrander’s run with Waller and Reagan (only Ronnie didn’t need any convincing, natch), he perfectly makes the case for why the Suicide Squad are a necessary evil and hammers the point home again when the Guantanamo-incarcerated Rick Flag needs some convincing to lead the team:
“I’d like you to help me spread some terror, Colonel. Terror that benefits us.”
Meanwhile a stripped-down Squad of Deadshot, Harley Quinn and Captain Boomerang have been dropped in to deal with a kidnapped scientist and an army of new superhumans in a Mongolian ghost city. Needles to say, their solution to the problem isn’t anything you can see the Justice League taking any time soon. If that sounds like a ton of fun, that’s because it is. Full-on balls to the wall action, widescreen carnage, dark humour and some whip-smart characterisation make this the best take on the team since Ostrander’s peak period.
Philip Tan, who’ll be alternating art duties with Jim Lee, brings it all to life in glorious style. The battle that closes the book just jumps off the page, his storytelling pulling your eye across from panel to panel, each one as explosive as the last. My only complaint is the character design at points doesn’t quite live up to the rest of the comic. Harley’s look is nondescript, while Deadshot with his overload of pouches, straps and layered armour looks far too much like a ’90s Wildstorm character.
Is a small complaint though, as Suicide Squad is firing on all cylinders here. It’s immense stuff.
Another Rebirth title hits the target.
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The Writer of this piece was: Jules Boyle
Jules tweets from @Captain_Howdy