THE PITCH: What if the worst villains in the DCU were forced to protect us by the government? And explosives in their brains?
HOW WAS IT? Waaaay better than I expected. I think, like most people, I was pretty turned off by the cheesecake cover featuring Harley Quinn in her slightly ridiculous new outfit. First of all, it’s been de-sexified a bit inside, and made more in line with her video game/Arkham City costume… Which makes sense. Like most of the New 52, this is a chance to reach out to a wider audience, and if Suicide Squad looks like a video game tie-in, all the better for the casual reader.
And perhaps more than any other New 52 title, this is completely, squarely aimed at new readers. It’s an origin issue – not just for the Suicide Squad, but also individually for each member of the squad. And though it spends most of its running time on recapping in one page segments who everybody is, there’s still time for a neat (though not entirely unpredictable) twist, and a last page that promises some over the top villain action in issue two.
Here’s the deal: for most of the running time, I wasn’t sure what to think of this. It wasn’t bad, persay, but it seemed to be spending a lot of time getting us up to speed, rather than giving us any plot… Particularly as you’re thrown into the middle of the action already in progress. However, by the end of the issue, writers Adam Glass’ reasoning for this is sound (avoiding spoilers here), and it certainly helps set up who, say, Deadshot or King Shark are in the new DCU, characters who might not be as familiar as Harley Quinn to a casual audience.
The art is generally pretty good, though there were a few sequences that got a bit muddy… As happens when you’re dealing with a lot of blood and darkness. Also, the flashback pages could have used a bit more to differentiate themselves, color-wise, from each other, as well as the main thrust of the action. For the most part, it’s easy to follow, but occasionally, I had to flip back a page or two to make sure I hadn’t missed something. A simple full page bleed/framed structure might have helped.
In summary… I’m not going to say Suicide Squad is nearly as clever by far as Secret Six was (this is a clear Secret Six replacement). It’s also going to – beyond this issue – have a long battle of comparison with that excellent series, as well as the previous critically lauded runs on Suicide Squad. So the team has their work cut out for them. But like I said, that last panel definitely has intrigued for more.
BEST BIT: Deadshot is never not a bad character.
WORST BIT: King Shark used to be funny, right? He’s not funny here.
EASTER EGGS: Your eyes do not deceive you, that is in fact a skinny, new Amanda Waller who looks like Angela Bassett. Hey, didn’t Bassett play Waller in the Green Lantern movie? Hm, weird.
ACCESSIBLE TO NEW READERS? Yup. Like I said, this is all origin.
WILL YOU BE PICKING UP ISSUE 2? Much to my surprise, yes.