Suicide Squad #1
Written by Adam Glass
Art by Federico Dallocchio, Ransom Getty, Scott Hanna, & Val Staples
Despite the heat surrounding Harley Quinn’s new costume (or lack thereof), Suicide Squad is one of the New 52s strongest contenders. Not only is it a solid piece of DC history backed by a great creative team, but as a first issue, this has to be one of the best titles coming out of the relaunch. Strong characters, accessible script that doesn’t play dumb to new or old readers, and it hits the ground running with probably the best cliffhanger yet.
We’re introduced to the Suicide Squad just as they’ve fallen into enemy hands after a botched mission. Through their interrogations, we step into the mind of each character and how they came to join the squad.
If you don’t know, the Suicide Squad is DC’s hardcore superpowered black ops team. Whereas the Secret Six were supervillains acting as mercenaries of their own free will, the Suicide Squad, formally known as Task Force X, is drafted from the worst of the worst in Belle Reeve prison. Taken from their cells, they are implanted with explosives in the neck to ensure they never step out of line. Framed for a crime they didn’t commit…wait, wrong team.
The Suicide Squad roster is engaging; I was hooked just waiting to see who and why (yes, I went into this one pretty blind). There are a few established characters and a few surprises.
Fan favorite sniper Deadshot leads the charge, forced into servitude after a job gone wrong. Harley Quinn found a new angle to throw herself over the edge from. There’s the weasel Savant, the Black Spider, and the supercharged Voltaic. But as cool as Deadshot will always be, and as well executed as the new Harley is, there were two characters who stole the show for me:
Chato Santana, the current El Diablo, and King Shark. While Deadshot brings recognition and professionalism, and Harley brings the mirth, it’s El Diablo’s morality that got to me. Even as a criminal he seems to go against his teammates and even his very handlers, and it’s the hook that got me.
While King shark is just a monosyllabic brute who eats people, he also provides some dark comic relief while also bringing the disturbance and fear to the title, in an eerie balance that you’d think would have been more up Harley’s alley.
I won’t spoil the cliffhanger, either, except to say: Damn. Next issue, now.
Suicide Squad not only earns it’s title, but it earns it’s place as one of the more attention-grabbing DC titles. This how you kick off a new era, invite new readers, and keep things moving along at a pace that will throw a book onto pull lists. Easily the most entertainment value for my cover price this week.
Credit has to be due to Adam Glass, a longtime television writer and producer. While I’m the first to be leery of the trend of pulling television writers into comics as has been the trend (for some awesome, some “Are you serious?” moments) the past decade, Glass never made me doubt him. I’m told he cut his teeth on Supernatural and Cold Case, but I’ve only caught a few episodes here and there of either. Once I found out he did, though, I can understand how he pulled it off.
By focusing on the characters and keeping the story moving around the characters, Glass really did bring his suspenseful pacing to the story. He doesn’t waste time trying to (re)acclimate us to the DC Universe and shake-ups, he simply throws the characters and situation at you and commands you to buy it, or get out of the way. The characters are all distinct and there’s someone for everyone to identify with and pick as a favorite. The dialogue and monologues are bursting with personality. You simply follow along and get thrown into one situation after another with them, just as clueless.
This works especially well for that cliffhanger.
Federico Dallocchio is a perfect fit for this book. He has a dark, to-the-point style that is complimented perfectly by Ransom Getty and Scott Hanna, who keep the linework clean and definitive, and colorist Val Staples. The book keeps a serious, grounded tone, but the coloring still retains it’s bright and clean spandex and gimmicks. This is one of the best looking books in the New 52, and I don’t say that lightly.
The thing that I like most about Suicide Squad, is that it is first and foremost a comic book. It doesn’t play games with panel layout or art tricks, the story doesn’t try to be anything more cerebral than it needs to be. It plays out like the best sort of action story that happens to throw enough twists and turns to keep you engaged and thinking about it long after you’ve finished.
Tags: Adam Glass, DC Comics Relaunch, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, King Shark, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews, Suicide Squad