Death of the Family Review: Suicide Squad #15
“Running with the Devil, Part 2″
Published by DC Comics
Written by Adam Glass
Art by Fernando Dagnino
Coloured by Matt Yackey
This issue begins where the previous one ended with Harley Quinn getting hanged by the Joker. She has a flashback to the Joker prior to his facial removal and awakens to find herself strapped to a hospital bed. Meanwhile, Waller and Yo-Yo are looking at the events taking place by using a hidden (and pretty unethical) means. Waller also deduces what it is that Yo-Yo really wants. Back with Harley, she turns the table on the Joker (no pun intended) and then he tortures her with their “children.” Much to her dismay, she dispatches with them and continues to fight the Joker until he takes a bite out of his competition (okay, that pun was both lame and intentional). She violently responds to him only to find that he may not actually feel the damage being inflicted upon him. Harley gets some retribution, but is ultimately bested by the Joker. Rather than doing away with her in a couple of conventional ways, he decides to lock her away. However, it is here that he makes a surprising revelation to her. Captain Boomerang and Waller find her as she has already made her escape while staking her claim of being more than just his broken toy. This all happens just as someone else makes a surprising recovery elsewhere.
There were a couple of really good visuals in this comic. One was the flashback version of the Joker fading out to become his current deranged look. The other was his expression after he took a bite out of Harley. It was really creepy and possibly one of (or even the) most effective visuals of the Joker since his return. I liked how Harley gave it everything she had and just couldn’t best him no matter what. It put her over as a legitimate fighter and threat while making him seem even more unstoppable. Waller’s back-up plan to keep an eye on Harley (almost a pun there as well) was classic Waller. She’ll go to any lengths to maintain control on her team. The Joker was relentless in his attempts to further damage Harley psychologically and this was interesting because she was arguably his closest ally at one point. The source of his motivation to do so differed depending on which character provided the analysis. This issue for the most part was really tanking for me, but his revelation when he chained Harley up was a good one. Good enough that it brought me back into the issue. Also, their relationship is far from over. The cliffhanger on the final panel was also a good one.
I didn’t buy Waller’s logic for why the Joker was torturing Harley so much. I never read it that way before and it just didn’t work for me. It took away from the issue for me because from that point on, I kept looking to see if her analysis was valid and it still didn’t stick for me. I didn’t really see any emotional vulnerability on his part. I didn’t care for the Joker’s tricks on Harley such as drugging her because it made him seem weaker. Normally I would think that he could dispatch her without them, but the fact that he felt he needed to resort to tricks hurt his credibility a bit for me. I also wish that it was clearly stated at some point that he let her get some licks in on him. She got the better of him on a few occasions and that bothered me. I don’t expect him to be unbeatable, but I do expect for him to really be able to match up well to Batman this time around. Harley being able to surprise him and beat him up so viciously brought down the threat level for me a bit. I thought perhaps he was playing possum to prove a point, but I couldn’t be sure on this one. When she fought against their “children” they really didn’t look rabid to me. If I was a regular reader of this comic, I might be a bit miffed at the lack of the rest of the Suicide Squad. Also, a few extra words about the rationale behind his plans with her would’ve helped as well because it just didn’t really fit in with his plans for Batman.
Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?
Borrow It. There were a couple of good revelations in this issue that I really did like. In fact, the last panel has me curious enough to try out the next issue. This was not a bad issue by any means, but the motives and psychology behind it is what brought it down for me. Perhaps it’s because these comics are editorially mandated to be a part of the crossover and there isn’t a lot of time to build up some of these aspects of the story. Nonetheless, the conflict was well-played out and considering the parties involved, I did expect a certain level of viciousness in their confrontation and I got it. I just wish that the Joker looked a little stronger in this issue considering that Harley is by no means in the same league as Batman himself.
Tags: Adam Glass, Batman, DC Comics, Death of the Family, Harley Quinn, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews, Suicide Squad, The Joker