As you may know, I was very much looking forward to this book. Mostly because of the cover. To me the cover was a promise that this book would be insane over-the-top fun, not to mention the shark. The shark was the selling point for me here. Sorry for being one of those guys, but I have to try a book with a Shark man in it. So is this book an empty promise or a great gift in a nice package?
Suicide Squad is the story of Task Force X, A S.T.A.R. labs project spearheaded by Amanda Waller – who has lost 200 pounds but not from her breasts apparently. The task force – nicknamed Suicide Squad by prison guards – consists of former Bell Reve prison inmates given a chance to earn their freedom by working for the government. We learn of each team-mate’s back story and motivation while they are being tortured by characters who look like Scarecrow’s minions. The Suicide Squad are being asked to reveal the identity of their “boss”. None of them crack – in fact, some of them seem to get a sick pleasure from being hurt – until the last. A man named Savant spills the beans but is taken away to be killed anyway. It turns out all of this is a test. An experiment to gauge the team’s resolve under duress. Now the real mission begins.
The framing device for delivering the team roster to us is clever and entertaining to be sure. though I had reservations about buying into the premise at some points. Perhaps it’ s my lack of familiarity with S.T.A.R or Waller but would they really torture individuals to achieve their goals? The script’s strongest aspect is characterization. Harley Quinn shrugs off torturous threats with casual quips such as: “I’ve seen scary. And you ain’t got his smile”. Harley fans concerned that the costume change would affect her characterization can rest assured that this is the same old perky/creepy Harley you’ve come to love. In the other corner, King Shark feigns death to lure a minion close enough to eat his arm: “HA HA! MEAT! MEAT! MEAT!” he yells with glee. It’s one of the better moments in the book. And so we go around the room like so, flashing back and getting acquainted with sharpshooter Deadshot and a pyrokinetic monk with a conscience known as Santana (or possibly Diablo? He’s named three different ways throughout the book). The script mostly cruises by the last two characters that make up the crew of mercenaries, Voltaic and Black Spider. The ending is something that was trying to be a cliffhanger but fell short of one.
As far as a first issues are concerned Suicide Squad is entirely serviceable but nothing particularly impressive. My reactions was never better than basic interest. The artwork is the weakest link here. It’s passable at best and at worse, inconsistent. In some pages we see a poor man’s Alex Maleev and in others something more traditional but still average. Artwork with more personality might have brought out the subtleties of the scripting and characterizations but as it is, this book is the comic book ends up being the equivalent of plain white toast.
I very much wanted to love this. And though it had some nice moments and was basically interesting I felt there was no magic to spellbind me . I guess a Shark man just isn’t enough. Oh well, there’s always Frankenstein with a gatling gun.
Parental concern: Orange (violence)