Ales Kot’s run of Suicide Squad comes to an explosive end and it’s just as fantastic as I’d hoped it would be.
There’s been something missing from DC Comics in the New 52. The element of “this is bananas but I absolutely love it” type of fun seems to have been lost as many books have become overly serious, overly dark, or overly gritty, and sometimes all three. With the exception of Demon Knights and Sword of Sorcery, which have both been cancelled, as well as The Flash and the Green Team: Teen Trillionaires, it’s hard to find a book in the New 52 that I had as much fun reading as this issue of Suicide Squad.
It starts off with a lot of exposition between Amanda Waller and James Gordon Jr. as she reveals all she knows about the man behind the hack of Bell Reve back in Suicide Squad #21. While only the Squad’s second outing with the new roster, they function like a well-oiled machine as they aim to take down the Dictator of ‘Some Country Far Away’, as well as the man behind the hack. Kot handles the team dynamic perfectly and everyone gets a moment to shine in some respect, especially Harley Quinn who felt more like herself than ever here since the start of the New 52.
Despite a slow start it quickly picks up as Ales Kot cranks up the action and fun to 11 for his final issue, leaving a smile on my face from start to end. Suicide Squad #23 is like a major blockbuster popcorn flick, filled with snappy one-liners and witty captions, big action and explosions. They even get a bit meta at one point when Amanda Waller and James Gordon Jr. are eating popcorn as the issue unfolds. Kot isn’t afraid to embrace the goofiness of the medium and that is truly why this issue shines.
I’d really liked Patrick Zircher’s art on this title and I feel his absence was sorely felt here. If there is one word to describe the art in this issue it’s as inconsistent. Artist Rick Leonardi did a passable job with his pencils, which still left something to be desired. It was made worse by the three…yes, three, inkers. While some panels were gorgeous to look at, others came across as incredibly mediocre. Overall the art worked on some pages and panels, but simply didn’t on others.
The reveal of who hacked Belle Reve was slightly underwhelming to me because I didn’t really know the character and much of the history the character has with Amanda Waller comes from Team 7, a book I hadn’t read. This didn’t really detract from the book but I wish Kot had more time to flesh things out.
I’d originally avoided Suicide Squad due to bad word of mouth but picked it up out of curiosity when Ales Kot came on board for Suicide Squad #20. Since then it’s been one of my absolute must reads. He’s shown not only that he has an incredible grasp of these characters, but an equally impressive talent and variety. It really felt like he was building up to something big and delivered my favorite Suicide Squad story since Ostrander’s run. It’s hard to see something you love with so much potential cut short, but Kot goes out with quite a bang and leaves something behind. Though he ties things up fairly well he leaves just enough untied or unanswered for the next writer, Matt Kindt, to continue on with.