New Suicide Squad #1 by Sean Ryan with art by Jeremy Roberts is surprisingly not terrible.
I went into this issue dreading it. There was a preview for it in some of last week’s releases and I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. I just knew it was going to be all the worst elements of the New 52 relaunch rolled into one series. It’s not great by any means, but it is much better than what I was expecting.
I’ve never read a Suicide Squad comic before in my life. I’m pretty new to DC comics as well, so I am only very passingly familiar with most of these characters outside of Harley Quinn. A good deal of the dialogue in this issue belongs to the government man in charge of the New Suicide Squad, Mr. Sage. As such, most of the exposition duties fall on him as he talks about the concept of the Suicide Squad and who the characters are to other government figures, including Amanda Weller. All of this exposition is handled snappily, and I, as a new reader, feel like I have a pretty good understanding of who everybody is. Most of the characters are written with a distinct voice and given a brief bit to establish what they bring to the team. It gives a pretty good reason as to why they have two doubles (Harley/the Joker’s Daughter and Deadshot/Deathstroke) on the team.
I can’t decide if this Mr. Sage is the best character or the worst. He’s so full of himself, talking about how great his ideas for the team are (that he has renamed Task Force X (or possibly Task Force XL)) and how perfectly things are going to be working out. Since the comic starts with his narration, I initially thought the writer was tooting his own horn a little too hard, but I think it is pretty clear that all of this is going to be blowing up in his face pretty hard. It’s a pretty stock character type, but here it is fun enough that I am willing to play along with his high and mightiness for a couple of issues. That fall needs to come before too long though.
I also like how ridiculous their mission is. I don’t know if this is standard fare for the Suicide Squad, but here they are hitting the Russian government pretty hard. Deathstroke says “Russia” a few too many times…… or not enough. Where are they going to go from here? How do you top an attack on the Russian government?
I mentioned that most of the characters get established pretty well, but the Joker’s Daughter gets pretty short shrift here. They tell who she is and she gets a line, but I really don’t have a sense of who she is as a character. She seems to be a person that stands around in the back of group shots with a weird expression on her face or, in a team where three of the characters have guns and one has sharp weapons, she just punches people. And that costume. Yeesh. The Joker’s face on her face is bad enough, but with the long green jacket, exposed midriff, and mini skirt, she just looks bad. In case you were wondering, Harley Quinn’s costume is still pretty terrible as well.
I’m not too big of a fan of the art in general. I really like Harley’s initial attack on the Russian building, but other than that is all pretty basic stuff. It doesn’t seem to be going for any particular style or trying to do anything interesting. It’s just kind of there. That said, nothing stands out about it as being either, except I was confused by the last page. Some giants show up to menace Task Force X. There’s just something about the way the last page is draw that I couldn’t tell if they were actual giants or if it was just a weird perspective.
New Suicide Squad is a lot better than I was expecting it to be. It’s not particularly my kind of comic, but it does a pretty good job of introducing all the characters, giving them a fun mission, and planting some seeds for future stories.
Pick this one up if you like dudes overestimating their own abilities, attacks on Russia, or terrible costumes.