Review: Suicide Squad Special: War Crimes #1

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: John Ostrander

Artists: Gus Vazquez, Carlos Rodriguez & Gabe Eltaeb

Summary

Amanda Waller sends the Suicide Squad to retrieve an American warmonger who has been kidnapped. They must rescue him before he stands trial for war crimes which could lead to war. However, a group known as Strikeforce Europa stands in their way as well as Shado.

Positives

The cover by Juan Ferreyra is great. He has a wonderfully strange style that fits the Squad well. I love how big Waller is compared to the other three members of the Squad. It is a cool image. I also love that manic glee on Harley’s face while Deadshot and Captain Boomerang are more confrontational. And the explosive background is a nice touch.

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I love the interior art by Gus Vasquez and Carlos Rodriguez. The best word to describe it is animated. There’s a nice fluidity to the art that makes it come to life. Some of this comes from how well the faces are drawn. Every character is distinct looking just by their faces without looking photo-realistic. It is more cartoon-like but it in a good way. It feels more natural that way. What also helps tremendously are Gabe Eltaeb’s colors. I love vibrant colors that stick out and these do. I imagine that most artists would go for a darker color palette with the Squad but Eltaeb doesn’t which I greatly appreciate. There’s an insanity to this title that I think goes well with brighter colors.

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It’s wonderful to see writer John Ostrander back writing Suicide Squad. There’s an intrigue he brings to his plots that I love. The situation is in a moral grey area. On one hand, this guy is obviously a terrible person and should pay for his crimes. But there is a bigger picture that could lead to a lot of death. It’s a tough situation and Ostrander resolves it in a way that is absolutely satisfying. I won’t give it away but the ending is fantastic.

It’s a lot of fun to see Ostrander write Harley. She only recently joined the Squad at the start of the New 52 so this is the first time I think Ostrander has written Harley. Or, it’s the first time I’ve seen him write Harley. He could have something that I missed. Whether it’s his first time or not, he nails it. Harley is a massive highlight of the issue. For example, there’s a running joke in which Harley refers to Captain Boomerang as Boomiebutt which is amazing and hilarious. Her childlike insanity is in great form here.

As with seemingly every Suicide Squad story, there is a character who is only there to die. You know it the second he shows up just like Slipknot in the live action film or KGBeast in Batman: Assault on Arkham. However, Ostrander puts a new twist on it that I’ve never seen before. It’s a wonderful surprise but totally makes sense. Again, I won’t give it away but I liked it that went against the typical story idea.

Strikeforce Europa is a new concept, and I like it quite a bit. They are a team of mercenaries with superpowers. They all unique abilities and designs that are very cool. I hope to see more of them in the future. I think there is a real potential for this team to be a cool series.

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Negatives

The only thing I don’t like about Ferreyra’s cover is Deadshot’s costume. There’s just too much silver in my opinion. It looks weird to me.

As stated in the summary, Shado is a factor in the story which is awesome; I love Shado. However, she gets taken out too easily and it happens off panel. Minor spoiler here, but Harley is one that defeats Shado, and the only explanation given is that Harley is crazy. I don’t know if I buy Harley taking down Shado in a fight. And even if she could, I definitely don’t think it should happen off panel. I want to see that fight.

Verdict

This is a very cool one shot. Ostrander’s story is interesting and the characters are all well utilized and characterized. The art is amazing and there’s a lot of room for more. I hope we see further stories from this creative team in the future. I highly recommend checking this issue out.

 

5outof5

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Sean Blumenshine

I am currently a senior at Wichita State University studying communications. I started reading comics in 2013 because of how much I loved Man of Steel and season one of Arrow. My favorite hero is the Green Arrow and my favorite villain is the Joker.