[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writers: Jai Nitz, Christopher Sebela
Artists: Cliff Richards, Brian Level
Inkers: Hi-Fi, Beth Sotelo
There are actually two stories in this book. They do not seem to be related.
In story one, El Diablo is trying to figure out how to take down Checkmate and Waller (sure, that is totally easy). We learn a bit about Project Beowulf and the background of his new partner. Guest appearances from Cluemaster (who used to be in the Squad apparently), Deadshot and Catwoman.
Story two is about Killer Croc. Waller dumps him in the middle of, essentially, Kong Island. Croc fights all kinds of magical beasts. Waller talks in his ear and messes with his head. There may or may not be some actual therapy happening. They do promise to hug it out later so there is that.
This issue contains two full stories. Unlike the main title, where the main story with 13 or 14 pages and then a 7-8 page backup story, this is two 21-page stories. All of that for only a dollar more. Pretty sweet.
The art is the strongest part of both stories. The artists, Cliff Richards and Brian Level, have totally different jobs. Richards has to draw Gotham. Writer Jai Nitz gives him something to work with when he has him write “Pay Heed all who Enter” on a “Welcome to Gotham” sign. As I Michigander, I always feel like Gotham and Detroit have a lot in common. It is not nearly as bad as reported, but there are some really bad parts. Of course, the other side of it is that there are a lot of really high-quality, well-designed buildings. Richards does that well. He gives us broken down underground bunkers and glorious skyscrapers. Of course, he gives us El Diablo, who is an art show in and of himself. I can not imagine the time it takes to draw him and make him look the same from panel to panel. Richards nails it.
In the second story, Brian Level has to deal with monsters. Of course, Croc is a monster, but he has every creepy thing that went bump in the night along with every creature of mythology all on a tropical island. In fact, Croc is playing the role of Godzilla. The island also doubles as a hideout for some wacko terrorist group so there is tech there as well. Level needs to blend all of that together and he does so really well. The contrast of a metal door and electrical cables is more start after 15 pages of animals fighting, flashing claws and shiny teeth.
Where is this going? Why is it two stories? Yes, it is cool to have two stories in one book, but why? El Diablo is not in the main Suicide Squad book, so it works for him to have his own story. I am down with that. Why is this a two person title, when it is not a team up book? Santana seems to have his own team and Jones seems to be flying solo. The way each story ends it seems like they will not be mashing up any time soon. In fact, the first two issues had Boomerang in them instead. I am not suggesting each story is not good, but it seems like there are a lot of ideas for the Squad and there needs to be a place for them, so why not this mini-series. It just does not seem to work.
In general, this is good, but not on par with the main title. Sure, they all hate Waller and sure they would all go to great lengths to get away from her, but really, that is not much of a story. The main title works so well because it has action and it has humor. There is angst, but the members understand they have no choice, so they relish the work. Some of that joy is missing here. Still, the stories are compelling and entice the reader back for more.