After testing the waters with Deadshot and Harley Quinn during “Villains Month” to mixed reception, Matt Kindt makes his debut on Suicide Squad! In the wake of Forever Evil, Belle Reeve has fallen, leaving Amanda Waller trapped inside while the inmates are free to play, and Deadshot reunites with Harley to put a team together for one more mission.
It’s great to have Patrick Zircher back on Suicide Squad, after his noticeable absence last issue. His art has always been a treat and one of the highlights of this book since he joined. Zircher’s art and Jason Keith’s colors are an incredible pair that do wonders in setting a visceral and striking tone for the series. Zircher staying on as the artist for Suicide Squad also helps to ease the transition from Ales Kot’s writing to Matt Kindt’s. The two writers also have a similar approach to Suicide Squad, mixing a dark and cerebral tone with copious amounts of action, and Kindt has hit the ground running in his first issue. This was packed to the limit with enough dialogue and exposition to almost black out a page but with about as much action and spectacle to match.
Belle Reeve has been breached, the doors are all open, and the inmates are out to play. Right from the start we’re thrown into chaos, action, and explosions as Amanda Waller is left to defend herself in the Lion’s den, spelling out for us the difference between Arkham Asylum and Belle Reeve. She manages to sneak away to a secret room in Belle Reeve to contact Floyd Lawton, Deadshot, for one last mission. Although Deadshot is no longer a member of the Suicide Squad, Waller still has leverage over him and uses it to get him to put together a new team.
Fans of Ostrander’s Suicide Squad will be excited to see the return of Captain Boomerang! Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and Harley Quinn head out to the Rocky Mountains to retrieve a very dangerous weapon. Meanwhile, someone who appears to be Amanda Waller begins to put together a Suicide Squad team of their own! This new ‘Waller’ reaches out and contacts Steel, Power Girl, The Unknown Soldier, and a new vigilante character known as Warrant to, you guessed it, retrieve a very dangerous weapon! While the two teams work to secure this weapon James Gordon Jr. investigates why the prisoners are staying at Belle Reeve and building a large…I don’t even know what it is.
This issue was packed full. Maybe too full. Things were very condensed and the story felt rushed in places. Twenty pages is simply not enough to tell the story Kindt wanted in this issue; he didn’t have enough room to flesh out and really dig into the characters. Although I enjoyed Kindt’s writing, his dialogue did become a bit meandering at times. There was a lack of humor here that was prevalent in the previous issues that really drew me into the title.
There was also a major continuity problem here. Suicide Squad #21 flashes forward to the events of the next issue, Suicide Squad #22, revealing that the Squad has another 11 months left on their sentences. Suicide Squad #23 seemingly takes place shortly after Suicide Squad #22, and now we’re told here that the team has been disbanded and that they’re already free. This was extremely confusing. You can’t help but begin to wonder where exactly did nearly a full year go? I understand new writers changing smaller details to fit a story they are trying to tell but this is such a glaring change that goes without any sort of explanation at all.
Another continuity issue comes with a reveal at the end. [spoiler]A bomb collar appears on Amanda Waller in the final page of the book.[/spoiler] There’s no explanation as to how it got there and with it not having been on her in any of the previous pages of the book It’s just another thing that makes you scratch your head in confusion.
Matt Kindt started off strong in his first issue of Suicide Squad. Although it wasn’t without problems it was definitely and enjoyable read from start to finish, and even better the second time through, leaving you excited for the next issue. I was originally hesitant about Matt Kindt on Suicide Squad after his portrayal of Harley Quinn during Villains Month but this issue did a lot to set my worries aside. With Kindt’s writing and Zircher’s art this book remains one of the most enjoyable books of the New 52 and one I strongly recommend reading if you haven’t already.