In which The Thinker thinks, King Shark wants a snack, and the Suicide Squad faces off against the Reverse Suicide Squad for control of O.M.A.C.!
Patrick Zircher’s art is always a treat. The panel-to-panel progression of his art is truly remarkable here; creating a sense of flow and movement that gives his work a very cinematic quality. Coupled with Jason Keith’s colors, the artwork creates a fantastic visual experience. This was an issue readers will thumb through through a few times to just look at some of the panels that simply explode off the pages.
The first page was practically covered with writing to the point that there were more words than art. Writer Matt Kindt starts off strong as he delves into the villain known as The Thinker, setting up the character’s background and motivations. The Thinker is an interesting villain for the Suicide Squad. Amanda Waller is so used to having complete control over everyone and being five moves ahead, but The Thinker rips all that out from under her, playing her own game against her. There’s also some great action between the Suicide Squad and the Anti-Suicide Squad until they both realize that something is wrong, leading to some well-written character interactions.
After a strong start Kindt really ramps up the pace in the second half of the issue, progressing and developing the plot. Waller drops a lot of information about Bell Reve, what happened during the riot, and how Task Force X (Suicide Squad) wasn’t the first Task Force they tried. All this leads up to a tense confrontation between King Shark and James Gordon Jr.—which was particularly enjoyable—as well as a final page reveal that will leave readers yearning for next month’s issues. Suicide Squad currently has an incredible cast of characters, and it would be nice to see Kindt focus more on character development and interaction because he really shines there.
Harley Quinn’s portrayal here is not her best. The days of a fun-loving, adorable Harley are gone and in her place we’re left with a psychopathic murderer who has more in common with The Joker than Harley of old. [spoiler] Harley betrays the team, effectively blowing up the base they’re in, and leaves them all for dead.[/spoiler] It’s truly difficult to sympathize with her or even root for her and Kindt’s take on Harley—both here and in Detective Comics #23.2: Harley Quinn—leaves much to be desired.
Ultimately, it’s the sharp change in direction that’s created such a discord. A tonal shift was to be expected when Kindt took over; the comedy that made Kot’s run stand out seems to have been washed away for a darker and more serious tone. But that is the least of this title’s problems. That nearly a year of time has been completely skipped over without being addressed in any way is a major issue. This jump has brought up numerous questions, none of which have yet to be addressed in the book.
As of Suicide Squad #22, the team has nearly a year left on their sentences before they’re free, yet in last month’s Suicide Squad #24 the team has already finished and gone their separate ways. Did the team finish their terms or were they released early? Did they escape during the Belle Reve breakout? The Unknown Soldier says he left the team after the Africa mission, which probably means the events of Suicide Squad #23. Does that mean that Suicide Squad #23 retroactively takes place a year after the previous issue, or has it been nearly a year since then? What happened to Cheetah? What about the bombshell reveal that Amanda Waller had one been killed and resurrected using the Samsara Serum? Speaking of the Samsara Serum, it’s mentioned in Suicide Squad #22 that the serum will eventually kill everyone it’s used on. Have they fixed the serum or come up with a way to save them? If not how long do they have before it kills them?
It’s actually starting to feel like Ales Kot’s run on this title is being almost completely disregarded. Kot had ended his run of Suicide Squad in a manner that would have perfectly set up any writer to continue from. It offered a fresh direction for the team, as well as an intriguing new plot involving Amanda Waller’s past and the Samsara Serum. All that seems to have been swept under the rug, however, in what feels like an attempt to cash in on Forever Evil. Although the book fails to address these things so far, absence of information cannot be used heavily against the book just yet. With so much going on there hasn’t been time to focus on it, though the time difference should have been a point of interest from the get-go, and Kindt could still potentially deal with them in the near future.
If you’re looking for an issue that gives you more bang for your buck then look no further! Suicide Squad #25 is packed full of enough action, intrigue, and spectacle to easily make it worth the cover price and stand out in a crowd of great releases this week. This issue rises above its problems due to the amazing duo of Matt Kindt and Patrick Zircher, who will leave you on the edge of your seat and craving next month’s issue today.
To save you the trouble from having to look it up yourself, Suicide Squad #26 hits stores December 11, 2013.