Review: Future State: Suicide Squad #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Robbie Thompson (SS) and Jeremy Adams (Black Adam)
Art: Javier Fernandez (SS) and Fernando Pasarin & Oclair Albert (Black Adam)
Colors: Alex Sinclair (SS) and Jeromy Cox (Black Adam)
Letters: Wes Abbott
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Future State: Suicide Squad #1 has not one, but two stories! First, the Justice Squad takes on a group of recognizable villains for Amanda Waller and then Black Adam is reborn in the 853rd Century alongside the Justice Legion!
Between the two stories, the standout aspect of this issue is the art by Fernando Pasarin and Oclair Albert on the Black Adam Story. Along with the colorist, Jeromy Cox these three had a great run on Robert Venditti’s Hawkman. They turn in another outstanding job her on Black Adam. The colors evoke just the right moods as the tone of the story shifts and Pasarin and Albert make the characters look great!
In the Suicide Squad story, the Flash character has a really intriguing line that sounds like the perfect set up for a great story and introduction to this character’s world, “I…I wanted to be a hero. I started as a criminal. Wrong family. Wrong time. Whatever.” It’s the most interesting character moment in either story. Hopefully, it will go somewhere.
All the “Future State” titles are working with the premise of dropping the reader into an unknown situation. This can be tough, but it can also be interesting. They all provide a mystery of sorts. With Future State: Suicide Squad #1 there are multiple mysteries to be explored, but unfortunately, there’s not a great hook for either the Black Adam or Suicide Squad story. Part of this is based on the familiarity the reader already has with the concept. But, it is also incumbent on the writer to MAKE it interesting to anyone. This isn’t really the case with this issue. After revealing that the Justice League are really imposters, the one “real” character, Conner Kent seems to have done something awful to have landed himself a sentence with Amanda Waller’s group.
Fans don’t tend to like seeing fan-favorite characters take a character assassination bullet- just ask Wally West. In Future State: Suicide Squad #1 Conner Kent gets this treatment. While it is one of the mysteries of the issue, it leaves a sour taste in the mouth, sort of a “this is the best you could come up with?” This makes it seem that Conner may be the main character of this future concept, but he is not.
Readers should’ve noticed that there’s been a parallel narration in this issue from an unseen character, but his narration boxes are marked with a familiar insignia…The Peacemaker! Turns out the real stars of this comic are a Suicide Squad led by the Peacemaker with Cheetah, Mirror Master and some others in tow. One has to question the decision to have the main characters show up on the last page of issue one of a two issue series.
The Black Adam story doesn’t fare much better. If you don’t know who the Justice Legion Alpha are you’re going to feel pretty lost. Even with a quick Google…this story feels crammed and all-over-the-place at the same time. And, to eliminate Superman-Prime so quickly! Hmmm…does Black Adam stand a chance?
This story definitely needed more exposition to give the reader context. Black Adam isn’t a big draw on his own, and this issue doesn’t fill in enough of the blanks to explain how we got here. Black Adam can be a compelling character, but this issue doesn’t have enough context to make it engaging.
Perhaps, the biggest failing of this issue in total is the feeling that it is driven by movies. Peacemaker will be in the new Suicide Squad film and Black Adam will have his own film soon. They just feel like forced decisions, or they just aren’t concepts that appeal to this reviewer. They lack a broader appeal with little technical attributes. They rely on too much inherent interest in the characters to engage the reader.
If you’re not already a fan of these concepts there’s not a lot here to see in terms of the Suicide Squad and Black Adam. While there appears to be a bizarre synergy between the two stories, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. This probably won’t bring in any Conner Kent fans either. Both tales seem to lack a significant direction. Definitely not one of the better “Future State” issues.