Review: Future State: Suicide Squad #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Robbie Thompson and Jeremy Adams
Art: Javier Fernandez and Fernando Pasarin & Oclair Albert
Colors: Alex Sinclair and Jeromy Cox
Letters: Wes Abbott
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Future State: Suicide Squad #2 continues both stories from the previous issue, the Suicide Squad led by the Peacemaker tries to stop Amanda Waller from sealing Earth-3 off from the Multiverse and Black Adam tries to stop the Multiverse destroying Unkindness.
The thing the Black Adam story gets right is that it connects to two other “Future State” series. It should come as no surprise that the story is connected to Future State: Shazam. And, since that title was a continuation of the story in Future State: Teen Titans #2, this story brings us full circle to the fate of Raven. Not all the “Future State” series seem to fit that well together, but these three do. One imagines they might be collected together for a single big story.
Like last issue, the art in the Black Adam story by Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert and Jeromy Cox is beautiful. If you’ve missed their work since the cancellation of the fantastic Hawkman series, then I suggest you take a look at this story. The three work together seamlessly to provide some truly stunning images in varied landscapes and settings along with a large cast of characters who all look amazing.
Both of the stories in Future State: Suicide Squad #2 share one unfortunate commonality- they are overloaded with concepts and/or plot twists. Neither have enough space to develop properly or depict adequate character development. In the case of the Suicide Squad story, the main character, Conner Kent has a backstory that’s missing details as to why he’s even under Amanda Waller’s control. Knowing the specifics of what he’s done is an important part of trying to tell a story of redemption. Without knowing this the rest is fairly uninteresting.
Amanda Waller is so often portrayed as deceitful and conniving that it’s not surprising that she’s prepared to double-cross anyone and everyone. However, when we learn that there’s TWO Amanda Waller’s in the story, it expands the scope of the story, but fails to make it feel substantial. It’s simply a trick with no underlying significance. It’s hinted that there’s a story there, but it’s never addressed in a way that provides any depth to either of the Amanda Waller’s.
Black Adam’s tale is one of Multiversal destruction. And, it’s all condensed down to the equivalent of two regular issues. Unfortunately, what could’ve been an interesting story that connected three different “Future State” series, just feels more like a method of setting up Black Adam for his role in the forthcoming Justice League book. It ends up being a lot of plot just to get Adam returned to the present day with minimal character work. It doesn’t stand on its own very well as a story, it just feels like part of a larger story that doesn’t exist.
The adventure is truly sprawling, but it lacks space to breathe. Each story moment is over too quickly. As it is, it feels rushed and a bit contrived. There just isn’t enough space devoted to developing the concepts so that when the Unkindness is revealed it doesn’t really resonate. It doesn’t help that these stories are future tales. Clearly, they are meant to inform what happens in the coming months, but if these looks into the future aren’t executed very well, they don’t exactly do their job of getting readers excited about what’s next.
Someone reading this will want to know about Gold Beetle. While the basic concept of her character has merit, again with so little story space, she just feels like a collection of gimmicks and idiosyncrasies instead of a fleshed out character. And, there’s so little to go on, there’s not even a single hook that makes me say, “I want to see more of her!” She functions more as a plot device than anything else.
If you are going to buy Future State: Suicide Squad #2 for the wonderful art in the Black Adam story then you will be satisfied. Unfortunately, both stories themselves are short on character development, and overwhelmingly plot heavy. It certainly feels like six or so issues have been condensed to accommodate the page space with only the basic plots remaining. Even if Conner Kent or Black Adam is your favorite character, this is not going to be a very satisfying read.