Guest post by: Kyle Gnepper
The supervillain espionage series redefined by John Ostrander in the late 1980s returns under the direction of Adam Glass with Suicide Squad #1. This issue certainly functions as an introductory piece and works best for those unfamiliar with the concept; it’s full of explanations for the identity of Task Force X (better known as The Suicide Squad) and its principal characters.
The first pages introduce the team (Deadshot, Harley Quinn, King Shark, Diablo, Black Spider, Voltaic and Savant) after they’ve already been captured on their first mission and are being tortured for information. After hours of masked men beating and questioning them, one (Savant) finally breaks. This is the device used to show us how inmates from Belle Reve prison are recruited for missions likely to kill them in exchange for an early release. As we look at each of the members being questioned we get a page of backstory delving into their most recent capture and what kind of person they are. Each character is presented with a different voice and brings something distinct to the team.
It’s impossible to address this series opening without talking about the most controversial aspect that came out when the cover debuted months ago: Harley Quinn’s redesign. Although the majority of female characters have gone through makeovers favoring a slightly conservative look, Harley Quinn’s gone the cheesecake route. She’s traded a full body suit that covered all but her face for a corset, daisy dukes, thigh-high boots and a neck ruffle with pig tails. The established communities of Harley fan’s were not pleased, and this issue doesn’t show much to give them cause to change their minds.
The redeeming factor is that Harley’s familiar character beyond the costume has been kept intact. When we see her background page she seems less psychotic than some of the other members for this team. The best word you can really use for how she’s portrayed is broken, maybe sad. The spirit of the character is there in the sense of her being fixated on the Joker and making him love her at all cost. Beyond the look of her outfit you can pick this up after reading her DC introduction several years ago and still believe it’s the same person.
Frederico Dallocchio’s artwork does work well for everything under his control. The scenes in a dark damp torture room and the shadowy areas for missions all look menacing. He even does an excellent job on facial expression for some of our more emotional members, as well as the body language of a man after King Shark bites his arm off. The only issue is how some characters look in their new outfits, or in Deadshot’s case how he looks without his trademark pencil-line moustache.
Now the real question to ask is how this series does as an espionage piece, and does it continue in the spirit of the original series? With this being an introductory issue the espionage angle just isn’t certain yet. So much time is spent on introducing the characters and team that we haven’t seen much of them in action, so it will take at least one more issue to know for sure.
As for the spirit of the series, the issue does work. Here we see a team of dangerous criminals used by Amanda Waller as resources in highly dangerous missions, allowing the US government to claim deniability if necessary. Waller comes off hard and willing to do what’s necessary to ensure the team will work, while the members appear cold and damaged, each being there for their own reasons. It will take time to know for certain if the series is worth getting for long term, but it certainly warrants one or two more issues with what is shown here.
Pull list verdict: ON PROBATION
My Best of 2012 Playlist by Eric Garneau
After being inspired by some friends, for the past few years I’ve been really into documenting my musical exploration with year-end mixes. I realize this is not a particularly novel thing to do, but hey, who has original ideas any more? Anyway, this has gotten even easier to do thanks to new technology like Spotify. read more