In reviewing the All-New Suicide Squad’s first issue, the thought comes up that in this day and age, people may question the wisdom of putting the word “Suicide” in the title of a comic book. Even though this title has nothing to do with actually killing oneself, it still seems in bad taste. While this reviewer read the book with nary a thought toward the title, the overnight news of the apparent suicide of comedian Robin Williams makes the horror of this comic book’s title all the more real. In prior volumes of this title, every now and then one of the Squad members gets killed, therefore making their missions something of a suicide mission, which more-or-less provides the impetus of the books’ title.
The concept of the Suicide Squad is fairly simple. Taking the idea from other media (the movie The Dirty Dozen comes to mind), the U.S. government, seeking secret warriors who are not publicly connected with Washington, recruits imprisoned villains into an ad-hoc strike force that can do the dirty jobs that cannot be connected to the government. The bad guys and gals wreak mayhem on the intended target, and the public (and the target) just think it is homicidal super-villains doing what they do. DC Comics has been running Suicide Squad titles since the 1980s, and this latest version of the secret villain team features some of the most bloodthirsty, crazy, and calculating baddies that the DC Universe has to offer.
Black Manta, Deathstroke, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and the Joker’s Daughter are the new Suicide Squad. The plot, such as it is, puts our gang in Moscow, with a mission to make the Russians pay for their own bag of dirty tricks. Ukraine and Crimea are not mentioned, but they may as well be for all the non-subtlety of their mission.
The action is typical of what happens when you unleash killers upon a civilian target. The only question is who will intervene to stop this Suicide Squad? Batman and Robin? Aquaman? Anyone? Actually, the end of the book answers that question, but we will not reveal that here.
As an introductory #1 issue, the plot and character development are par for the course. Writer Sean Ryan sets up what this team is about, why the government bureaucrats are unleashing these horrible killers upon the world, and the basic interactions between our Squaddies. The most intriguing piece of this team lineup is Harley Quinn and Joker’s Daughter. They don’t like each other, and if you have any knowledge of these two crazy women, you know why they are like oil and fire together. The interaction between Deadshot and Deathstroke also bears possible future plot complications.
Artist Jeremy Roberts turns in good, clean art, with clear definition and effectively violent battle scenes. His take on our five villains is well-done and effective.
Again, going back to the problem of the “suicide” title, after reading the story, it is clear that “Homocide Squad” or “Murder Squad” would be more in keeping with the actual action of the Squaddies.
Overall, if we ignore the stupidity and bad taste of the title, this book is interesting mostly due to the potential Harley/Joker’s Daughter conflict. That, and wondering if one of the bad guys will be killed off. Comics and storylines that highlight the character and motivation of villains, if done right, can be fascinating. We shall see what Ryan and Roberts have in store for us and this collection of sociopathic misfits.
Below is our video review of New Suicide Squad #1.