‘Suicide Squad’ dominates multiple media genres

Andrew Sandoval

Mesa Legend

Huge bookcase filled with various comic books.
Above: Comic books displayed at Greg’s Comics in Mesa. Below: A customer sorts through various graphic novels.
Photos by Andrew Sandoval / Mesa Legend

“The New Suicide Squad” comic couldn’t come at a better time. With the CW’s Arrow debuting its fourth suicide squad episode and the announcement of DC creating its own “Suicide Squad” film due to release in 2016, it only make sense that we recognize the medium in which the fantastic and evolving IP was spawned.  As Black Manta smashes through a line of troopers, Deadshot unloads a barrage of bullets in every direction and dawning the volume’s title, “Pure Insanity” in a big bloody font. Immediately kicks off the book with heavy action, and then just as swiftly slows it down to introduce some new and old characters. With oversight by the U.S government, the squad is commanded by Amanda Waller head of Task Force X who is sending her team into Russia to covertly destroy a new mysterious weapon system that they are developing.

Pure insanity may be an understatement for how these characters interact with one another throwing all these volatile personalities right into the mixing bowl makes for a good chemical reaction of conflict. The first meeting of the group in full, breaks out in a fight between new squad members Harley Quinn and Joker’s daughter displaying the lack of camaraderie these people share. The human emotional spectrum crossing the faces of these characters it’s uplifting to see the consistency that Roberts puts into the facial details, a mark many comic book artists miss.   It doesn’t take long for things to flash forward to the present as the Russians unleash their new weapon system right in the middle of the Moscow, in the form of three giant robots charging in fast and hard. Basically dropping a building on the squad which forces our heroes, or should I say villains, to split up.

Customer in comic book store looking through stacks of comics.Writer Sean Ryan quickly progresses the story with issues three and four as Deadshot ends up injured and captured by the Russians and Deathstroke the leader of the mission goes missing, leaving the rest of the squad to squabble for command. Meanwhile Amanda Waller defends her own position for control from a newly appointed government goon Victor Sage, who wants to blow up the explosive devices in the squad members’ skulls to avoid them from being captured. Ryan’s interactions between characters is on point as Harley Quinn and Joker’s daughter continue to bicker and taunt each other with clean and original banter, all culminating in another more serious brawl that spanned the entirety of issue three. In which Sean & Roberts used it to display Joker’s daughter’s ferociousness in battle and disturbing obsession of the deranged villain the Joker.

It seems like there is as much infighting as there is conflict with the mission but neither tears focus away from the other. Harley Quinn finally knocks Joker’s daughter flat on both her faces then she and Black Manta make their way to find and rescue Deadshot from the clutches of the Russians. And if there wasn’t enough team killing going around already, Ryan throws in a nice twist to the plot as Deathstroke steps out of the shadows as a traitor to the squad, ready to interrogate or better yet torture Deadshot for the Russians. Luckily for him Harley and Manta bust in just in the nick of time to save Deadshot and make their escape. Mission not accomplished as the Russian super machines chase them out of the country.

The team manages to make it back to the U.S in more or less one piece minus a whole member. Ryan uses Amanda Waller’s position to give a status report of each member and with the betrayal of Deathstroke, Joker’s daughter being too unstable and Deadshot’s injuries retaining him to a wheelchair, the Suicide Squad seems to be more like a suicide pair, leaving only Harley Quinn and Black Manta to take on any future missions. Fortunately Task Force X doesn’t come without its insurance and a few new members will be debuting in the next couple of issues.

With Sean Ryan as the ongoing writer the story progression should not falter but with the artist switching almost every issue after issue four it make can it difficult to connect if the characters facial features and body shapes shift month to month no matter how slight. Why not do what Scott Snyder & Greg Cappulo do with Batman and keep the same writer and artist for every issue and just add contributors to the script and panel, instead of swapping out artist like it’s a weekly series? Other than a possible loss of art quality for future issues there’s a good chance that the Suicide Squad story will ramp up the action and bring in come really cool villains to play hero or showing why they call this team the Suicide Squad.


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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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