Story: Tom Taylor
Art: Bruno Redondo
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbot
What They Say:
Task Force X-nicknamed the Suicide Squad-unites some of the DCU’s unlikeliest villains for its bloodiest series yet! The Squad’s new mission is to neutralize a new group of international super-terrorists known as the Revolutionaries-and not everyone on either side will make it out alive! But when the U.S. government’s most deniable team of do-badders realizes that the surviving Revolutionaries will be joining the Squad, all hell breaks loose! Who can Harley Quinn and Deadshot trust when their new teammates are the very people their crew was assigned to kill? The Suicide Squad doesn’t just need to worry about surviving their next mission… now they have to survive each other!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
My love of Suicide Squad goes back to the original series that feels like a lifetime ago when the idea of killing off characters was a lot more surprising. I had missed out on the start of this series but had seen series writer Tom Taylor talking about it and discovered that Bruno Redondo was handling the art duties on it. These two as a team on the Injustice books was one of my favorite pairings so I figured I’d check out the book since it’s only a few issues along and things are getting underway in a big way supposedly. I’ve really enjoyed Taylor’s writing over the years from Injustice as he made it clear he “got” these characters in a fundamental way and could see a lot of interesting paths for them. Redondo, well, he wowed me issue after issue with a wide range of settings and characters so I’m happy to follow his artwork and journey anywhere.
The premise is naturally familiar here in that we’ve got the Suicide Squad team made up of villains that serve the US government on missions that are highly dangerous and could end in death in order to get reduced sentences. They’ve got bombs implanted in them and the boss, Amanda Waller, is able to blow them up if they go off-script. This crew that’s made up of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Magpie, Shark, Zebra-man, and Cavalier are being sent after a group calling themselves the Revolutionaries. They recently attacked the launch of several new submarines for the Australian fleet that the US government built and sold them and succeeded in destroying most of them and acquiring a warhead along the way. Taking them down is the goal but Deadshot’s pretty clear this is the weakest of groups that they’ve had.
What makes this book work is that the stakes are clear in that these guys have no choice. Waller has now apparently quit and the new boss, Lok, is looking to beef up the team by getting rid of the deadweight and acquiring survivable members of the Revolutionaries. A “two birds/one stone” moment. Deadshot’s the one that’s most frustrated by this and as one of the longest survivors, he’s certainly got reason to be. But Lok is going in hard on this and we see how Deadshot’s simply in a position of having to follow these orders – even after some of their own team are downed, forcing the situation that will blend the two groups. The book, coming in at almost twice the usual length, is designed to clear the decks a bit with some on each side and to show how each side operates. And to push Waller out the door, which is, quite frankly, the best move that could have been made. I like the Wall but the Squad needs some real changes to move forward into 2020.
I’ve always enjoyed the Suicide Squad concept and a lot of the different executions of it over the years. I haven’t followed it closely in a while because, honestly, Harley just doesn’t click for me in it and I had burned out on her. The power of both Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo will power me past that because I know how well he can write her and utilize her in ways that won’t grate on me. This opening issue, which is a $1 more than usual but has a good bit more content, is a fairly standard opener. We get a lot of cast, we get a few quick deaths, and you really don’t take anyone too seriously right away because you don’t know who will make it past the first issue. The investment comes over time and if there are engaging stories with it. I like the new characters that have been brought in so I’m curious and hopeful for real group tension rather than instant cohesion and I’m really hoping for missions that feel meaningful. Combine that with some really strong work from Bruno Redondo and great color design from Adriano Lucas and this book is off to the races in all the right ways here at the start.