Suicide Squad 21
Ales Kot, Patrick Zircher
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
This “unofficial” Batman book is officially no longer a sleeper hit. Two issues into new series writer and artist Ales Kot and Patrick Zircher’s run, they’ve taken what used to be a guilty pleasure read every month and made into pure gold. If you’re not reading this book already, there’s something wrong with you. Or maybe if you are reading this book there’s something wrong with you. Either way, it’s good bloody over-the-top maniacal fun. And adding characters like the Unknown Soldier and James Gordon Jr. (my personal favorite DC Universe loon) into the mix of an already unstable team of crazies is just part of what makes this book so damn fun to read. In a book where everyone is expendable and pretty much nobody is likeable, anything can (and will, most likely) happen.
The idea of Harley Quinn somehow being the conscience of the team is not only an oxymoron, but, well… downright insane. So when she takes over Belle Reve (quite literally) and holds Amanda Waller at knifepoint, we get to see just how broken and chaotic things have truly become in the wake of Joker’s meddling and Ms. Waller’s constant manipulation. Now that Harley knows that Waller won’t let anyone die (or rather, stay dead) who she deems necessary to further her own personal agenda, she’s onto something new and dangerous and relatively unique to her as a character: She’s thinking. Her idea is simple: In exchange for a little more freedom and a little more trust, she’ll get the team to actually work together, rather than just going on suicide missions and hoping for the best individually. After all, when you think about it, this team really could work. Which is terrifying. And probably true. It’s essentially the anti-Justice League. It’s what Justice League of America is trying to be, but is way too moral to actually become. So we get some wacky Harley hijinks and some great posturing between Waller, Harley, and James Jr. Which leads us to the current storyline, because, after all, this whole awesome two-parter, was not only an interlude between writers, but also a flashback. Creative storytelling with great artwork and some dead-on characterization makes this my pick of the week. And that’s saying something, because DC and the rest of the industry had one hell of a release day.
The betrayal from Cheetah in the closing pages should come as no surprise because, well, duh. They’re all villains. And the fight between the Unknown Soldier and Deadshot is nothing short of amazing because, again, they’re both awesome and violent and arguably the best at what they do. But I think the real strength of this issue in particular isn’t the great facial expressions that show true emotion behind those tragically misunderstood psychopaths or even the fantastic knack for making every single character look and talk like a complete badass. No, it’s the pairing of both writer and artist. They really seem to work together to create something special that is very hard to find these days in comic books. The writer is telling the story through the artist. Not the art selling a poorly written book. Not the dialogue being ruined by a lazy artist. But a truly amazing blend of art and words that tells a story that actually means something. This is, hands down, my new favorite book.
My Rating: 5/5