Suicide Squad 23
Ales Kot, Rick Leonardi
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Alas, all good things must inevitably come to an end. Which makes me really sad because this had literally just become my favorite monthly read. The excellent pairing of writer Ales Kot with artist Patrick Zircher was a match made in heaven and the fact that my favorite characters were actually being portrayed in an intelligent and fresh way was just icing on the cake. But this is Kot’s last issue, leaving DC Comics for bigger and hopefully better things. And even though Zircher is supposedly returning as series artist after Kot’s departure, the series will not be the same without the two paired together. It was also quite irritating to see that their last issue “together” wasn’t actually true. This issue had a fill-in artist, who is, quite unfortunately, well past his prime.
The jarring art change (for the worse) aside, this was still a very well-written issue. Part of the strength of this series has been that you can read it as a whole or individual issues and get equal, although different, levels of enjoyment. This issue, building on previous issues’ stories, although only slightly, has the team going up against a foe from team leader Amanda Waller’s past. Narrated by resident sociopath James Gordon Jr., the idea that the Suicide Squad is actually working not only to protect the world from threats far greater than the team itself, but also to further the secret agendas of “the Wall” herself should come as no surprise, but the fact that the “Villain of the Month” of this issue is actually her former Team 7 ally, John Lynch, raises some interesting questions. All of which lead back to the larger predicament at hand: Why is Amanda having the team single-handedly clean up her messes, take out her enemies, and erase her past? And just who is the bad guy when the entire roster is full of villains?
The artwork is unfortunately enough to distract the reader from the great story. I mean, when you think about it, there is an artform to storytelling. And part of that great balance is that the success of a comic book is entirely half-dependent on the artist’s contributions. Which, to be honest, are subpar. I feel cheated, even though Kot gave us his all in this run, because there are still so many lingering questions, which will hopefully be addressed by the next creative team’s writer. The artwork really let me down. It was too cartoony and I couldn’t really tell who was actually dying or what was going on in a lot of the scenes. The dialogue and the pacing was perfect and it was certainly nice to see someone from Amanda’s past come back to haunt her, but I honestly don’t know what happened at the end and I blame it in equal parts on the artist who botched such an important issue and the editorial team for scaring away one of their greatest writers on the payroll.
My Rating: 3/5