New 52 – Suicide Squad #14 review

Suicide Squad is one of those books that I sat aside and waited to read in trade only so as you can imagine I had no idea what was going on in this book outside of the Death of the Family tie-in stuff. So it’s not going to be one of my best reviews because I don’t really understand what all of the characters have been up to lately. Then again, if you’re one of the many folks out there who don’t read Suicide Squad but are curious about picking up this issue because it ties into Death of the Family (and I know there are quite a few out there, my comic shop sold out of this comic 1 hour after opening), this might just be a very helpful review.

My first thought upon opening Suicide Squad #14: Wait, Deadshot’s dead?!

My second thought: Wait, Deadshot shot himself in the chest so he could shoot the guy restraining him? Why didn’t he shoot over his shoulder and blow the guy’s head off? Or shoot himself in a spot that wouldn’t be a mortal wound to himself so that the bullet would pass through, hit the bad guy, and then Deadshot could’ve spun around and finished the job? Or he could’ve reached behind himself and shot the bad guy in the dick? Well, then he’d have to change his name from Deadshot to D…you get the idea. Of course, I’m probably way off base here and if I actually read the issue in which he was killed it might make perfect sense as to why he had to kill himself to defeat his enemy– I won’t know until I read the trade paperback of this arc. I will say though that if I was a Deadshot fan, like a real tried-and-true fan of that character, I would be furious about this comic. I mean, your character is dead and yet there’s not been any buzz about it. At least I haven’t heard anything. And here in this comic we have his funeral and its given almost no attention whatsoever. The death of your character is taking a backseat to the return of the Joker, a story that won’t even fully play out in the comic which your character headlined for 13 issues! Deadshot fans have to feel insulted about all this, right? Then again, I guess all of us comic readers have stopped taking the death of our characters seriously. Why, in this very issue there’s a scene in a secret lab where scientists are creating a treatment to revive dead cells. Seems like pretty obvious foreshadowing that Deadshot won’t be dead for too long.

Well you might not care about all that. We are on a Batman website after all and you want to know if the Death of the Family stuff makes this issue worth a buy. Well…not really. The Batgirl tie-in today was good. Very good. This doesn’t really advance anything. It doesn’t show you anything that was all that necessary. It’s, for the most part, a filler issue for Suicide Squad readers bookended by two rather unnecessary Harley/Joker scenes. You see how Harley met Joker before the backup tale in Batman #13 and you see what happened to Harley after Batman escaped Ace Chemical. Everything in between is just Waller walking around the compound explaining in lengthy exposition why exactly she didn’t blow up the bomb in Harley’s head after she escaped and why she isn’t trying to bring her back to Bel Reve or at least warn Batman or the Gotham PD that she and Joker are on their way. And even after all those excuses, Waller’s new found sit-back-and-do-nothing approach to the situation still doesn’t quite fit her character. She would’ve came up with something.

As for the Joker’s cameo, Glass writes the character rather well but just like the police department scene in Batman #13 Joker comes off a bit too powerful, but that might just be because no attempt is made to explain how he brought down Waller and all of her agents to get to Harley. To spoil it for you, the man makes the rain toxic but only to everyone except for himself and Harley. How does he make the rain poisonous? Your guess is as good as mine. I was wondering if they were going to show a sprinkler system in some overhanging trees or something, but it’s not addressed at all. He made it rain poison. Whatever. But what really didn’t make sense is that it wasn’t lethal. All this hype about “Joker is worse than EVER!!” and yet his attack on Waller and the gang only knocks them unconscious? It all doesn’t flow together, see what I’m saying? The Joker of Snyder’s Death of the Family would’ve slaughtered these people and the Waller of Glass’ Suicide Squad would’ve stopped at nothing to get Harley back under control. There’s a lot of compromising going on to make sure that Glass’ Suicide Squad survives its encounter with the Joker and that Harley Quinn can make a cameo in Snyder’s Batman.

When it comes to the scenes with Joker and Harley, they are quite good. However, that nitpick I had about Snyder extending the Joker’s speech with multiple letters in various words? Glass attempts it here and it doesn’t work as well. Joker’s first like “I’m home!” is spelled out “I’m hommmmeeee” which puts the stress on M and E which should sound like Joker is taking a long time to say “I’m homie”

Artist Dagnino’s Joker is particularly creepy but the emphasis on Harley’s boobage could get distracting at times. The level of abuse you see Joker deliver toward Harley is probably the most extreme we’ve ever seen. It’s flat out uncomfortable to look at here and that’s all the first scene is, one long moment witnessing the world’s worst relationship. It’s sad and quite disturbing. The final scene between Harley and Joker…I’ll simply say that it’s not so much a scene as it is a cliffhanger to make you buy Suicide Squad #15.  

These tie-ins are already starting to make the Joker feel omnipresent sort of like in The Dark Knight (one minute he’s at the harbor threatening the hospital, the next minute he’s inside the hospital dressed as a nurse). In Death of the Family Joker seems to be everywhere. Now it appears that Joker kidnapped Alfred and then came right back to Ace Chemical afterward to mess with Harley’s head again. He’s also visited Bel Reve (or wherever the funeral was), a skating rink, a cult group of some sort, and I’m not sure how much time passes between each event. I’m having trouble piecing together what happens when in this crossover. Perhaps I’m alone in this, perhaps not. Perhaps I’ve just read too many (and written about too many) Batman comics for one day!

This issue has some solid artwork and a very disturbing and somewhat depressing scene between Harley and the Joker but overall it doesn’t add much to the Death of the Family story nor does it move along the plot for Suicide Squad fans. It’s not a bad read for Harley lovers (although many of us still hate her New 52 character design with a passion), but it’s not a necessary read for those just wanting to make sure they don’t miss anything important in the Death of the Family tale. Of course, you may just want to pick this book up anyway because you want to own all of those Capullo die-cut covers. Not having all of them would drive you crazy and you know it.

SCORE: 6/10