New Suicide Squad #1 “Pure Insanity”
Written by Sean Ryan
Art by Jeremy Roberts
The New Suicide Squad is here, and it’s an all-new team! Wait, there’s some old team members…
The New Suicide Squad is here and it’s a semi-new team!!! Woo hoo!!! Two of our favorite misfits are back: Harley Quinn and Deadshot, as well as another “returning” member, Black Manta. I say “returning” because Black Manta’s only involvement with the Suicide Squad prior to this was him simply stating that he was interested in joining. But hey, I’ll take it.
We also have two new members on the team: Joker’s Daughter and Deathstroke! Yes, that’s right, we have two crazy clowns, and two assassins with a name that relates in some way to death. When this title was first announced, I remember thinking, “Nice job with the diversity DC. This doesn’t scream desperate at all.” Well, it turns out that the joke was on me, because the book is actually good instead of desperate (ok… there might be a little desperation). The book even speaks to the characters’ similarities in this issue. So why put two crazy clowns and two mercenaries on the same team? For a little “friendly competition.” I’m not quite sure what that means, but I’m intrigued. I mean, there was a little altercation between the group early on – when Harley went after Joker’s Daughter, I laughed out loud – but I feel like there’s more to that comment than just prideful tiffs. I think this comment will hold a much heavier weight as the book continues, but I’ll discuss that more in the Overall section below.
I’m not too certain how I feel about Joker’s Daughter joining the team. I wouldn’t consider her particularly dangerous, and I’m not sure what she’ll be able to bring to the table in terms of skill. I’m sure some of this stigma stems from my dislike of pretty much everything I’ve seen her in up to this point, but DC really seems to be pushing her, so I’m going to give her a fair chance. I feel like the character can only go up, so we’ll see. But enough about the roster, let’s get to the story.
One of the questions I had coming into this book was who was going to oversee Task Force X now that the government has taken this little, secret project of Waller’s, and turned it into a big, secret project. We know from Suicide Squad’s final issue that Amanda Waller would play a part in the New Suicide Squad, but she wouldn’t run things. We get to meet Mr. Sage, the new guy in charge of Task Force X, in Washington DC, as he speaks with the Senator who took Task Force X away from Waller in the last issue of Suicide Squad. According to Sage, Task Force X is a brilliant idea, and a great way for the U.S. to do the things they’d like to do, without having to take responsibility for it. The only problem was the actual team: they weren’t cool enough. No really, he describes the previous team as “meh,” and mentions he likes Manta because he’s “cool.” The approach to the team is almost like a marketing strategy… and I kind of like that. They know that the team will be in the public eye, so they want the craziest of the crazies, and the baddest of the baddies!
It’s clear that Waller and Sage are going to clash. Their approach and work ethic are completely different, and you can see that right away in how they respond to the secret “Post Office Prison” that they’re based out of. Even as the two prepare for their first mission, they start to respectfully disagree with each other. Waller has the experience with these situations, but Sage was clearly picked for a reason, and is completely confident in what he’s doing. But whose approach is the correct one, and will you agree with the choice to remove Waller from command for Sage? We’ll only find out as the mission unfolds.
Which leads me to just that, the team’s first mission… in Russia. Go big, or go home kids, because this book starts with a bang. What is the team doing in Russia? Who is leading the team? What are their motivations for joining the team? And what, if any, hiccup will arise considering the previous teams track record for running into trouble? If you read Suicide Squad, then you know Harley and Deadshot’s motivation, but the others aren’t exactly in the same boat. It’s definitely an interesting set-up to what could be a fun and exciting book. Also, how could you not want to read a book that has this panel in it:
I’m sorry, but that’s a $%#@&*! epic panel, and reason enough to go buy this book!
- Government conspiracies or cover-ups intrigue you.
- Following five villains sounds like a hell of a good time.
- You want a good action story.
- You’ve secretly wondered what would happen if a team of degenerates were sent into Russia to create total chaos.
- You wondered how Harley would react to Joker’s Daughter if they met.
For more details, opinions, and spoilers, see below!
The Art: I was really pleased with the art. Considering the mess I’ve been witnessing from Birds of Prey and Catwoman recently, this book had great art! And it’s not just good in comparison, it’s good in general. Roberts’ art is consistent, and you can actually see characteristics in each of the character’s physicality. It’s a very subtle thing, but can add so much to storytelling. His art also contains quite a bit of depth, while also containing the perfect blend of color and grittiness. And if you are responsible for one of my favorite panels of the year, then you definitely win a place in my heart!
The Good: I feel like there’s a lot of good in this book. There was a solid balance between exposition and action that created enough of a foundation, and the plot still moved along nicely. I also like how self aware the book was with itself. Whenever there was any talk about what the team should be, and what public perception was or would be, it was clear they were channeling what did and didn’t work with Suicide Squad. And let’s face it, this new team is much more dynamic and able to stand on their own as individual characters than before. Two members of the new team have/ will soon have their own books (Harley Quinn and Deathstroke). Again, the only character I question being able to stand on their own, is Joker’s Daughter.
I also love that Deathstroke and Joker’s Daughter aren’t prisoners in this. They’re not held in line by a bomb in their neck, or to shorten their sentence. They just each have their reason for being here, and I want to see what unfolds when some of these loyalties start to falter. I can definitely see a large internal conflict occurring in the future. And speaking of the future… Considering the New Suicide Squad will be dishing out unofficial, yet official, U.S. missions internationally, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an eventual tie-in to Grayson. Especially with Deathstroke leading the team.
The Bad: While I thoroughly enjoyed this debut, there were definitely still some faults. I will admit that I did start off disliking the Sage/ Waller relationship, because I thought it was clichéd, and that the book was going to lead into this whole “You’re an idiot but I can’t do anything about it because you’re my boss” type of situation. But then Sage was proven right on nearly every outlook he had… until the very end. So essentially, I was right, but I’m ok with that because the writing made me start to believe otherwise for a bit.
The “self-awareness” could also be awkward and misunderstood by some readers. I personally think it’s a brilliant way to say, “Listen, we know our previous attempt was pretty much crap most of the time, and we own up to that. That’s why we’re giving you this!” I’m just not sure others will see it that way. There were also times that I felt the book was a little predictable, but I can forgive that.
Overall: This is a fun, action packed book that debuted to give us a fresh start, and readers deserve to do the same for this book. If you have reservations because of the previous Suicide Squad then let them go.