New Suicide Squad #2: “Pure Insanity”
Written by Sean Ryan
Art by Tom Derenick
Last month, DC launched the New Suicide Squad, with their updated team, unapologetic self-awareness, and a decent amount of action. My one complaint about the issue, and reservation for the title, was that they didn’t do much with the characters. There was a lot of (needed) exposition to set up this new book, and while I found the first issue really good, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a sign of things to come – all action, no substance. We’ll let me go ahead and relieve you. We get quite a bit of “character” this issue, along with tons of action.
We begin where we left off. The Suicide Squad has invaded Russia, and they’re now being attacked by an army of Russian robots. The first pages re-introduce us to the new team as they’re dodging a barrage of bullets from the robots. I’m going to be honest… I thought these pages were brilliant! I was reading this book around 1:00AM after finishing work, and literally laughed out loud a few times. Each character really shined, with the exception of Joker’s Daughter and Deathstroke, but that doesn’t mean they were bad. (Yes, I’m openly admitting that I didn’t hate JD. In fact, I found her annoyingly enjoyable.) I don’t feel like I can give this book’s opening enough justice though, so check the spoiler tag for a glimpse into how this book starts, and revel in its goodness!
Interestingly, it was Black Manta who took more of a leadership role here. Deathstroke was essentially out of the picture (we’ll get to him later), Harley and JD were both busy expressing their crazy, and Deadshot was mainly focused on saving himself. It was Manta who kept the team in check and devised a plan to move and retreat as a unit. He was also the only one from the team that was actively communicating with Waller and Sage.
Which brings me to these two. Waller and Sage weren’t shown once during the entire issue. They were there in the respect that they communicated to the team through their coms, but that’s it… And I thought it was brilliant. There really is no need to show the two of them sitting in a room, so why waste the panel? I enjoyed the banter between Waller/Sage and the team as they tried to get an idea of the situation, but I wasn’t fond of the two bickering back and forth. It seemed a little out of character for Waller, and in those moments particularly, it just felt cliché and forced.
The real star for me though, was Harley. No matter what was going on around her (gunshots, explosions, Waller in her ear), all she cared about was Joker’s Daughter and how much she hated her! I kept hoping for more verbal jabs, and I got it again and again. It was AWESOME! What made it even better, was how JD responded. She passive aggressively antagonized it! I’m not a fan of Joker’s Daughter. I don’t really understand the need to have her, or DC’s push to use her… but if she gets to be Harley’s punching bag, then I’m ok with her sticking around. There’s definitely one thing I can say about Joker’s Daughter though… she’s psychotic. And not in a Harley type of way that’s a dash of fun, with a dollop of crazy… JD, straight up, has issues. This chick is completely content while stabbing a dead guy in the face with multiple pens! Seriously… she’s creepy. I still wouldn’t consider her dangerous (let’s face it, Cullen Row could probably beat the crap out of her), but she’s definitely psychotic. Hide your kids. Hide your wife.
The team soon encounters issues other than the robots, as one question keeps popping up: Where is Deathstroke? I’m not going to tell you where he is (you’ll have to read the book for that), but I will tell you that one of the things that I commented on last week as being a potentially interesting plot is already starting to take place. It’s happening earlier than I thought it would, but it feels natural and true to the character. Also, in the struggle, one of the team members gets separated from the group. Who is it? How will the team recover? And what exactly is Deathstroke up to?
As for the art, I don’t really have any complaints. The cover did feel a little old fashioned, but everything inside the book was decent. If I had one callout, it would be Derenick’s faces. I feel like the characters have “blank stare” half of the time. It wasn’t terrible, but it distracted me from time to time. I also didn’t like the “swishing” motion of some punches/movements, but that’s honestly just a matter of taste and preference.
- Harley Quinn going nuts about Joker’s Daughter sounds like a good time.
- You like to root for the bad guys.
- A store full of action and comedy is exactly what you’re in need of.
Now for the juicy goodness. Be warned, spoilers exist below.
The Good: I thought that the action and comedy were top rate! Once you factor in that essentially this whole book was nothing but these two things, it equals a strong issue. I’m still excited about the future of this title, so I hope the creative team continues to deliver the same quality.
I loved the bit with Joker’s Daughter mimicking Harley, but mainly because of Harley’s reaction. I actually wanted to punch JD in this moment, but that’s nothing new. I’m also glad that they’re already playing into the loyalty of Deathstroke. Going into this, he was the character that I thought didn’t fit. I just couldn’t see him actively being a member of the Suicide Squad, especially by choice. I expected someone to tempt him with the right price, and I’m curious to see the fallout.
The Bad: There’s honestly not too many bad things that come to mind. I’m still hoping to see more depth between the characters, but it’s still early in the series. I already called out the things that bothered me with the art, so I’ll refrain from bringing that up again. My main callout isn’t even about this issue… It’s that the next issue is the Futures End one-shot, and I think it’s a little too early for this title to take a side step. Considering New Suicide Squad is following so closely on the curtails of Suicide Squad – which I think it’s safe to say “failed” – I feel that DC should’ve let this book run its course for now. That’s just my opinion.
Overall: This issue definitely didn’t let me down. I’ve been crazy busy this week, and this was the first thing I set down to read… It was a wonderfully fun and funny escape. While there wasn’t much character depth, the characters themselves were fully represented despite all of the action. This issue built on the momentum of the previous issue, and is really showcasing the potential this book has. If you’re not reading this book, give these first two issues a shot before you write it off. They might surprise you.