New Suicide Squad #6 “Defective” Part 2
Written by Sean Ryan
Art by Rob Hunter, Norm Rapmund, and Vicente Cifuentes

There are two titles that I’ve come to dread each month… New Suicide Squad and Batwoman. Why? Because they consistently get worse. And guess what! We continue that trend with this title.

One of the biggest problems I have with this book, is that it’s a mess visually. The writing is a mess as well, but we’ll get to that later. There have been so many artists on this book within its seven issue run (there are three artists on this issue alone), that it makes the book look and feel erratic. There isn’t a constant vision, and the tone of the art is forever changing. On top of that, the only artist that I feel has delivered quality art, is Jeremy Roberts. I can’t even say that the other artists work has been decent, because half of the other artists tied to this book aren’t even delivering average art. Most of it is horrendous. To me, that’s insane. How can you have so many artists tied to this book, and walk away with praise for only one of them? Let’s look at Roberts’ art from the first issue.

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Good, right? I enjoy that! Now let’s look at some of the art from this issue. I’m putting it in spoiler tags because… well… current issue, so spoilers…

Spoiler

[caption id="attachment_18325" align="aligncenter" width="613"]Alright... this isn't bad. Not great, but not bad... Alright… this isn’t bad. Not great, but not bad…[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_18326" align="aligncenter" width="641"]Bad... pages and pages of this... badness. Bad… pages and pages of this… badness.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_18327" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Hey... this looks good! Whichever of the three artists did this, keep them! Hey… this looks good! Whichever of the three artists did this, keep them![/caption]

When you slip in quality this drastically, it’s going to affect the entire book in a negative way. This book went from looking like it was snapshots of a film, or really good story-boarding, to looking like an episode of the Animaniacs. This is a book about villains and convicts that are trying to shorten their prison sentences by committing acts that the U.S. Government wants taken, but can’t or doesn’t want their name tied to. While this book can be fun, it should also be dark, gritty, morally ambiguous, and potentially vulgar. I don’t find any of those attributes in the current art, and I barely find it in the narrative… and by stating barely, I’m being nice. On a semi positive note, at least the cover looks terrible so that you’re not disappointed when you open the book… Alright… I admit, that’s not a good thing. But think about it. There’s nothing worse than being let down.

Thankfully, I’ve lost all faith in this book. DC “re-launched” this title, put a big marketing push behind it, and it’s failing miserably on the cusp of a feature film adaptation. This issue continues with the squad in China. For those of you that don’t remember, Deadshot is out of commission, and is recovering from being tortured by Deathstroke in Russia (it’s not as interesting as it sounds). The squad is currently in China to complete a mission, and of course everything goes wrong.

Let’s pause for a second. Why does everything have to go wrong for every mission? Scratch that. Why does everything have to go wrong in every issue? Why can’t we just get a mission that’s challenging and dangerous? We already know that with a roster as high profile as this, DC is never going to kill off any of these characters – especially in this book… So don’t try to yank our chain with the whole, “Oh my God! How will they get out of this alive? It’s impossible!” approach. Just give us a good story, with strong characters, and decent action. Please.

Ok, hit play… As I was saying, the squad is in China, and everything goes wrong when Harley hits a button and releases tons of cloned meta-humans that aren’t fully developed yet (Oh God… Clones… It’s the beginning stages of the nightmare that was New Suicide Squad: Futures End.). The team now has to fend off these clones that look more like squishy, alien/demon creatures, while trying to blow up the building. Over half of the issue is the squad battling these things while they try to set bombs to blow up the building and complete their mission, with nearly every panel of it looking and reading as if it’s a big joke. Of course, something happens to one of the team members that jeopardizes the mission (“Oh my God! How will they get out of this alive? It’s impossible!”), but the drama or shock value is gone. There isn’t anything exciting or gripping about the mission. I don’t care about what’s going on, and that’s bad.

The rest of the issue is filled with Amanda Waller and Vic Sage being annoying. These two whine a lot! I work at the corporate office of a major retail fashion brand. There are some whiny people in my office. These two give the people I work with a run for their money, and they’re supposed to be government officials. They’re government officials that are pulling off illegal, morally questionable actions, and they do nothing but whine like little kids. Sage whines about Waller to a U.S. Senator. He wants to be transferred. He can’t work with her… Waller whines about missions being a mess. Nothing goes according to plan. She needs comfort food. She wants a pulled pork sandwich. (Holy $#!&! They’re hinting at making Waller fat again! That’s awesome!) It’s all too much… And, AND, it’s written poorly. *Sigh*

The book really should take it’s own advice. There’s a line where Waller says, “These missions need to start executing at a much higher level,” and I thought, “You’re telling me!” Then there’s the bit between Vic Sage and the Senator, with Sage begging to be transferred. The Senator responds, “We can’t do that… We just put you in charge of Task Force X, Sage. If we move you now, it’ll look like we don’t know what we’re doing.” When I read that, I literally thought, “Oh wow. I wonder if DC editors had this same conversation about this creative team/ title?” It’s bad that I’m having this internal conversation while reading. BAD!

This book has dropped off into “NOcenti zone” for me. It’s probably not going to impress me until it receives a new creative team, and I probably won’t have anything nice to say about it for a while. I feel like the current creative team completely has the wrong tone, direction, and understanding of this book. I would love to see someone like Jeff Lemire get his hands on this title. That would be awesome! I’m reading his run of Green Arrow at the moment (thanks to the recommendations of you lovely people), and it’s amazing! This book needs that kind of intelligence, grit, and darkness.

If I were writing New Suicide Squad, I would deliver a smart book, that is edgy, with a lot of character depth. I would tie it into current affairs, question your moral beliefs, and make the Government look like more of a bad guy than the villains – mainly because what they are asking the squad to do is some really evil stuff. But while doing that, I would make the U.S. Government look completely justified in their actions (most of the time). And I would base my stories and arcs off of three words: manipulation, covert, and terrorism.

Manipulation: Every character would be manipulated into their situation. You do the mission, or you die. It’s as simple as that. And this goes for both sides: those on the Squad, and those running the squad. When you push someone to their limits, really interesting things happen.

Covert: The missions would be and remain covert. Things can be difficult and can go wrong with the mission, but let’s be for real; if buildings are blowing up, and there’s a public view of the squad causing the attack, it’s going to make world news. My Suicide Squad would get in, and get out, leaving nothing but a lot of questions for the “outside world.” And that’s not to say that there wouldn’t be difficulties, or that things wouldn’t go wrong. They would, but for this task force to work the way the U.S. Government wants to use it, they would need to operate in complete secrecy. There’s something immensely eerie and engaging about secrets, especially when they’re this destructive.

Terrorism: The acts that the Suicide Squad carries out is terrorism. Plain and simple. When you come to terms with that, it should change the tone of this book greatly, and it’s terrifying.

I don’t think these are earth shattering ideas. I think it’s a common understanding of what this book should naturally encompass. Granted, that is just my opinion. The current iteration of this book, is anything but these traits. It really is a shame because New Suicide Squad has the most dynamic cast that it’s ever had, and it’s wasting it’s potential.

 

Overall: I can’t support this book. I promise, I’m not in a bad mood, I’m just frustrated. I was a fan at the beginning of the re-launch, and was excited about where this book could go… but that excitement diminished quickly after two or three issues. At the beginning of the issue, it cites “DC Comics proudly presents New Suicide Squad.” If I were DC, I wouldn’t be proud of this (look below… Harley and Reverse Flash agree). I would want to scrap the current story, and bring in a really strong team to take over this book since it’s about to get maximum exposure due to the film. I would be terrified if I knew that tons of people might check out this book based on the building hype of this brand.

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Recommended if:

  • You enjoy seeing Black Manta in a position of leadership.
  • You want to see Reverse Flash play an important role with the team… wait, never mind. Scratch that.
  • You like Looney Tunes or watching adults cry.

 

SCORE: 3/10