New Suicide Squad #15 “Freedom”
Written by Sean Ryan
Art by Philippe Briones
Colors by Blond
Hey, check this out! Sean Ryan finally wrote a character that I completely believe! Shocking!
This is the second to last issue for Ryan’s run on Suicide Squad, and as most of you know, my thoughts aren’t very positive concerning his work. I’ve often been on board with his direction – I can’t deny that some of his concepts and themes have been decent – but his execution has been terrible! And at times, “terrible” is an understatement.
I’ve called him out for poor character development, a lack of cause and effect in his narrative, falling back on the same formula for his plots time and time again, and I’ll be damned if half of this issue didn’t do the complete opposite of all of that. Most of this book is a conversation between Waller and Miss Pesta from the Pearl Group – the company that Vic Sage has been working with behind the government’s back – and it’s actually good.
Since the beginning, Sage has wanted to get rid of Waller. After those attempts fell through, he then changed his strategy to abolish Task Force X. To do so, he started partnering with the Pearl Group, and eventually made moves to force Amanda Waller into action as a field operative (don’t ask… It was executed terribly). While on their mission, Waller went dark with the team, and started her own mission to gain proof that Sage was compromised. Sage, suspecting Waller was up to something, detonated all of the Squad’s neck bombs. Little did he know that Waller had disabled them… Kind of… The bombs are now tied to her pulse and will only detonate if Waller dies. It isn’t really explained how that’s possible, but I’m not really sure I want Ryan to explain it.
In this issue, Waller has enlisted the team to join her on a trip to Dallas to infiltrate the Pearl Group to discover exactly what Sage is up to. What probably should’ve been a quiet infiltration turns into a chaotic overtaking as Harley and Boomerang create quite the distraction so Deadshot and Waller can get the answers they need. How do they plan on getting these answers? By going directly to the source, Miss Pesta.
I fully expected Pesta to contact security, yell “intruder,” try and get an upper hand on Waller – something that would essentially equate to the mission “going bad.” But that didn’t happen. Instead, Pesta acknowledged Waller, and was direct, yet calm with her, even as Deadshot aimed a gun at her.
And the conversations that follow only get better! Sean Ryan has touched on really poignant topics in the past, he just never did them well. This time, he gets it right. Outside of these moments though, it’s the same shenanigans we’ve come to expect. Boomerang is overzealous and a cartoon. Harley is crazy, and still debating her place in life. I find both character plots draining, and it just gets worse when Boomerang and Harley have the same conversation for the third or fourth straight issue… Then there’s Parasite, and yet again, I have to wonder why he’s even there.
The Art: I’m beginning to feel like a broken record when discussing the art for this book. There’s never much of a variation issue to issue, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t solid work. As always though, Briones’ faces tend to look a little odd in some panels.
The Good: I already touched on this above, but the conversation between Waller and Pesta is pretty outstanding. Not only is Pesta’s transparency refreshing, but I also loved her reason for being so open: it doesn’t matter. Task Force X is a secret government program that technically doesn’t exist. So what is Waller going to do? Arrest Pesta? She has no grounds, and Pesta has enough power to keep the story or claims from getting swept under the rug. But beyond that, I enjoyed what Pesta had to say about Americans and the US government even more!
Seeing this quality of writing makes me mad Ryan hadn’t delivered this level of work in his first couple of arcs. I most likely wouldn’t have spent the past year of my life screaming for a new creative team had that been the case. And while I believe Sean Ryan is getting better at his craft, I am glad he’s moving on. May he continue to improve is craft on Nova. (AKA: A book that I don’t read, nor do I have any intention of reading.)
The Bad: I’m not going to go into details because it’s the same thing I’ve been saying for months now, and specifics I touched on at the top of the review. Aside from the Waller/ Pesta, the rest of the issue is nothing but mediocre action and bad characterization.
- You want to read some of the best dialogue Sean Ryan has ever written.
- You’ve been waiting for Ryan to successfully execute one of his political conversations.
- Might as well finish his run since it ends in February.
Overall: Providing a great commentary on the current mindset of a majority of Americans, Ryan delivers one of his best moments yet. This book is still far from where it should be though, and the rest of this book is still average at best.