New Suicide Squad # “Freedom”
Written by Sean Ryan
Art by Pilippe Briones
Colors by Blond
Thank God this day has finally come! You all know how I feel about this book, and you know how I feel about Sean Ryan. The guy seems really nice, and quite smart, but it baffles me how he gets work. He’s had solid concepts during his run on New Suicide Squad, but where his concept would score him an 8/10 at times, his execution would result in a 3/10. Ryan’s stories have lacked sensible cause and effect, his characters tend to have no voice, and the dialogue is often terrible… So I’m glad to see him go, but my concern is that the damage has already been done.
With the launch of the New 52, Suicide Squad started strong, then quickly went downhill for a while, had a brief moment of redemption, then got axed. Shortly following that, New Suicide Squad was released, and it’s arguably been consistently worse than the original run. For the past four years, this brand has been associated with a negative perception, and as happy as I am that Tim Seeley is coming on, I almost wish DC would’ve given the book another small break, then relaunched the title at the same time as the film…
Anyway, this issue closes at Ryan’s plot, and it’s just more of the same. I had to take a deep breath when I opened the book and saw this was the first page.
I’ve been very vocal about Bonnie as a character. There’s nothing realistic about the character, and her inability to see that some people are bad makes her irritating. I get what Ryan was going for, but it’s just too extreme. I grew up in a tiny town with no major cities nearby. I’ve known people who were sheltered their entire life, or tried to only see the best in people, and as square as they are/were, they’d even call Bonnie an idiot.
Ryan’s finale focuses on Waller seeking vengeance on Sage, who’s been working to double cross Waller ever since he was brought in on Task Force X. This could’ve been really compelling, but instead of having a mature battle of wit, we’ve been stuck with childish rants and actions. Under the assumption that Waller is tied up in field combat, or potentially dead, Sage sets his final plan in motion, freeing Black Manta to serve as muscle as well as his fall.
Sage soon discovers he’ll have some hurdles ahead of him as Bonnie comes into the picture, Waller and the Squad make a surprise return, and Manta begins to question the plan. There are some nice moments in this issue, but overall it’s still average. So should you pick up this issue? That’s your call to make, but I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I forget this entire run.
The Art: Briones’ art is as good as it’s always been. You’re never going to get anything earth shattering, but it’s solid and tells the story well. Reflecting back on how terrible the art was at the beginning of this books run, I am glad that Ryan finally got someone who would enhance his writing, and at least make New Suicide Squad more bearable. I wouldn’t mind seeing Briones supporting a stronger writer though. I’d be curious to see if a stronger script would push him to elevate his work, or if his quality would remain the same. At the end of the day, Briones should be praised for improving this book in the ways that he did, and for providing solid art on a consistent basis
Breakdowns for this issue are in the spoiler tag.
The Good: This is all I’m good at. There was one scene that I really enjoyed in this issue, and it was the conversation at the very end between Waller and Deadshot. There are moments when Ryan gets it right, and this was one of those occasions. Having Deadshot discuss he and Waller’s shared hate for Belle Rev/ the squad/ each other, yet accepting those realities because it’s essentially all they have and all they’re good at was a great character moment between the two.
The Bad: Most of this run I’d consider bad. In my opinion, Sean Ryan’s run was better than Nocenti’s Catwoman, but worse than Marx’s Birds of Prey, so he’ll probably go down in history with me having that low of an opinion of his craft because I don’t see myself reading anything else he writes… unless I have to. But seriously, I can’t even bring myself to say that his run on this title was even “decent.” Each issue was full of the same mistakes, patterns, and shortcomings.
Bonnie getting shot. This could have been a great moment, and I felt some sadness for her family… but let’s be honest, she had it coming. You can’t be that gullible and naïve when in a situation like this and not expect to get shot.
The March. I rolled my eyes when Waller, Harley, Boomerang, and Deadshot marched in and through Belle Rev as if it were a scene from McGruber… I mean, come on…
Overall: I can’t wait until the debut of New Suicide Squad next month! Wait… What? There’s already been 16 issues of this book? Sorry, that must have been wiped from my memory because it was bad.