New Suicide Squad #17
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Juan E. Ferreyra
I’ve been critical of New Suicide Squad for quite some time now, so I’m extremely happy to see a new creative team taking the helm of this book. Most of the issues I’ve had with this title stem from its previous writer… As in, I simply didn’t think he was a good writer that delivered quality work. Since the book’s relaunch, each plot has followed the same formula, contained poor characterization, and abandoned logical cause and effect. Even the overall tone of the book has been way too light considering who these characters are, and what they do.
So with this issue, for all extensive purposes, we get a fresh start. Tim Seeley (Grayson, Batman and Robin Eternal) is the new writer, and while all of Sean Ryan’s continuity is still in tact, the book feels vastly different. In my opinion, this is what New Suicide Squad #1 should have been. The entire first half of the issue re-establishes what this book is about, and who the key players are.
A new character, Mr. Ashmore, serves as the catalyst for our reintroduction. Ashmore is England’s equivalent to Amanda Waller, and our respective allies are looking to create their own Suicide Squad. I will be forthcoming and tell you that Ashmore is quite a bit more cowardly than Waller, but I suspect that this might be a front. He’s given a tour of Belle Rev, and Waller walks him through how Task Force X works, what it takes to run it, and how they hold the inmates based on their importance to the Squad.
The tour of the facility also allows the opportunity to put a spotlight on our key players. If anything in this issue made me happy, it’s that Seeley took the time to provide some characterization. Each character is allowed the opportunity to show off their personality, and finally, we get a good representation of them! There’s even a number of minor characters that are introduced as well, quickly adding to Waller’s talent pool – an add that was greatly needed.
The story isn’t all exposition though. We’re treated with a good serving of action as the Squad embarks on a mission. Even the mission is a little different than the status quo. Instead of infiltrating, shutting down an operation, or simply taking someone out, the team is actually on a protection detail in China. Yet again, we get another solid showcase of each team member, this time featuring their skill set, which Seeley enhances by fusing in each character’s personality when he can. And yes, in case you’re wondering, Harley is still crazy.
The anticipation of the issue increases as the antagonists are revealed to be the Ghost Dragons. For me, this gave a jolt of anticipation for what’s to come. If you’re not familiar with the Ghost Dragons, they’re the gang that is typically associated with King Snake or Lynx – two characters that were featured quite heavily as antagonist’s of Tim Drake’s Robin in the previous continuity. I can only assume that one of them, or both, will appear in the coming issues. But Waller and team better be prepared, because the Ghost Dragons aren’t the only threat that the Squad is up against. This issue wasn’t perfect, but it’s a damn good start!
The Art: Ferreyra is the new artist, and he delivers some really great work! I’ve been aware of him for a while, but didn’t completely become a fan until Gotham by Midnight. There’s a tone to his art that, like Seeley’s script, seems more fitting for this title. The one concern I had was his action scenes. I feel like his action panels tend to be a little low energy, and while that rings true, it’s better than I expected. He made up for some of these opportunities by creating creative layouts – some of which were quite impressive.
He also does some great work with colors. Every scene in Belle Rev has a cold color tone, while the action scenes played with warm reds and yellows. It’s a minor detail, but made a huge impact on the tone of the panels.
The Good: The characterization. I mentioned this already, but thank God Seeley made an effort to elevate the characterization. I loved the highlights he did of each character as an introduction. Cheetah was a nice addition, and Harley is as crazy as ever. Thankfully, Seeley is working around the “character development” that Ryan tried to implement with Harley doubting herself. Having Harley write letters to herself to re-build her confidence allows for the opportunity for some good laughs.
The mission. The mission was a nice change of pace since the team is actually trying to protect someone. I’m also glad we’ve moved away of Ryan’s formula of mission, a team member screws up, conflict, conclusion. Harley does have a small screw up in this issue, but it doesn’t throw the entire mission, just adds for a nice moment.
The Bad: The only thing that really bothered me about this issue, was the ending. Playing the, “Oh no! The team is dead!” plot is worth an eye roll. The fact that it’s the last page of the issue makes it even worse. I think we all know that the team isn’t dead… and if they are dead, then I’ll amend this comment because we’ll all be shocked.
- You weren’t impressed with Sean Ryan’s New Suicide Squad.
- You prefer a stronger focus on characters in team books.
- A Suicide Squad book that is actually slightly dark and edgy sounds like a good idea.
Overall: Seeley’s New Suicide Squad is a fun, well written, bundle of crazy, that delivers a strong foundation to build upon. If you’ve been avoiding the Suicide Squad brand, I strongly recommend checking out the work from this new team!