It’s the second issue of Suicide Squad’s Most Wanted: Deadshot & Katana, and if you checked out my review for the first issue, then you know I was pretty let down. I came into this month hoping things would improve – mainly for Katana since it was so bad – and I kind of got my wish. Overall, there’s an improvement for this title… unfortunately, it’s not with Katana. Katana is as bad as it was last month. Deadshot on the other hand, improved quite nicely from being favorable to damn good!
I’m not going to lie, I’m glad this is a mini… otherwise I’m not sure I’d be able to get through Katana. I railed Katana for a number of reasons last month, and many of those negative aspects are riddled throughout this issue as well.
Katana has traveled to Markovia to receive the assistance of a scientist that is stationed there. The region is being occupied by King Cobra, but there’s no reason given as to why he’s occupying the country – a point that Barr even calls attention to, which only makes it glaringly obvious that it’s happening for the convenience of the “story.” Why the quotes? Because in my opinion this barely qualifies as a story.
Katana ends up encountering some of Cobra’s men, and takes care of them, which wins her over with the locals… How convenient! They want her to help them regain their country from Cobra, because… you know… what else would happen? She agrees to do so (of course), and rallies the citizens to take a stand against their occupiers. This unfortunately leads to the capture of Dr. Jace – the very person Katana came to meet with… How convenient! Unfortunately I can’t help but wonder what’s going on because nothing is 100% clear: Katana’s full reasoning for going to Markovia, Cobra’s occupation, or why Cobra kidnaps Dr. Jace… and if you’re expecting answers or clarity in this issue, you’re out of luck.
Instead this issue jumps right into the middle of another random fray that is taking place sometime after the previous issue… and again, it’s not clear what’s going on. Bad guys just happen to be doing bad guy things… and Katana just happens to be there… How convenient! She fights them off, and challenges Naja to a fight, at which point Naja declines because she only fights under her terms… I’m not joking.
An annoying little girl that continues to pop up randomly to progress the “plot,” does so at this point to state, “Well go after her already,” which, of course, Katana agrees to… I seriously can’t make this up… the writing is that bad. Next thing you know, we’re at a police station where a cop is threatening another cop so he can escape the city (why threaten the other cop?), and Katana just happens to show up right as it’s happening… How convenient! Are you starting to notice a trend?
Katana “rescues” an American girl from the prison (because that makes total sense), and then sets out with her to find Cobra and determine why they took Dr. Jace. We later find out that this girl is a junkie, and she starts going through withdrawals while the two are on a stakeout… I seriously have no idea what’s going on, or why the “American Junkie” was introduced to begin with… But guess what? The annoying, “plot progression” child appears again having stowed away with Katana, and more randomness ensues…
Terrible characterization continues from the last issue into this one, as Katana appears to be a shell or imposter of who she’s become over the past few years (Kind of like some other female, DC super hero that wears purple…). The script is terrible. Barr tries to make Katana stoic and fails miserably. On top of that, his antagonists are written so poorly that it’s hard for me to even call them an antagonists. They should just be considered bad guys, because that’s the amount of depth that’s put into them.
And the art isn’t much better. It appears to be cartoony and slapstick, which unfortunately works in tandem with the poor script to make a really sad final product. The strange thing is that there are moments where they try to make Katana a fierce warrior, but it just doesn’t work because nothing else before or after it matched up.
I’m not doing breakdowns. I don’t see the point. Don’t waste your time with Katana. It’s not worth it. I’d say don’t waste your money, but Deadshot is shaping up to be decent, and this is a package deal. Maybe you can hold out for the trades, and hope that they separate into two separate books. I’m not going to provide any breakdowns because it’s all bad. Hell, I’d even tell you to read Ann Nocenti’s Katana before telling you to read this…
- You have money and time to kill.
- You’ll read anything with Katana, whether it’s good or bad.
Overall: If you’re a fan of Katana, or curious to learn more about her due to the characters upcoming role in the new Suicide Squad movie, or perhaps even the television show Arrow, please avoid this book! It’ll leave a bad taste in your mouth. Instead, check out the first volume of Birds of Prey or Geoff John’s Justice League of America. I also recommend picking up Outsiders (pre New 52).
Over in Deadshot, however, things picked up quite a bit! Last month, Lawton received information that resulted in him requesting to take time away from Bell Reve and the Squad. I originally thought this had something to do with Deadshot’s daughter, but as it turns out, it has to do with his father. I thought his father was dead, so I was really interested to see where this would lead.
Unfortunately, Waller denies Deadshot’s request, and sends him directly into a mission with a new Squad member – someone I’ve endearingly named “Rookie.” Buccellato made a point to compare all of the similarities between Deadshot and “Rookie” – who is basically a lift of Deadshot’s skillset that is then dumped on another person. I was immediately concerned that the arc would then shift to focus on the two men trying to one-up one another as we learned what separates them as individuals… Which we do, but for only one issue.
As it turns out, Deadshot abandons his mission, and takes off to confront his dying father – a move the brilliantly shifts this title from average to really good. Buccellato doesn’t waste any time getting to why Lawton is so motivated to kill his father either. As a mentioned earlier, continuity would have you believe that Lawton’s family was killed. Turns out, that’s not the case at all. His mother and father are still alive, and with that reveal, Buccellato begins to rewrite Deadshot’s origin. Some of it is comprised of the standard affair that you would assume results in a person turning out the way Lawton has… but some of it is pretty damn dark.
Buccellato doesn’t stop there though. When he brings the focus back to present day he delves even deeper into some really dark stuff. I like dark, gritty characters – especially when they’re morally ambiguous like Deadshot – but holy crap I wasn’t prepared for what happens! Some people are going to be turned off because the content is so disturbing, but I honestly didn’t mind it. Yes, it pushes boundaries, but I also have an understanding that there are real people out there that would do this type of thing… just be prepared… This isn’t a book that the kids should read.
One of the reasons I love getting minis from characters in team books, is because it allows us to dive a little deeper into a character’s psyche and who they are. I honestly thought we weren’t going to get the pleasure of experiencing this after the debut issue, but I fully take that back. I know more about Deadshot than I wanted to know… but in weird, messed up ways, I like him even more. The poor guy is flawed, and he’s definitely had events that have really been screwing with him for decades… Read it, but be prepared to have a drink afterwards.
The Art: As I stated last month, there are times when the art is phenomenal! There were certain panels and pages that I was completely captivated by, and then there were some that just came across awkward. Most of what I disliked had to do with faces and facial expressions/ reactions. While I shouldn’t let it bother me that much, it does. So much of an unspoken story is often told through facial expressions, and what I get here are faces I could care to go without seeing. But my dislike fades after seeing this epic teaser of Waller ordering the Squad to go after Deadshot!
Breakdowns can be found in the spoiler tag.
The Good: Whoa… so Deadshot’s parents aren’t dead after all. Everything we thought we know about Lawton’s upbringing was completely fabricated.
That doesn’t mean that his story is that of a happy one though… In fact, I’d say it’s much, much worse. His father was a total drunken, abusive asshole, but honestly, I kind of expected that. It’s typically the standard fair when discussing parents of bad guys… but Buccellato takes it WAY farther than that. A young Floyd had finally had enough abuse at the hands of his father, and decided to take matters in his own hands. So one night, he gets his father’s gun, waits for the right moment, then takes the shot… but things don’t go as planned…
Holy $#!%! Do you know how much this would mess with the emotional stability of someone? This would scar you for life. FOR LIFE! It’s tragic, and I can’t help but feel for Deadshot. His brother, the one person who protected him and stood by his side, was just murdered by his own hand. That’s heavy… and yet, it gets worse. Deadshot isn’t completely to blame for taking this action.
Yep… that’s right. It was Floyd’s mother that pressed her son into taking action to kill his father for being abusive. She directed him to the gun, and pressured him into taking action… It’s pretty damn sick and psychotic, and yet again, I can’t help but feel for him… and yet again, it gets worse… His mother spent the years following, blaming Floyd for his brother’s death as well as the continued abuse. And that is why he’s risked everything to come back. He’s finally stooped low enough that he’s able to do something he’s never been able to do before. He may have missed his opportunity with his father, but for his mother…
This issue is heavy, and for many might be really hard to read. Buccellato didn’t hold back with the narrative, so depending on where you stand, you’ll think this is really good, or a complete disgrace. He manages to throw another punch in when he reveals that Deadshot’s parents knew about his daughter, and that alone raises a number of other
The Bad: Let’s call a spade a spade: this issue is INTENSE! If I had kids, I wouldn’t let them read this. That being said, if there’s a character that you can take to dark places such as this, yet still manage to get away with people seeing some humanity in him, it’s Deadshot. I’m not saying the intensity of this issue is bad, but it’s not for everyone. I enjoyed the narrative, but it will probably make some people angry.
Deadshot’s reaction to his father passing. Talk about melodramatic! I get that he’s wanted to kill his father for decades, but falling to his knees and screaming, then trashing the medical equipment seems out of character and a little over the top. It didn’t feel natural, and I didn’t believe it.
- You want an intense, gritty story.
- Deadshot’s upbringing intrigues you.
- You have daddy or mommy issues.
Overall: This was probably the hardest review I’ve ever had to write. From a narrative aspect, I love what takes place! This issue will be something that I forever associate Deadshot with, and for a character or story, that’s exciting. It’s also a huge testament to Buccellato, and it was brave of him to go there. That being said, I completely do not condone what takes place within the issue as being “cool” or “good.” I keep saying this, but I want to get my point across… This book is DARK! If you can handle dark narratives, you’ll be good. If you’re not a fan of overtly serious subjects, then I’d recommend you pass. As for the quality, I give this issue a gold star.
COMBINED SCORE 5.5/10