After delivering an impressive debut, Tim Seeley and Juan Ferreyra take another stab at New Suicide Squad, and once again, they don’t disappoint! This creative team is the best to cover the Squad since Ales Kot and Patrick Zircher (although, Steve Orlando and ACO have an outstanding interpretation in Midnighter at the moment as well), and it has me hoping that this team will continue on this title with Rebirth… Because let’s be honest, this book needs a strong team at its helm with the film’s release looming in the near future.
Last month, Seeley did a solid job of “refreshing” this book and its characters. After more than a year of poor storytelling, New Suicide Squad received a jolt of energy thanks to a smartly written script that put a spotlight on the characters more than the mission itself. This approach added some weight to the narrative, and was accompanied by a deliciously dark, yet humorous, tone. Using Ashmore (the British equivalent of Amanda Waller) as a catalyst to set-up the current story, we were taken through a “Task Force X 101.” This allowed the narrative to reconfirm the purpose of the program and reintroduce our key players, so our allies across the pond would be able to setup their own Task Force X program. The back half of the issue featured the Squad’s mission in China. A mission that appeared to have killed the entire team.
In this chapter, we learn what really happened to the team. I’m going to be honest though, I spent nearly the first half of the book trying to figure out what was going on, and how the story progressed from where it closed in the previous issue, to where it started in this issue. Clearly the Squad survived their mission, but how they managed to get to lounging in a grassy field (as featured on the credits page) was a mystery to me… And while this issue provides an explanation, it felt like quite the stretch that ultimately left me with more questions. That being said, the details of what took place were provided by Harley, so who knows if those details are even accurate. She is slightly insane after all.
My confusion did eventually pass as I read further into the issue and more questions were answered, but I do consider it a negative that I spent so much time questioning what was taking place. That doesn’t mean that this issue is bad. Far from it, actually. Despite stumbling at the beginning, when Seeley found his footing, he continued to raise the stakes, introducing twists and some shocking turns page after page. We get to learn more about the people who attacked the Squad in last month’s issue, as well as the humanitarians that were introduced last month as well. Throw in some decent action, a little bit of Harley’s crazy, and some interesting development between Waller and Ashmore. By the end of this issue, you’re going to be a little ticked that you have to wait another month before you can read the next chapter, and if you didn’t already want Seeley and Ferreyra to continue on this book through Rebirth, you will now.
The Art: Ferreyra continues to deliver strong art. There’s a darker tone to his work that is fitting for this title. Whatever he tries to channel, he succeeds: suspense, tension, beauty, humor… He nails every aspect and emotion. I’ve felt that his action scenes lacked “momentum” or “fluidity” in the past, but that doesn’t appear to be a problem here. Overall, there are multiple times that his work feels cinematic, or is just breathtaking.
His use of color is also outstanding! There are so many shades and tones that he has the opportunity to play with, and he takes full advantage of it. In general, there’s often a nice contradiction in the colorization of the characters (Deadshot and Harley in particular) compared to their situation. You have the vibrant reds and yellows embracing the shadowed tone of the narrative. But that’s just the basics concerning Ferreyra’s use of color. He takes advantage of flashbacks by giving them a white hue with subtle shades of color, and accentuates climactic or high energy moments with splashes of red or yellow. It’s a spectacular technique that showcases how talented and underrated he is.
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
The Good: Humanitarian of the year. When last month’s issue opened up with Adam Reed, I wondered what his role would be. Considering he was the heir of a fortune that was trying to do good work, I assumed he was going to be kidnapped or injured, and the Squad was going to step in to assist. I was wrong. Instead, he was the one that worked to liberate the Squad! It was a nice twist to see the mild-mannered man taking such an action… And then he gave us another (HUGE) twist later in the issue. More on that later.
The wannabes. The “super heroes” that stopped the Squad in the last issue were actually criminals acting as heroes for hire. Clearly they’re going to be cannon fodder, but they’re fun and entertaining. Watching Deathtrap go all fan-girl about Deadshot served for a good laugh! I doubt any of these guys will make it, but I’m pulling for one or two of them to keep from biting the bullet so they can potentially be used again in the future.
Loyalty. The big “Oh $#!&!!!!” moment of this issue that I didn’t see coming…
Whoa… Uh… What just happened? Mild mannered Reed just stabbed his woman/ fellow humanitarian! I fully believed he wanted the Squad to help stop the little guys from getting pushed around, and as it turns out, that’s not his cause at all… No, instead, Reed has a completely different cause…
Fist of Cain. Part 2 of, “I didn’t see that coming.” Reed is part of the Fist of Cain. If you’ve read Grayson, then you’re familiar with this group. Since Seeley is writing the Squad now, it makes sense that he would pull the FoC as an antagonist. They appear to be pretty dangerous, and not too much is known about them. I will admit that when the group was first introduced in Grayson, I thought/hoped that it was going to be led by David Cain (I CAN’T be the only person on this boat), and that it would also eventually lead to Cassandra. If you’re reading Batman & Robin Eternal, then you know that that is unfortunately not the case. Anyway, the Squad and “Wanna-Be Squad” have their work cut out for them because they have an army of rabid psychotics coming after them.
Secret Ally. Someone is clearly helping Waller, and I’m curious to find out who… Considering Seeley is helming the book, I feel that the best guess is either Dick, Helena, someone else from Spyral, or Midnighter… We’ll see if I’m right…
How it happened. The only negative I have about this issue, is the bit about how the Squad executed their plan. Basically, Adam Reed did some investigating, managed to get in touch with the lunch lady at Belle Reve, Marlene, and paid her to start sneaking in communications. Apparently, Marlene shared these communications with Harley, so Harley could, in turn, share information with Reed about their missions and build a team that could escape. Harley “recruits” Deadshot and El Diablo, and then Cheetah just happened to be along for the ride. The go on the mission to China, get attacked by “super heroes” and their deaths are faked so they can escape the Squad.
We learn this as Harley tells the story to Cheetah to get her up to speed, so that solves some of my issues because you can’t take Harley at her word, but a lot of it is still a stretch for me. What bothers me, is the convenience of some things. For example, the Harley selecting Deadshot and Diablo to be the escapees… How did she plan this so perfectly? If it were just her and Deadshot, sure. They’re basically on every mission together. But El Diablo hasn’t been seen in over a year… And suddenly he just happens to be involve in the mission that is also convenient for Reed. Beyond that though, you have the “super heroes.” How were these guys found? Were the Ghost Dragons not enough? In the end, there doesn’t seem to be a point in using them. I mean, Reed’s ultimate goal is to find a new leader for the Fist of Cain… so why go through the hassle of finding a nock-off Squad to pose as super heroes to stop the real Squad since the Ghost Dragons weren’t enough of a threat? If the Fist of Cain wants credibility for taking out the Suicide Squad, why not just take them out to begin with? Now, the Fist of Cain have double the number of people to fight off and kill… it just seems like a really stupid plan. Way too much work was put into it to lead to a resolve that only required a fraction of the effort…
I’m sure that if Seeley had been on the book for the past year, he would’ve slowly led up to this, and showed it happening rather than throw it all out in exposition. That probably would have helped me be more at ease with the whole concept. But since that didn’t happen, this is all just too much of a stretch, and feels kind of stupid. Entertaining, but not that bright.
- Seeley and Ferreyra sound like a winning team (because they are).
- You want to see what happened to the Squad after last month’s issue.
- You think that twists and turns make the world go round.
- A badass Squad is what you’ve been waiting for.
Overall: If this issue establishes anything, it’s how good New Suicide Squad can be, and how good it should’ve been for years! Seeley creates a world that is engaging and entertaining, and it’s something that I don’t want to give up any time soon! The Squad put a plan into motion to make it look as though they lost their life so they could gain their freedom, and now they’re having to fight for everything they’ve recently gained… their life!