As I’ve stated on numerous occasions now, I’m 50/50 with this title. Deadshot has been quite satisfying, while Katana hasn’t really cut it… Get it? Katana. Cut it… Anyway, last month’s issue showcased a surprising step up in quality for the latter title, and because of that, I didn’t encounter as much dread going into this book. Maybe I was on a high from reading Justice League and Rebirth, or maybe I believed that Katana would maintain that level, or improve a little more…  Whatever the reason, I didn’t find myself looking for laundry to fold or dishes to clean so that I could put off reading this book… So did my optimistic outlook work in my favor? Eh… I kind of wish I had some laundry to fold.

 

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The opening story this month is Deadshot, which I’m more than happy to read! Buccellato has been hitting all of the right notes for me, and that’s made this an extremely satisfying run so far! The story is dark, personal, action packed, and smartly written… I honestly can’t ask for a better product.

If you haven’t been following the story, it focuses on family and identity. For years, Deadshot used a false backstory about his family being murdered. What he didn’t expect, was that the story he had been using, was the real-life story of Will, a new recruit in Waller’s arsenal. In almost every way, Will is a complete copy of Deadshot as far as skillset is concerned: former sniper, turned bounty hunter, now working off a deal with the Suicide Squad.

When Deadshot bails on a mission to go kill his dying father – yes, you read that correctly – he then becomes the target of Waller and the Squad. It’s not long before he’s caught, severely wounded, and placed back into confinement at Belle Reve… But to add insult to injury, Waller makes Will the “new” Deadshot. Unfortunately, he has his own agenda, goes rogue as well, and flees the Squad. As if she didn’t already have enough problems, Waller returns to Belle Reve to discover that Lawton has escaped. Someday, they’re going to change protocols and procedures to try and prevent incidents like this… until then, we’ll continue to receive stories like this.

This issue quickly fills in some gaps by showing how Lawton bided his time to slowly plan and execute his escape. There was a point where I thought, “How is he able to get around so well considering he was just riddled with bullets two issues ago?” But… to play devil’s advocate to Buccellato, there’s no actual indication of how much time has or hasn’t passed, so I’ll let it slide. His actual escape is entertaining enough, and in some ways, relies on convenient storytelling. Ultimately, it’s laid out well enough that it works, and will satisfy most readers.

Now that he’s a “free man,” Lawton has two things he needs to take care of: his family and Will. In a nice change of pace, Buccellato slows the story down to focus on characterization and relationships. We don’t get to see the soft side of Deadshot very often, but when we do, it’s a real treat, especially in this context. There’s not a lot of action in this issue though, nor is there much plot progression, so if you don’t like “quieter moments” then you may not enjoy this chapter. I, on the other hand, love when writers take time to add these shades and textures to their characters, so I think it’s fantastic. But just as Lawton has his own mission, so does Will, and nobody is safe…

The Art: I’m growing fonder of Bogdanvic’s art as each month passes. His layouts have a cinematic flare to them that helps add a little drama to his work. There’s also an intensity and darkness to his work that meshes perfectly with Buccellato’s narrative.

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Breakdowns can be found in the spoiler tag.

 

Spoiler

The Good:

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Father/ Daughter time. This is easily the best part about this issue! I love seeing how much Floyd changes when he’s around his daughter, and it says a lot about him as an individual. Sometimes it’s easy to forget his emotional capacity when the strongest association to a character is the fact that he shoots people on a daily basis. I mean, come on, how could you not like Lawton after he talks to his daughter about starting a new life wherever she wants?

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Building a foundation. Continuing with the theme of how far Lawton will go for his daughter, Buccellato sets up a nice scene where Deadshot approaches criminals to steal diamonds from them. Clearly, he has no money, and that’s not going to get him anywhere in the real world. But it’s not the fact that he’s stealing to build financial stability that I find interesting… It’s that he doesn’t want to kill these people. He understands that he’s going to have to change his lifestyle for his daughter, and this is a step. The “old” Floyd would’ve just shot them without giving them a chance… Granted, he does end up killing all of them, so maybe he needs a little more practice.

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Will. I continue to find Will interesting, even though I want to write him off since he’s a copycat. The guy is dangerous though, and it’ll be interesting to see how things play out when he and Lawton do finally go toe-to-toe.

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Taken. Yeah… If you want to piss Deadshot off, just kidnap his daughter. The only thing missing from this was a phone call, so Deadshot could go all Liam Neeson on Will’s ass. “I will find you, and I will kill you.”

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The Bad:

The escape. I’m glad Buccellato went into some detail on how Deadshot escaped, but I still don’t completely buy it. Someone, somewhere would’ve stopped him… And if it’s that easy to escape Belle Reve, they might want to do an inmate check. Also, I know I said that I would forgive Buccellato for how fast Lawton healed, but it really does bother… He can’t stay benched in his own book though…

 

Recommended if:

  • You’re curious to see how Deadshot escaped Belle Reve.
  • You want to know what the “new” Deadshot is up to now that he’s also escaped Waller.
  • You like when Deadshot has quality time with his family.

 

Deadshot Overall: This book is turning out to be one of the nicer surprises to come from DC recently! I say this each month, but it’s a shame that it’s tied to a book as poor as Katana. I feel like this title would be receiving more attention if it were being released on its own.

SCORE: 7.5/10

 

 

 

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Oh look… It’s Katana. Look, for the sake of everyone – as well as my own sanity – I’m going to keep this brief. Last month, we saw a bump in quality for this title. It was nice. It gave me a little hope. It didn’t continue that trend. The book quickly fell back to being complete crap. Honestly, the most frustrating thing about this, is that I expect more from Barr. I keep reading issues of Katana thinking that DC played a cruel joke on us, and that Barr didn’t really write this, but that it’s really Anne Nocenti… That’s the quality we’re getting… Actually, I’d venture to say that Nocenti’s Katana was actually better than this…

Thank God there’s only one more issue after this. If I had to go through another year of reviewing this, I would rather be this guy:

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Katana is just nonsense, on top of bad writing, with even more nonsense thrown in… In theory, Katana, teaming up with the Suicide Squad to take on Kobra to stop them from occupying a nation should be interesting… but it’s not. In fact, it sucks…

Let’s just get to the breakdowns… My head hurts…

Spoiler

The Bad: Crazy Uncle Floyd is destroying escape vehicles… again. Seriously though… what’s up with Deadshot continuously destroying the Squad’s transportation. First they crossed a lake or channel to reach Kobra’s island, and he destroyed their boat… Now he’s blowing up the transport the team used to reach Kobra’s ship… It’s stupid! And yeah, Boomerang questions it, but that doesn’t make it ok.

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More illogical plot points. Uh… yeah… Let us bad guys go to our escape pods. We really are going to turn ourselves in to the authorities. (Giggle, giggle.) No, really, we are! (Giggle, giggle) Honestly, you can trust us. We’re bad guys. (Giggle, giggle) Oh no, she threatened to know if we don’t turn ourselves in! We’re going to be in big trouble if we don’t! (Giggle, giggle)… Seriously? What a joke. If I could hashtag things in my reviews, I’d slap a #Stupid on this!

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Bad dialogue. Oh yeah… I’m going to give you examples of bad dialogue. Don’t you worry. Here’s one of Katana trying to be stoic:

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What? That one not good enough? Well you can look at anything Kobra says, but this is one of my personal favorites:

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The junky chick. You know what happens when you’re a junky? Bad $#!&. Unfortunately, the junky chick in this story turns into Laffy Taffy Lady. I’d really like to say that this is just her perception of herself due to the drugs, but it’s not… She now has powers thanks to Kobra’s experiments… Have I mentioned that I can’t take this book seriously?

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Of course. Naturally, since there’s some failed experiment, super-powered drug abuser onboard the ship, Katana and the Suicide Squad are going to team up with Kobra and his men… Shoot me. Please, I’d much rather this just ended…

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Recommended if:

  • If you ever wanted to do shrooms, just read this book… it’s close enough.

 

Katana Overall: Just don’t. And someone give a scathing look to whoever at DC gave this story the green light… (scathing look).

SCORE: 3.5/ 10

 

COMBINED SCORE:  5.5 /10