In this issue of Suicide Squad, everyone goes crazy! Well, crazier than normal anyway. That naturally makes the issue itself crazy as well. Er… Also more crazy than usual. It’s crazy squared, or something like that. Look, I’m starting to hear a lot of little voices, so just know that there’s a whole lot of crazy people doing crazy things, because they’re going crazier than normal! Got it?

 

“Going Sane – Part Two: Teenage Lobotomy”

The previous issue left off with a shocking cliffhanger when Flag pulled out his gun and fired a kill shot at Waller from nearly point blank range. I think we all knew Waller would survive, so the shock value wasn’t in the mystery of what would happen, but merely the fact that Flag would even take the shot. And then I saw this panel.

Spoiler

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If you read my review from last week, then you know that I made a prediction of how this would unfold… Well, clearly I was wrong. I literally took a moment to stop reading at this point because all I kept thinking was “holy $#!&! They really did it!” And with no one in my immediate vicinity to share my shock and awe with, I had to just keep reading. So imagine my confusion when I saw this:

Spoiler

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What in the hell is going on!?!? I felt like my mind was slipping for a second. But even in my confusion, I also thought, “Katana is a badass!” My Japanese home slice steps in and stops the bullet with the Soultaker. How? Because she’s mother f’ing Katana, and that’s what she does! So I did predict the outcome of all of this! Regardless of my predictions, it was at this moment that I realized what I was in for with this issue.

If you’ve read the solicitation, then you already know how this plot unfolds. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. While there’s not any great unveiling moments that hide behind the turn of a page, I found myself completely involved with the story.

Probably more so than any other book, Suicide Squad reads like a television series. Each issue carries nicely into the next, and while the main plot serves as the hook, it’s the characters, their stories, and the consequences of their actions that progress the narrative. I don’t come into each issue just wondering what plot twist is going to be thrown my way, but I also come into each issue of this book wondering what character developments or interactions I’m going to witness.

Williams has done a stellar job of balancing all of these characters, giving each of them moments to shine, and that rings true here. With the Black Vault effecting the entire facility, everyone is showcased in one way or another, and they’re all losing their mind. From Waller, to the guards, to the inmates, every single person (and possibly non-person) has gone mental… except for one little inmate. One guess as to which one it is!

Much like the previous issue, this chapter spends quite a bit of time setting up plot threads for the next few issues, but like before, it doesn’t feel like exposition. Williams created a conflict, and by snapshotting each character’s reaction to the problem, he’s subsequently set-up new problems and conflicts. I can only imagine where Williams will take Suicide Squad from here, but it’s going to continue to be a fun, wild ride!

 

The Art: Jim Lee’s art remains consistently great, as if we would expect anything less. What really works for this issue though, is Lee’s execution in capturing the subtlety of each moment, to help deliver a sense of intensity, humor, rage, or desperation when needed – all moments written just as beautifully by Williams. I’ve said it before, but Lee is an icon for a reason.

Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.

Spoiler

The Good:

The Wall. If you ever thought Amanda Waller was just a force to be reckoned with mentally or politically, this issue gives a hint in her physical presence as well.

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Nom, nom, nom. Killer Croc’s chomp out of June plays so well strictly because of the conversation the two had in the previous issue. That being said, there’s clearly going to be some bad consequences for Croc when Enchantress comes forward, and who knows where else her presence will take the rest of the story.

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Yellow sun. If you didn’t think that the Black Vault’s mystical properties making everyone go crazy was bad enough, then don’t worry… The red sun has been shut off in Zod’s chamber, and it’s been replaced with a yellow sun.

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Dr. Quinzell. Of course Harley goes sane when everyone else goes crazy! Would you expect anything else? I’m just as curious to see if Enchantress will be effected as well, or if she will remain her normal, witchy self… If we’ll even be able to tell a difference.

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The Bad: What? Bad? Here? There’s not much that I can see except for an odd cafeteria scene.

 

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“Crocodile Tears”

The short story backing up this issue features Killer Croc. I’m a huge fan of Killer Croc, especially when he’s represented well. So far, his portrayal has been taken back to him just being a monster, so I was a little let down by that, but… This short changes that to a degree. Since Waller is profiling the inmates and evaluating them, we get the chance to dig a little deeper into his character and learn more about him. I should’ve known that not everything is as it seems. The Killer Croc that I want and desire to read might actually be in there, and this short story is the first sign of that. To put it lightly, we’ve all been getting played.

As happy as I was to see these developments with Croc, I must admit that this is probably my least favorite character spotlight. When it was all said and done, I just felt that this short didn’t hit home like some of the other shorts have. Yes, we get to see a bit of Croc’s humanity, and yes we get a glimpse of a tragic moment during his childhood that quite possibly shaped his current mentality, but it was “good” where a number of the other shorts were “great.” Comparatively speaking, I’m still looking for that version of Croc that we were treated to in Batman Eternal or Joker’s Asylum: Killer Croc, but this was definitely a step in the right direction!

 

Recommended If:

  • You’re curious to see the beginning stages of the consequences of the Black Vault.
  • Watching crazy people go crazy sounds fun.
  • You’ve been waiting for a spotlight on Croc.

 

Overall: When you break this issue down, there’s a whole lot of conflict, and not much else… but damn is it enjoyable! I wasn’t too familiar with William’s work prior to this, but he’s made me believer. He has a clear plot, but balances a number of genres and tones within each issue. This is the Suicide Squad that I’ve been waiting for, and it’s definitely a must-read. If you’ve been skipping out on this wild ride, then you’re missing out!

 

SCORE: 8/10