What… Just… Happened?

I hope you’re ready, because this is going to be another review where I gush over the creative team and the book, because Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo are killing it on Suicide Squad! I mean it! This book has everything! This is easily the most fun, action-packed, in-continuity story hitting the shelves from DC at the moment, and that’s saying something.

For those of you haven’t been checking out Suicide Squad… Well, for one, why? Second, let me catch up. Waller is no longer in charge of Task Force X. A new guy, named Lok, is now running missions, but we soon learn that he’s actually answering to someone as well, we just don’t know who. For his first mission, Lok sends the Squad to capture a group of “terrorists” called The Revolutionaries. The thing is, The Revolutionaries wanted to be caught, and they’re now, secretly, carrying out their own mission and recruiting some of the original Squad to cooperate with them. I’m being vague, but trust me, there’s plenty of suspense, drama, action, twists, and deaths that it’s way more entertaining than I’m making it sound.

For the current mission, Lok has sent the Squad to capture Captain Boomerang because he keeps talking about Task Force X and the missions they’d complete. When you’re a clandestine government organization completing illegal acts, that’s definitely not a good thing. So, the Squad is sent to bring Boomerang in, but, despite being an idiot, we all know that Boomerang is more dangerous than he often gets credit for – something the Revolutionaries learn when Digger detonates bombs to stop their attempts.

The last issue ended with Jog, a speedster and one of the Revolutionaries, getting caught in the explosion. It seemed like a sure thing that he would die, and even at the start of this issue, there’s a whole bit about life flashing before your eyes. But with Taylor being the master of twists and turns, we rarely actually get what we expect, and I mean that in a good way. As it turns out, Jog manages to survive the blast, and the team captures Captain Boomerang to bring him in.

From here, though, everything gets turned upside down. The back half of the book is nothing but one surprise and shocking twist after another as Taylor and Redondo set up plots, then knock them down. We learn that Lok didn’t actually want Boomerang because he’s been talking, but for other reasons connected to the Squad’s past missions. Tempers get flared among team members – remember that Osita has a personal grudge against the Squad, but especially Boomerang. There’s huge, bombastic action. Someone more than one person dies in this issue. And we even get the reveal of who Lok has been reporting to – which is a total WTF moment in and of itself.

I don’t want to give anything away because that will spoil the fun and shock value of this comic, but I’ll discuss some details in the spoiler tag below. Just know that the creative team takes this book in a direction that I didn’t expect it to go, not only for this issue, but for the title itself. This is crazy, good fun. That’s all I can say.

Spoiler

I don’t feel like I can post such a brief vague review and consider it a job well done, so let’s discuss some of the spoilers in the book. First off, why did Lok really want Digger? While I’m sure he is pissed that Digger is taking about Task Force X, you also have to look at Captain Boomerang and think, “You’re an idiot that nobody will believe anyway.” So, to discover that the real reason Lok wanted Boomerang, was to force Deadshot to kill him as a form of punishment because Lok knows something went down in Badhnisia… It was pretty shocking.

But this is where the shit hit the fan, because we get our first victim of the issue, and it isn’t Captain Boomerange… It’s Lok. WHAT!?!? I know, right!?

And then in another shocking surprise, the other character to fall in this issue, is actually Jog. Yes, I know. After that whole “Gotcha!” during the opening sequence, we actually do lose Jog by the end of the chapter due to a soldier detonating the bomb in his head… And man, it sucks. The set-up for this is brilliant on a technical level though. Setting readers up to be sure that he would die, only to spare him and provide some character development that endures us to him and makes us eager to learn more – and, honestly, root for him – only to have this happen… Well, it made his death that much more painful.

But we’re not done. We still have two major “twists” to cover. First, is the reveal of who Lok has been reporting to…

Wait. WHAT!?!?! Ok, so if I’m being honest, I do not like this reveal. How could Ted be behind this? But, then there’s an exchange between Ted and Osita, and it has me incredibly curious to learn more. For one, I don’t think Ted is necessarily the one calling the shots. I think he might be another middle-man. And whether he is or isn’t actually calling the shots, I think there’s way more going on that we don’t know about. Regardless, the reveal of Ted is shocking and completely threw me.

And then, finally, to end the issue, the Squad breaks free, their neck bombs deactivated, and set out as a unit to stop Ted Kord. So, again… What in the hell just happened!?!? We’re only five issues in and Tom Taylor has delivered more action, excitement, plot progression, and even heart than Tom King did with over 80 issues of batman. This book is insane…ly entertaining, and I want more. Like, now. Right now!

The Art

Bruno Redondo delivers the art for this issue, and if his work on Suicide Squad doesn’t make him one of the most sought-after artists in comics, then something is terribly wrong with the world. The guy delivers with every single panel, on every single page! Yes, he definitely has a lot to play with, and that helps. Tom Taylor is churning out scripts that seem like they’d be a hell of a lot of fun to draw, but that can also make the artists job more difficult. With how fast this title is moving, Redondo not only has to present the action in a limited format, but he has to be extremely efficient with all of the character moments as well.

There’s so much storytelling that’s executed through Redondo’s art, and it’s something that elevates Taylor’s script. Neither talent is stronger than the other here, they’re both incredible and complement each other well. Look at the page where Lok is saying he owns the Squad. There’s clearly supposed to be an intensity to the scene, so Redondo conveys that by starting with larger panels, that transition to smaller, tighter, less focused panels by the end of the page. The quickness of reading the panels, and the back and forth between Lok and the Squad creates that sense of, “Oh crap, what’s about to happen? Who will win this game of chicken?” It’s just brilliant work.

I also love the touch of characterization he’s able to infuse in his art as well. For example, the page where the Squad attacks Captain Boomerang. Wink’s reaction and how she attacks Digger says so much about who she is as a character, and how she thinks. Same for Thylacine as well. I laughed when she pops up right behind Boomer, and having his reaction make it even better.

And I can’t forget Adriano Lucas’ colors! A large part of the fun of this book is due to the colorful nature of this book. But Lucas adds more than just “fun” to the story. He uses color to highlight specific moments – such as deaths – to create a stronger impact for that panel. Honestly, it’s great work from the entire art team!

 

Recommended if:

  • You want to fun, action-packed story that will keep you on your toes.
  • You like blockbuster movies.
  • You prefer high-energy stories that still infuse heart into them.
  • Just read the damn book already!

Overall

Suicide Squad is a masterful book that captures everything you would want from a “summer blockbuster” and then some! While it’s action-packed, fast-paced, and chock-full of surprises, it still manages to pull at your heartstrings rather frequently. Between Tom Taylor’s scripts and Bruno Redondo’s art, I have no reservation in saying that this is masterclass work. If you ever want an example of how to create a comic, look no further than Suicide Squad!

SCORE: 9/10