Previously on The Suicide Squad: cannon fodder! This time: more of it, hopefully. The second issue of Robbie Thompson’s run on the Squad picks up immediately where its predecessor left off, and boy does it take off running. Where the last issue spent time setting up the situation and stakes for our heroes(?), this book goes hog wild with pure, insane action. Will Peacemaker and Talon escape the horde of armed guards coming to kill them? Even if they take out the guards, will they be able to escape the cloud of Joker gas flooding the building? Let’s dive right in and find out.
Robbie Thompson starts this issue off with a bang, with Talon and Peacemaker singlehandedly taking on all of Arkham security. Things are slowly going downhill for the pair, and Peacemaker is ready to do what he does best: expend as many D-list villains as possible to win. Problem is, he expended all of his crew last issue, so he does what any sane field leader on a suicide mission would do: call for backup.
That’s right, sports fans! Task Force X has yet another new roster, and their star player is Superboy! Arguably the most interesting part of the new run, Conner takes center stage for this book. I really enjoyed the way he was used in this story, providing a moral roadblock for Peacemaker as he tries to save as many people’s lives as possible. Thompson does a fantastic job with the banter between the whole team, but especially these two. There’s completely natural, palpable tension here, and it really makes the reader believe that they hate each other.
The characterization, for what little we’re allowed to get in a book where everyone dies, is very good. Peacemaker is written as the most gung-ho jerk on the face of the planet and does not relent in this, even for a second.
The collection of Talon from Arkham as well as Conner’s inclusion on the Squad pretty much confirms that this book is working fast towards the Justice Squad we saw in Future State, and I’m intrigued to see where the rest of the roster comes from. Safe to say, Thompson has me hooked.
Julio Ferreira’s inks on Eduardo Pansica’s pencils really shine through here. I said in my last review that the realistic art style added to the gritty tone of the book, and in this issue it turns from grit to true horror. The closeups of people affected by Joker gas actually unsettled me. The detail on the faces- the bloodshot eyes, the spit flinging from their mouths, etc.- all of it compiles in a horrifyingly realistic take on the effects of Joker gas.
Marcelo Maiolo’s coloring adds a lot to this issue as well. There’s a lot of shading in this issue, keeping characters in shadow a lot of the time, but the colors that we do see really pop out of the page. Conversely, Maiolo keeps the colors the perfect amount of subtle during the shots where he needs them to be. Check out this shot of Talon:
The shadows and the black background capture the tone of this moment. This is scary. It’s bad. It’s, well, dark. But the colors pop off the page, highlighting the focus of the shot, that Talon mask. The light even glints sharply off the goggles.
Speaking of light, the use of light and shadow in this issue is astounding. There were several moments where I was just blown away.
The way these artists play with light mesmerized me. I legitimately stopped for a while to just look at these panels, and went back to look at them again as I read. This is good stuff.
- The bloodbath continues, and you want all of it.
- You’ve really missed seeing Superboy around.
- The Justice Squad really interests you.
This book was fun! I really enjoyed seeing Conner in action again, though I will admit I’m a bit of a sucker for anything involving the Super-family. Waller’s plans for the Justice Squad seem to be taking shape, but remain nebulous enough to keep me guessing, especially with her next planned target. Rick Flag was noticeably absent here, though, so I’d like to at least see more of him soon. Very enjoyable book, well worth the money if you’re a fan of the Squad or Superboy!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.