Suicide Squad: Get Joker is a series that was created to capitalize on the release of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Its first issue came out back in August, 2021, and its second issue released the month after… and now, finally the last issue releases over half a year later. In all honesty, I thought the series was only supposed to have two issues and completely forgot about it because it had been so long a wait.
This is a frustrating problem that I remember also occurring with the Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey movie synergy miniseries. For one reason or another, the issues of the series were delayed long after the movie was released, killing the intended wave of hype it was supposed to ride in the first place. I feel like DC should just stick to one-shots that can be quickly released at the exact time of the film, rather than waiting for months for higher tier talent like Amanda Connor or, in this case, Brian Azzerello, to finish their work by the time most readers have completely forgotten about their books.
Anyway, Get Joker #3 sees us back with Jason Todd, Harley Quinn, and the rest of the Suicide Squad as they have recently broken free of the Joker’s control, but it appears Azzerello needed some way to extend his story so that it wouldn’t immediately end with Jason or some member of the Squad killing the Joker. Here, he introduces a secondary Task Force X (which includes Peacemaker) that shows up to kill Joker and Jason’s Task Force, assuming they are all still under his control.
I don’t think it can be overstated that this is just incredibly clunky writing. The new Task Force X doesn’t even bother to ask questions, they just show up and start hailing gunfire at our protagonists, Joker, and everyone in their path. When Jason tries to call the attack off, he just gets told “well, you were under mind control and I had to take you out. I like you, but, sorry.” It’s ridiculous and I think it was only done to add padding to the book. This new development somehow forces Red Hood and Co to team up with the Joker so that they may both escape their new executioners. Why Red Hood doesn’t just shoot Joker right then or let him die is beyond me but hey, we needed to keep Joker in the plot somehow.
The result of this is many, many pages in the book being reduced to chaotic sequences of character’s running, getting shot, driving, getting shot, screaming F-bombs, and getting shot. I wouldn’t call the art hard to follow or anything. I just found myself disinterested in what was happening because of how contrived the plot felt at this point, but half of this book is just a big, loud continuous action piece.
I’ll leave what I have to say about the book’s finale behind these spoiler tags…
Eventually, Joker, Red Hood and the rest come to one of Joker’s hideouts to hide from the new Task Force. Harley smartly doesn’t follow Joker, knowing his tricks, which makes sense. But why in the heck do Jason and the surviving members of his team follow Joker into his lair? Joker is a lot more cordial in this series than most, but it’s always clear he’s got something more sinister planned underneath… which he does. The big climax of the story occurs when Joker sends out a bunch of stray kids he had living with him in his lair as cannon fodder for the new Task Force to kill while he gets away.
So we finally get to the big finale of the book, where Jason, after being rescued by Harley, goes to kill Joker once and for all. I do like some of the interactions here. Harley refuses to kill Joker herself, knowing Joker will say the right words to get her to stop anyway. Despite all the horrible things he’s done to her, Harley still seems to feel a lot of sentiment for Joker, and doesn’t trust herself to be the one to actually pull the trigger on him, which I thought was a good, if not brief, understanding about how a post-Joker Harley might actually continue to feel about him.
The real character getting focus here is Jason, however. Joker’s on the beach, waiting for Jason, and he taunts Jason that he’ll become a no-name, meaningless killer, just like the other ones he’s tried to hunt down. This is just more of the cliched “don’t kill a killer or you’ll become like him,” philosophy that goes around in Batman comics, except it doesn’t make sense because Jason’s whole thing is that he has rejected Batman’s no kill rule. There’s utterly no reason for him to NOT kill Joker at this point.
The comic ends on an ambiguous note where a gunshot is heard, but all we see is the ocean and sunset ahead, making us question if Jason actually killed Joker or not. It’s a lot of theatrics for a story that unfortunately is going to be forgotten due to a bad release schedule, and some really contrived storytelling.
Artwork: The art in this book is handled by Alex Maleev, and as I said before, it’s pretty easy to follow despite the chaotic writing in the book. Every page has a very simple, straightforward page layout and doesn’t attempt to try anything beyond regular, square panels in a row. I’m not a big fan of the art style itself, though. Sometimes during the action sequences, the characters look stiff, even with a lot of action going on in the background. It looks like Jason and the woman next to him in the page below are swimming through time rather than running frantically. I wish Maleev did more to convey the quick motions in this case.
I’m also just not into some of the character designs. Joker, instead of being drawn with a grotesque smile, is drawn as if his lips have been slit too far back, and it makes him look more like a monkey than a clown.
The colors by Matt Hollingsworth, who worked on Batman: White Knight, offer sort of a darkly colored hue to each page, even the beach scenes which use some pastels, and I did find that fitting for such an adult book. Despite the art not really being my taste, it’s always important to me that DC choose art styles for their Black Label books that give it an adult feel, and that, at least, is accomplished here.
- A conclusion to Get Joker needed to be reached.
- Jason Todd needed more time in the spotlight.
- Contrived storytelling isn’t a problem.
- Joker. You can’t get enough of Joker.
Suicide Squad: Get Joker winds up being a meaningless, forgettable tie-in to a movie that’s over a half a year old. No offense to Brian Azzerello and all he’s accomplished as a comic book writer, but this is a book that I can see overlooked and spending the rest of its days at comic shops and convention stands, unable to be sold.
DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.