Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: Suicide Squad, volume 1: Kicked in the Teeth

Oh dear Lord. I've been putting this one off. Well fine. Here's my review of Adam Glass' first volume of Suicide Squad: It sucks. Happy?

Government employee Amanda Waller has put together a secret covert ops task force made up of super-villains serving time. Members of the "Suicide Squad", as it is known, have explosive chips planted in the backs of their necks to keep them in line, and are sent on black ops missions in order to shave a few years off their prison sentences.

While on these assignments, squad members run from one fight to the next with no time to breathe in between. The plot moves so fast that you hardly have time to become acquainted with the characters. Let's see, there's the Leader Guy with the guns, there's the repentant dude with the fire tattoos, there's the guy who walked off the set of Street Sharks, and there's Harley Quinn. There are others who join the team, but they're shuffled in and out, sometimes being killed off in the same issue they're introduced, that they've all become a blur to me.

That's the comic's biggest problem. There is no investment in the characters. It's nothing but a lot of violence and explosions as the characters move from one fight to another. What little personality does manage to shine through usually shows the character to be unlikable and insufferable. These characters are not people. They are props who move from one firefight to the next, their actions determined by the whims of the author.

Take the scene where Harley Quinn and Deadshot have sex. Leaving aside for a moment Harley's redesign (because guys can't pay attention unless BEWBS are in their faces obviously), it comes right the fuck out of nowhere. Harley (the woman utterly devoted to the Joker who, at this, hadn't even heard the rumors of Joker's demise-- more on that when I review Detective Comics) just randomly comes onto Deadshot and the two... make out. I didn't realize they were having sex until Harley made a veiled comment about the size of Deadshot's junk and the dialogue afterward made it clear that that's what they were doing. The art certainly made it seem less... squishy than it was.
New Non-Gentital Sex! Just like regular sex, but without all the messy bits!
Sadly, Harley is also the book's sole saving grace. Issues 5 and 6 deal with her escaping to track down Joker's face (again, more on that when I review Detective Comics), and while the main story is just as dismal as the rest of the book, it is peppered with flashbacks about Harley's slightly revamped origin.

And let me tell you: Those flashbacks were the only part of this book I enjoyed reading. My advice is to not buy this book, but rather flip through it in your local bookstore, find the flashback pages intersperesed throughout the final two issues, read those (it's maybe eight to ten pages total; shouldn't take long), then put the book back on the shelf, walk away, and never contemplate it again.
Next time, I'll review Batwoman. We have a whole slew of Batman themed comics coming up.

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