Review by From the Booth‘s own Ken
The New 52 succeeded in revitalizing DC Comics and being a good jumping on point for people new to the series or even the universe. A Marvel guy at heart, I tentatively picked up a few titles but heard great things about Suicide Squad a few issues in. Already carrying five new DC titles, I didn’t add it to my pull but I did pick up the first trade when it came out.
I’ve never read any of the previous incarnations of the Suicide Squad but the concept is familiar. Whether they’re called the Thunderbolts, the Suicide Squad or just about any Garth Ennis book ever written, the idea of a team of anti-heroes or outright villains working together for the common good usually while under duress has gained popularity over the years. It puts a dark spin on familiar and sometimes stale superhero tales and often can be downright hilarious in execution. Written and illustrated by relative newcomers, I had no idea what to expect from this book.
The Suicide Squad is a secret team of super villains who have been committed to Belle Reve Penitentiary but are offered a chance to work for the government to have their sentences commuted. Each super villian has a bomb implanted in his or her neck which is used to keep the team from going rogue. In this incarnation, the team is made up of Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, El Diablo, Voltaic, Black Spider and King Shark. The book also helpfully retells the origins of the major characters.
The first mission the Suicide Squad is sent on is to stop the spread of a zombie-like disease that has infected sixty thousand fans at a baseball stadium. Very quickly, it becomes clear that the SS will have a rotating roster as the members are considered extremely expendable.
The writing in the book is excellent, moving between each character’s origin and present day to tell a cohesive narrative easily understood even by people not familiar with the universe. The second arc in the trade focuses on Harley Quinn, further developing her character and fleshing out her origin to great effect. The art in the book is good to start, becoming great when Henry takes over. Suicide Squad is a gem in the New 52, I’d say falling somewhere between Red Hood and the Outlaws and Batman as far as overall quality.