Thursday, October 1, 2015

New Suicide Squad Annual #1 Review

Written by:  Sean Ryan
Art by: Philippe Briones, Blond and Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: September 30, 2015

Flip It and Reverse It

It's Annual time at DC Comics and while I don't mind an Annual being an exciting  little out of continuity fun fest, I really like when it does what this one does...continues the story going on in the regular book.  Actually, this one does one better as it acts as a finale to the current arc and even feels like a new beginning.  All this is done by the normal creative team (a huge plus with an Annual) and I'll tell you right now, the question isn't if it's any good, but how good is it?  Well, let's find out...

If you haven't been reading Sean Ryan's current arc of New Suicide Squad, you have been missing a damn good story.  The idea of the Squad infiltrating a Taliban-like League of Assassins splinter group has been fun, action packed and dare I say topical.  Watching each member deal with the mission has been great, especially the polar opposites Black Manta and Captain Boomerang.  The former seems to have found a purpose and a kindred spirit while the later is just working for the weekend.  This issue starts with him and things don't look good.

The first thing we see is a beat up Boomerang waiting for death.  The League is using him (and three others) as an example of what happens when you don't follow the rules.  It's hard enough to look at, but if you are a regular reader it's even harder knowing what Boomerang actually did to get in this situation.

We then cut to Reverse Flash who runs into some unruly kids and investigates the scene.  It all leads to Harley Quinn who is sitting amongst her handy work.  Again, if you've been reading the regular run, you know that she killed wave after wave of League soldiers in front of the little kids.  It was a good scene, but the payoff here is even better.  Sean Ryan nails Harley and after this scene, you can only feel bad for her.  However, Ryan also starts the process of making Reverse Flash more than relevant in this book.

If you are like me, you hated Reverse Flash in this book leading up to this Annual.  For Christ's sake, even Amanda Waller calls him out as useless last issue.  He is always hurt, complaining or both. This little scene with Harley was his best moment in his entire Suicide Squad existence.  The best part is, it gets even better.

Before all that, however, we head off to see what Black Manta is up to.  Besides stabbing his teammates in the back, he is talking to League Leader, Saladin.  I guess that is part of stabbing them in the back, but unfortunately, Saladin has bigger plans for Manta then he could ever have imagined. While Manta wants the League to remove his neck bomb, the League wants to use manta as a martyr.

Back to Boomerang, Deadshot is trying to save him the best way he knows how...with a sniper rifle. Actually, that probably would have worked a bit ago, but his injuries have made him lesser a man in that department.  No worries though, Reverse Flash shows up to save the day.

After a little scene of Vic Sage that confirms what we all know (he's a dick trying to ruin Amanda Waller), we see Black Manta come to his senses, what could be the origin story of a new villain, the saving of Parasite and the activation of the League's time bomb.  Oh yea, everyone escapes as well.

If you think that I'm saying everything wraps up nice and tidy, you'd be wrong, my friends.  While the Squad seems in the clear, there is the question of the civilians (mainly the kids) that will be caught in the blast radius of the time bomb.  You would think that a crazy group like this wouldn't care and you would be dead wrong.  One member steps up and becomes a hero and pays the ultimate price.  It is one of the best sequences in Sean Ryan's entire run and one of my favorites in general.  It is cinematic, heart breaking and just plain awesome!  The issue ends with the dynamic of the entire book being turned upside down and a peek at who they might be fighting in the near future.  I liked both a whole lot.

I really enjoyed this issue.  It's not for new readers to just jump in, but those who have been reading will surely love this issue.  I know that DC announced a new Squad was in the works, but I am so fine with where this book is right now.

Philippe Briones has saved his best for this Annual.  It's no surprise since his art was great since he jumped on this book and it's only gotten better since.  This issue looks great from cover to cover and I mean that since Juan Ferreyra's cover is incredible.

Bits and Pieces:

If you have been reading New Suicide Squad then go out and get this Annual immediately.  It's that good and brings the current arc to an amazing close.  It also sets up the new status quo going forward and redeems a character that I thought I'd never like.  Great job by everyone involved.


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