Wednesday, March 9, 2016
New Suicide Squad #18 Review and **SPOILERS**
Saved From Suicide By Homicide
Written By: Tim Seeley
Art By: Juan Ferreyra
Letters By: Natie Peikos of Blambot®
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 9, 2016
**Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom**
Issue number two of Tim Seeley and Juan Ferreyra’s run on New Suicide Squad, and all the world wonders: is it any good? The Pope hung a replica of Deadshot’s mask outside his Papal bunker at the Vatican to show the world he was praying for the Suicide Squad. Kim Kardashian was in such a rush to get to her local comic shop, she forgot to put on her human face and all of her android components were visible. NHL hockey has been suspended for the day so all players and staff can ruminate on the most recent issue of New Suicide Squad, though only Canadians have noticed. Nancy Reagan remains dead. Of course, my loyal trillions and perhaps zillions of readers are waiting for my verdict, so what will it be? You can read on and find out! Or you can just wait to see the headline on tomorrow’s newspaper, whichever you find more convenient.
Well, it seems that Reggie has to eat a slice of humble pie—a la mode, if you please—because all of my hemming and hawing over last issue being disjointed and confusing turned out to be baseless with this issue. I should have exercised more patience, and realized that Seeley and Ferreyra were laying out a mystery, an answer to a riddle that could be described as “what the fuck is going on?” (I didn’t say it was a clever riddle.) Now I won’t take a heaping slice of humble pie—the dialogue in the last issue still reads sort of clunky. But a lot of the superfluous scenes make sense now that, you know, they’ve been explained. I apologize, to the creators, and to any fans of the series who were probably more primed to accept a certain Suicide Squad formula. So this issue begins with Harley Quinn explaining to the rest of the Squad how they got away from Amanda Waller’s Task Force X, which is something you’d expect they’d know already. Turns out they were not killed at the end of the last issue, which I expected—they are called the Suicide Squad, after all—but instead were injected with nano particles that made them seem dead, and therefore would get Waller off their backs. Who freed them? Why none other than Seraphine and her beau Adam Reed, heir to the Buddy Reed Coffee fortune, who you might remember from last issue as members of the international do-gooder club the Horus Organization. They were none too thrilled about Amanda Waller using criminals to commit war crimes—though it does make sense when you say it out loud—and so infiltrated Belle Reve Prison and got Harley Quinn to round up the troops and devise a plan. And let me tell you, elements of that plan are pretty clever and explain some of the oddball tomfoolery happening last issue. And no, I’m not going to reveal them because I can be a withholding asshole, too.
After Harley Quinn catches us all up on what happened (with some funny commentary by Floyd Lawton, I might add), we learn that Cheetah was a late addition to the plan, because she happened to be assigned with Harley, Deadshot, and El Diablo to the mission in China where it all went down, but considering she is freed from her obligations Cheetah seems okay with it. The team discusses what they should do in lieu of assassinations and wet work, and Harley suggests they work for the benevolent Horus Organization, to get the redemption they sought working for Amanda Waller. Harley Quinn has really grown as a character in the DCU, and though she often causes mayhem in her attempts to do nice things, she does genuinely seem to want to be one of the good guys. All of their future plans culminate in rubbing their escape in Amanda Waller’s smug, smelly face, so they agree to at least that. Adam Reed tells them to get back on the bus because they’ve still got to go to his mechanic’s garage to remove those Task Force X neck bombs that Waller installed to ensure fealty, and probably rotate the tires on the bus besides.
Speaking of Waller, we cut to her in her office at Belle Reve, speaking to the president about her recent staff cuts and how she intends to remedy them. Mr. Ashemore, the bald-headed British bloke from last issue that couldn’t stop wetting himself in front of the prisoners, storms into her office and says a bunch of mean shit that, really, is uncalled for. Amanda leaps over her desk with a war cry and descends upon Mr. Ashemore with a letter opener, and though it cuts away from there we can assume he’s pissed himself again. Back to the Suicide Squad on their Partridge Family bus, they pull up to a creepy thirteenth-century castle perched on the top of a craggy mountain and reachable by a couple of thin bridges. Adam explains that his dad, Buddy, purchased it back in the day in order to convert it to a nursing home, presumably for vampires and mummies. Though the project wasn’t completed, there are enough facilities to house the Sewey Squad until the heat dies down and a marksman in a metal mask, a white-skinned sociopathic jester, a disheveled man covered in arcane tattoos and a woman that looks like she’s been crossed with a jungle cat can emerge back into polite society again. When they enter the compound, they meet another gang of mercenaries who are Wildstorm characters that the Horus Organization used to get the Sudafed Squad’s fake-lifeless bodies out of China. They all have the worst names ever: Kilgore, Hellslayer, Razer, Deathtrap, and Brutus. Actually, I like Brutus, and it turns out he’s the tech guy even though he sort of looks like a four-hundred pound Keanu Reeves. They’re also hanging around Castle Crapskull because the heat is on them for having killed some Chinese mafia dudes during their daring caper. It looks like the Sususudio Squad and Team Cannon Fodder are about to face off, when Deathtrap tells Deadshot: they’re huge fans! Which must be pretty awkward. I mean, when someone says they’re a fan of Taylor Swift, at least they’re either teenage girls or weird, old pedophiles. When someone says they’re fans of a murderous black ops team, you’d better keep an eye on them while you sign their silencer.
So it looks like everything is hunky dory for the Suicide Squad and their fanboys, and Seraphine and Adam share a smooch in the back room to congratulate themselves on their good work. Then Adam apologizes to her and sticks a shiv into her stomach! There’s a quick cut to show Amanda Waller has only shredded Mr. Ashemore’s clothing and she informs him that she knows exactly who he is and why he’s there, but we’ll have to wait to find out next issue. Meanwhile, as Deathfart or whatever tells the tale of the Rose Tattoo, a spirit that manifests after one has committed murder, and offers three wishes or maybe possesses the victim or something spirit-like. After Adam has murdered Seraphine, the castle facility goes on lockdown, and we find out that this is actually headquarters for the Fist of Cain, famed DCU serial killer cult—and the Suicide Squad will provide the evening’s entertainment! By getting killed! Serially!
Well, don’t I feel stupid. Last issue was, obviously, setup for this one. And this issue was pretty damned cool. The dialogue was, for the most part, enjoyable and even funny at times. There was some character development—mostly for Harley and Floyd Lawton, but everyone got their turn to shine a little. Uh, except El Diablo, come to think of it. He sort of just hung around and didn’t do a whole lot. But I’ve learned my lesson, I’ll wait and see if he was merely biding his time next issue, or maybe he had a sore throat and didn’t feel like talking. One thing I can crow about is that in my last review, I said Juan Ferreyra would get better and better on this title, and one issue in he’s already kicking ass with some beautiful artwork. There are landscapes you could take right from this book and frame for use in a mid-tier hotel. Which is pretty great for comic books, and seeing how awesome his work was by the end of Gotham By Midnight, I’m sure it’s only going to improve more and more each issue. So stay tuned! Maybe you’ll see me put my foot in my mouth again.
Bits and Pieces
Turns out I was a little too harsh on the last issue, since all of my questions and concerns were answered with this one. It was a good issue, a bit talky in the beginning but Juan Ferreyra’s cleverly plotted pages make it a pleasure to read. The Squad is alive and in mortal danger by the end of the book, which you might have expected. What you might not have expected is that I actually apologize for having been rash at the beginning of my review. Don’t get too used to it.