Thursday, April 7, 2016
New Suicide Squad #19 Review and **SPOILERS**
Death Race 2016
Art By: Juan Ferreyra
Letters By: Nate Peikos of Blambot®
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: April 6, 2016
**Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom**
Do you think there are other squads beholden to shadowy organizations with the suffix –cide applied to their signifier? For instance, do you think the CIA has a Fratricide Squad, tasked with killing male siblings of given targets? Or maybe the CFR has a Regicide Squad that finds remaining monarchies around the world and dismantles them. I think there should be a –Cide Squad Convention so these people can meet each other: the Fungicide Squad can swap notes with the Pesticide Squad, the Liberticide Squad can campaign for their platform against the Ethnocide Squad, whose platform is pretty self-evident. I bet a lot of these people would get along, except for any families that contain members of the Parricide Squad or the Filicide Squad. Then things could get dicey. We’re not going to be talking about those fictional squads today, though, no we’ll be talking about a different fictional group, the Suicide Squad, who were targeted by the serial-killer cult Fist of Cain last time we left them. Do you think they’ll fare okay? Well, they’re the Suicide Squad, not the Sacrifice Squad. That’s a whole other division of squads. So read on for my review of issue #19 of the New Suicide Squad!
So it turns out Adam Reed, heir to the Buddy Reed coffee fortune, is a real prick. I suppose we were all lured in by the fact that his dad’s name was Buddy—without any quotes, so it was not even a nickname—and his family’s philanthropy. Plus, Adam wears glasses. But even with all of those incidental aspects of his character, he’s turned out to be a dickface. Reed is a member of the Fist of Cain, a cult of murderous serial killers who usually look like prison lifers and, for some reason, always seem to have the word “Cain” prominently displayed on their bodies. Hey, I said they were serial killers, not ninja assassins! Despite looking more like the cult’s accountant, Reed set up a little ritual wherein he killed his girlfriend and then set up the Suicide Squad and a bunch of Wildstorm heroes I’m going to call the Expendable Squad to be torn apart by the Fist of Cain—for points! I almost forgot that part, there are points involved. Each person is worth a certain number of points, which can be researched on a special Fist of Cain app that is free with in-app purchases. Even members of the Fist have their own score! Which turns this into the stupidest game show of all time: smart money says to go after fellow members of the Fist, since all of them together will still total more than you’d earn killing one Deadshot, for all the trouble that would be. See this is why the typical point structure doesn’t work for murder spree games. You’ve got to play it by halves or quarters and let a panel of respected judges determine who won a given round, like in boxing. Come on, Fist of Cain. Get your heads in the game, uh, as well as your fists.
So the killing begins at Castle Fleischaus immediately. Adam Reed explains, via the castle PA system, that all exits have been barred and if members of the Suicide Squad attempt to leave during the game, he will set off the bombs implanted in their necks by Agent Waller. Those dang neck bombs! They are always getting in the way of everything! So the thing for this murderous bunch of killers to do is go around the castle murdering and killing. Luckily, they’re trained for this. Cheetah and Razer, who is like a flying Batwoman that shoots bolts out of her arm, are trapped in the eaves of the castle, and Razer asks Cheetah to cover her while she recharges. Cheetah prefers to slink away while Razer is taken to pieces by the Fist of Cain’s weapons. Harley Quinn is lurking around a castle passageway, and a member of the Fist attempts a sneak kill, but he’s knocked cold by El Diablo who ties him up with Harley’s shoelaces—not very murderous for a murderer, El Diablo. Deadshot is crawling through the air ducts, and spies one of the Expendable Squad being tortured to death by the Fist of Cain. Then…it isn’t clear what happens here. It looks like Deadshot punches a way out, but then he falls into the room where the torture was happened, so I don’t know if he got into a wacky chute that spun him back into the room, or fell through the ceiling John Bender style or what. Point is, the Fist of Cain have him, and he’s worth twenty points. I mean, is that all? Everyone on the Expendable Squad is worth five, kill six of them and you’ve got one and a half Deadshots. Do the math, people!
Back at Belle Reve, Waller has found out where the supposedly dead members of the Suicide Squad are, and gets to retrieving them. On the way, she informs Mr. Ashemore, who is actually British supervillain the Hunky Punk, that she actually sent for him as part of a collusion with Scotland Yard, I guess so she might recruit him to the Suicide Squad? Hunky Punk gets mad, and holds Waller up against the wall by the neck, so she advises him of like a million failsafes that will kick into action if he harms one hair on her chinny chin chin. The best thing about this part is that the Hunky Punk’s fictitious page from the old DC Comics’ Who’s Who series is shown, and that makes me want to read all of Who’s Who. Back at Fleischaus Castle, a pretty clear Deadpool knock-off named Deathtrap swoops in and saves Deadshot’s hash, then tells him what a super big fan of his he is and asks for an autograph. Deadshot and Deathtrap made a pretty good team, and not just because of their alliterative names or efficiency in cutting through hordes of cult members, but because Lawton’s pomposity goes well with Deathtrap’s obsequiousness, sort of like a blood-maddened Laurel and Hardy. Eventually, the team is all back together and El Diablo seals them in the kitchen by welding the metal door shut with his heat blast. I don’t think that’s how welding works, but it works on Scooby-Doo cartoons, so I’ll allow it. There, the team resolves to do some real ass-kicking…next issue! Oh and there’s also an epilogue where Waller wakes Cap’n Boomerang from a nap and advises that he suit up for action.
So even though this story was sort of low on plot points, and there’s some dialogue that strains my already loose credulity, I still had a lot of fun reading it. I think much of that is owed to the art, which is so expressive and masterful, and not really what you’d expect from a comic book about criminal mercenaries. The action is pretty great as well, and Harley Quinn is a fairly good comic relief, though she seems to have only one setting that I’d like to call “what’s this button do?” This is a fun read with some fantastic art and well-executed layouts, not to mention lots of bloody stabbings and shootings. That’s what I call good comics.
Bits and Pieces
There's only one way out of a spooky castle full of killers tasked with taking the lives of you and your team, and that's through them. If you felt like New Suicide Squad was a little too light on action and murder so far, well this is your issue! Juan Ferreyra's art is great and very expressive, particularly in the faces of some characters. The scene with Waller in the book was a little clunky, but I suppose it had to happen. Little House on the Prairie, this ain't. If you like your action bloody, your blood goopy, and your heroes villainous, then you should give this book a look.