Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Suicide Squad #2 Review and **SPOILERS**

Them Suicide Squadders Find Themselves in a Mighty Pickle!

Written By: Rob Williams
Art By: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair
Backup Art By: Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert, Marcelo Maiolo
Lettered By: Nete Piekos of Blambot®
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: September 14, 2016


You guys know me, I’m constantly giving away million-dollar ideas. I can’t help it. They just come to me. I probably make five or six people rich every day with my brilliance. And you know what? I’m glad. It’s a public service. Besides, I’m no good on the execution of things, just the ideas. For instance, Suicide Squad is a hot property now, right? And there seems to be a resurgence of Pokémon what with that new Pokémon Go app, right? Well one of the Pokémon, a Legendary Water Type whatever the hell that means, is called Suicune. So why don’t we smash these two trends together and make the Suicune Squad! It would be like a bunch of tentacled, blue elk-rabbits doing black ops for Waller, or maybe a bunch of, whaddoyacallem, Pokémon Trainers and they would kill people with their electric rats and whatnot. Like I said, I’m no good with the execution side, I just come up with the germ. And it seems to me that the iron is hot for striking now, before people realize that the Suicide Squad is just a modernized version of Hogan’s Heroes and Pokémon is for obsessive-compulsive babies. Hey, let’s keep those fires burning and take a look at Suicide Squad #2, right here!

Explain It!

While the Suicide Squad drowns in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic, Amanda Waller watches via sonar and probably telescopic satellite X-Ray or some shit, safe in her security monitoring station at Belle Reve Prison. Enter a woman who calls herself Harcourt and dresses like one of Neo’s crew from the Matrix: sent by the NSA, she requested this visit to Louisiana so she could see Waller’s once-clandestine dirty deeds team in action. She’s none too impressed, despite the fact that Deadshot, Boomerang, and Rick Flag are hanging on to one of the dislodged thrusters from the drop ship they crash landed, and they’re aiming it right at their target! This target is, incidentally, a Russian prison, wherein is contained some space borne thing that mustn’t fall into the wrong hands. Er, or having fallen into the wrong hands, needs to be transferred to the right hands. They’re going to steal a Macguffin, is my point.
The other three aren’t faring as well, but Waller and Harcourt seem unconcerned, provided the doings get done. Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and Rick Flag bust into the prison by smashing the rocket into one of the walls. You would think that’d alert the staff of a prison pretty rapidly, but there are a few moments before Killer Croc rips open an undersea wall of the prison and swims right in with Katana and Harley Quinn under an arm. Now, wouldn’t that flood the prison? Anyway, since the crew is back together, the Russian guards snap to attention and begin firing at the Squad, so Killer Croc chucks Katana and Harley at a bunch of them in a very cool manga-inspired panel. Harley and Katana set to murdering…oh, so many guards, and right here is a good comics lesson in script vs. plotting.

So what we have here is an extended scene of absolute carnage: Katana chopping off heads and limbs, Harley breaking guys’ necks and making them shoot one another with automatic rifles, it’s just a bloodbath. And the gag is that Harley is engaging Katana in cerebral conversation while they commit two- or three-dozen murders. It’s a good gag because Katana isn’t known for being too chatty even while standing still, but it falls flat here, and it’s because of how the scene is plotted. Jim Lee uses five long panels (on two pages, unfortunately) to depict the action, which gives us a broad sense of how exacting the killing spree is. But had this been broken up into smaller panels with close-ups of Harley and Katana, the joke would be broken up into several word balloons and could have established a better rhythm. Not that it’s the greatest joke in the world, mind you, but it didn’t land because of the plotting—yet how the scene is plotted is very dynamic and looks absolutely awesome. So who’s to say what is right in this case? I am, and I say the plotting should have served the script, or Williams’ should have been able to come up with something humorous over five panels (how about a “knock knock” joke where Harley Quinn continues despite getting no answers from Katana?) instead of killing the dialogue on the spot. And this has been Comics 101 with Professor Reggie Knowitall, back to your regularly-scheduled recap.

Eventually, the team makes it to the first stop in this Russian prison: a prison cell, which is pretty convenient. Inside is a woman who calls herself Hack, and she has the power to, uh, hack into computers and stuff. She’s been under a dampener while incarcerated, but now that the cell door is open she can use her powers to locate the thingiemadoodler. But first, she has to fangirl over Harley Quinn a little bit. I thought this was pretty funny because it does sort of tie into how Harley is over in Palmiotti and Conner’s Harley Quinn, a quasi-celebrity and hero to passionately fierce women in clown makeup. Hack finds the widgiebob and the team is teleported there by Waller Control. This makes Croc puke…again, and I do hope this happens in at least the next three issues. In the vault, the team plus Hack stand before a gigantic, pulsating black sphere—which turns out to be some kind of contained Phantom Zone?! Flag tells everyone to pull back, but it’s too late! A red beam fires from the sphere and reduces Captain Boomerang to a pair of smoldering boots! Then, from the sphere steps none other than…General Zod!!!

The back-up is pretty great, an origin of Captain Boomerang as told to Amanda Waller that paints him as Australia’s James Bond. Expertly drawn by Ivan Reis, and not really in what I would call his usual style…in fact, he uses at least three distinct styles to tell the whole story. Anyway, it’s worth reading, but it’s not like the rest of the book is a slouch. I really like how each character is individualized and terrible in their own way, but they do work as a dysfunctional team. This is the kind of dynamic I’d been hoping for! Unfortunately, there are a few lines of dialogue that fall flat (and not just that scene I wrote a paragraph about up above) that sort of detracted from some of the wackiness. Remember to KISS: Keep It Stupid, Silly!

Bits and Pieces:

Another fun bunch of circumstances involving our favorite team doing what they do best (slaughtering, making quips) is marred by some clunky dialogue. The villain reveal at the end, though, is harrowing. The back-up is really engaging and features Ivan Reis stepping out of the typical super muscles stuff we're used to. Worth checking out if only to see Killer Croc puke again.

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  1. A lot Kryptonian Characters of late, in the DC Rebirth. Pre Flashpoint Superman, Jon Kent, Supergirl, Super-Man, Superwoman(Lois), Superwoman(Lana), New Bizarro, New Human Clark, and now Zod. It's getting a bit much. Cool it DC, with this many kryptonians around now a days, takes away huge piece of the specialness of are boy in blue. What don't you think guys, is 9 to many Kryptonians?

    1. Well, it depends on whether you want to position Clark as the "Last Son of Krypton." That's how I like him best, probably because I really likened to Byrne's Man of Steel run, but it's really only a sliver of Superman's history. For most of his "life," it's been non-stop Kryptonian dogs, criminals, cousins, and whatever else decided to make the trip from the doomed planet. And that's to say nothing of the Daxamites and robots that pretended to be refugees from Krypton over the years! But I think I do feel the way you do Anthony, I'd rather see Clark in more rarefied company.

    2. Well put as always Reggie. Remember when one kryptonian was like a miracle for the world, what does that say about the current dcu now.


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