Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin, June Chung and Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 19, 2016
I am a happy boy now that the Night of the Monster Men story is over and we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming. First up is Tom King's I AM SUICIDE story and I already can't wait to see Batman's team. Who will he pick??? I also can't wait until Batman heads off to kick Bane's ass with said team and gets revenge (and a cure) for what happened to Gotham Girl. Do we get any of these things and is it good? Let's find out...
The issue starts with a bit of an origin story that is both a bit obscure and sad. It didn't explain much, but sets up the realization that pain and suffering often leads to more pain and suffering. The scene shifts to show us that we have been looking at Bane before and now after the Venom. He explains that the Venom helped, but he doesn't need it anymore now that he has Psycho Pirate.
This scene makes complete sense with what we saw before and during the Monster Men story. Bane has given up his supply of Venom to Hugo Strange and now uses Psycho Pirate to make everything feel a-ok.
Back in Gotham, Bruce is doing his best to comfort Gotham Girl. I don't know about you, but this scene doesn't jive from what we saw of Claire over the past month, but if Tom King tells me she is more under the Pirate's influence than what we've seen lately, I'll go with it. He's earned that right in my book.
The scene ends with Bruce leaving Gotham Girl in Alfred and Duke's care as he goes off to find help for her. The first place he goes is Arkham and while that place usually tries to get the crazy out, Bruce is inviting it in. This is where the team building begins and I'm not talking about playing paintball at some stupid retreat.
This is the part I've been waiting for as Batman begins to gather his personal Suicide Squad to take it to Bane. He starts off with a Scarface-less Ventriloquist and then moves through a couple of classics. I don't want to spoil the jokes here, but one of the characters is a personal favorite!! "Catch Up, Batman!" Classic!
After passing on another classic character, Batman decides to test out Bronze Tiger and Ben Turner easily passes the test and is on the team. I really like this part for the playfulness of it all. It's like watching two boxers who respect the hell out of each other also beat the shit out of each other. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change...
Jim Gordon has been walking the rounds with Batman this whole time, but when they go to the next stop, we find out that things haven't been what they seem. It's a bit sudden and forced, but it leads to another member of the Squad joining up. I don't have a history of any kind with this character, but I am looking forward to it starting here. He is the only one to escape Santa Prisca and that in itself is awesome. That he did it all for love makes it even better.
The issue ends with Batman getting the last piece of his puzzle and while it is one of my favorite characters (and one that should have a solo book), it kind of throws the recent history of the character out the window. However, the good outweighs the bad and I am so happy to see HER. Yes, it's a gal and she is awesome as well as deadly!
I don't want to fall into the same trap I did at the beginning of Rebirth, but this issue is all setup and a bit slow to boot. It's still better than what we've gotten from this book in a month so I am still a happy camper, but I was really hoping for more of a bang coming out of the Monster Men crossover. Like I said, though, I underestimated Tom King at the start of Rebirth and that's something I will never do again.
I am a huge Mikel Janin fan, but this issue wasn't his best work to date. Maybe he was keeping the art more consistent with David Finch's previous work on this book or possibly it was the close quarters of Arkham, but this looked different than his usual clean and epic art I was used to seeing on Grayson and this book's Rebirth issue. It's not bad...just not as great.
Bits and Pieces:
While I was hoping that Tom King and Mikel Janin would knock my socks off, they just gave us a solid start to the I AM SUICIDE arc. Underneath it all was a sly sense of humor that I loved, but this issue just made me look forward to the next and hopefully a little more to sink my teeth into. This issue was good, just not great.