Saturday, January 16, 2016

New Suicide Squad #16 Review

Sincerely Yours, The Suicide Squad

Written by: Sean Ryan
Art by: Philippe Briones, Blonde and Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 13. 2016

Well, this is the end of Sean Ryan and Philippe Briones' run on New Suicide Squad and I am one unhappy camper.  Actually, I'm always an unhappy camper because I hate camping, but I'm also upset that Ryan and Briones are leaving this book.  The two of them kicked ass and took names and I don't care what anyone says, I know in my heart of hearts that they were screwed out of finishing a story that they deserved to finish.  Sean Ryan focused on character development and took every shitty character thrown at him (Reverse Flash and Joker's Daughter come to mind) and did the unthinkable...made it work and made it work good.  Philipe Briones added his part and made it all look great.  What did they get for their efforts?  A pink slip and the door!  Bullshit!!!  As a fan of DC Comics, I shouldn't be surprised, but I can still be pissed off.  So, I am writing this review in a sour mood, but I won't let that affect things...much.  Was this issue a good send off to one of my favorite creative teams?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with Bonnie (who I never realized was the assistant warden...way to go Bonnie!) trying to find Vic Sage.  She seems worried about him even though we all know he's a real piece of shit.  He proves that fact once again when we see him giving information to Black Manta that will ruin Amanda Waller.  I know it's the same type of thing that Waller is trying to do to Sage, but I don't like Sage and I am a fan of "The Wall".  Sage also must want to prove he's vying for super-villain status because he explains his entire plan to take down Waller, but unfortunately, Bonnie hears the whole thing.  Unfortunate for Bonnie, that is.

Bonnie is another character that I've made fun of in my reviews and on the podcast.  She's been pretty much useless and a waste of panel space...until now.  Sean Ryan spins his black magic and makes her a hero...and then something else.  Poor Bonnie.

At this point, things seem to be going okay for Vic and Manta, but it suddenly goes to shit when Waller and the Suicide Squad show up.  While I was hoping Manta would send Vic to join Bonnie right there, Vic Springs into action and causes a diversion to help them escape.

I have now come to the conclusion that the worst job in the DCU is being a guard at Belle Reve. At least three books this month have involved someone opening the cells and letting the prisoners run amok. That's bad enough at a normal prison without metahuman super-villains waiting to cause major bodily harm to anyone within reach. They must have a kick ass 401 K and one of those fancy vending machines with sandwiches in the break room that keeps these people showing up for riot after riot. Back to Sage, I don't know where he's escaping to...the jig is up (and gone) Vic.  I guess I shouldn't have expected him just to give up without a fight. Right? Well, at least Manta wants to get physical.

That's when Sean Ryan turns the issue into a straight up action movie.  Prison riot, explosions and the Suicide Squad walking through it all like badasses.  You know they aren't looking back!  They get to Sage and Manta before they can escape and it breaks down into the Squad versus Manta and Waller versus Sage.  

Now, if Black Manta were to take off his helmet at anytime during this scene, I would not be shocked in the least to see it was actually Sean Ryan in there because when Manta unleashes his verbal attacks (and some pretty awesome physical ones as well), it really seems like the writer is getting a whole lot of anger and frustration off his chest.  Each member of the Squad receives an undressing and Manta even ends up getting his when the tables turn on him.  Nothing is out of character and it all fits into the overall narrative of this run and I really liked it.

The ending of Vic Sage’s “reign of error” wasn't as satisfying.  It just fanfare, no big reveal, pretty much nothing.  It is obvious that the Sage thing was supposed to be bigger, but Ryan was forced to wrap it up quick and neat and he does just that.  It's just another reason I'm upset that his run was apparently cut short before he got to properly finish his story.

Speaking of quick and neat, the book ends with an awesome Breakfast Club scene as Deadshot explains why all of them, including Waller, need the Suicide Squad.  It's a shame that Floyd is locked in his cell because I would have loved the issue to end with him leaving Belle Reve with a trench coat over his jean jacket, putting on his sunglasses and pumping his fist as Simple Minds plays somewhere in the background.  One can only dream of what could have been.

As a single issue, this was a good action packed romp that got the job done.  I give Sean Ryan full credit for wrapping up his story in a satisfying way under the circumstances he was given.  Sure, it could have been much more, but I really did enjoy his entire run and will miss him on this book.

I will also miss Philippe Briones art which was excellent as usual.  He really did a great job with the amount of characters he had to deal with and really nailed the expressions and emotions in each scene.  He really complimented Ryan’s character driven stories so well.

Bits and Pieces:

If you're wondering if I liked this issue. ..I did.  Sean Ryan and Philippe Briones tied up their suicide squad run with a quick and tidy issue that made me wish it wasn't ending even more.  Ryan took a series that from me was a guilty pleasure and turned it into a book I looked forward to each and every month.  Instead of just showing crazy villains blowing shit up, he showed us why they do what they do and even how they want to change.  Instead of caricatures, he gave us characters who I cared about and who felt real.  I'll stop sounding like a fanboy and tell you to check out this issue and whole run if you already haven't.   It was really good and I'll miss it.  


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