Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Suicide Squad #5 Review and **SPOILERS**

To Be One, Ask One

Writer: Rob Williams 
Penciller: Jim Lee 
Inkers: Scott Williams, Jonathan Glapion, Sandra Hope 
Colors: Alex Sinclair 
Letters: Pat Brosseau 
Back-Up Art and Color: Stephen Byrne 
Back-Up Lettering: Rob Leigh 
Cover: Lee, Williams and Sinclair 
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: October 26, 2016


So here’s something weird…this issue was solicited as “The Black Vault, part 5,” but this issue is titled “Going Sane Part One: Shock Treatment.” I think there must have been some shuffling of issues and shortening of story arcs here, perhaps to make room for the rapidly-approaching Suicide Squad vs. the Justice League crossover. That would explain why we barely saw any of the Annihilation Brigade last issue! Hopefully that won’t be the last we ever see of Cosmonut, though, that guy was intriguing as heck! I want to see what other pictograms he can utter, and what, if any, are his powers. I mean, he could just be a guy in a spacesuit with a tack hammer for a head. I’d be fine with that. I did used to read Flaming Carrot comics, after all. I’m certainly rambling now, so let’s just tuck that editorial mystery in our “What the fudge is up, DC?” file and move on to my review of Suicide Squad #5!
Explain It!

Now that everyone, including oversized Zod in the Black Vault (which is actually a sphere of unknown, multiversal matter, naturally), are back at Belle Reve, it’s time to discuss what is to be done with the Kryptonian. Rick Flag suggests that by harboring Zod, Amanda Waller will establish another Cold War, which has merit considering the Russkies are clearly aggregating metahumans as evidenced by their brief tussle with the Annihilation Brigade last issue. While Waller, Flag and Deadshot chat it out, Harley Quinn is attracted to the sphere, and slips her arm inside of its energy field even though that’s pretty much what iced Captain Boomerang in the first issue. Deadshot runs out to save her, and they have a playful little beatdown session that results in blood and what could have been a lingering kiss, had Waller not activated the joy buzzers in their skulls to remind them that they are still in a penitentiary and are expected to behave accordingly. Then the whole Suicide Squad breaks into “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and dances all over the prison.
Elsewhere in Belle Reve, in a barred section that actually looks like a classic jail, June Moon is painting in one cell while Killer Croc is eating in his own. They get to chatting, and June asks why he protected her from Zod back in that underwater Russian prison, and Croc replies that he wants to eat everyone…except for her. Well that’s a fine how-do-you-do! What’s wrong with June Moon aka the Enchantress? Is she not good enough to eat?! A look at her painting shows that she is pretty messed up, so perhaps Croc is best to be leery. At Belle Reve cafeteria, Hack, the woman they rescued from that cell in the last arc, is all on Harley Quinn’s tip looking for an autograph. She wants to join the Suicide Squad voluntarily, which does sound like a foolish thing to do. It turns out Harcourt and Waller are a little freaked out by her, as they should be for when she returns to her cell it is scrawled with weird techno-graffiti reminiscent of Rip Hunter’s blackboard from 52. And we close with Rick Flag taking a stand against potentially using Zod as a weapon by shooting…someone!
The back-up is about Hack, and it looks spectacular. Turns out she grew up in an African slum that looks pretty deplorable (I mean the conditions, the pictures themselves are well-rendered) and then developed these freaky powers to turn into energy and enter Tron-space. She used this to be a criminal and somehow trap her tormentors in a cell phone? Anyway, she tries to play the okey doke on Waller, but you know that the Wall ain’t having it. So whether she’s a member of the team, we can’t rightly say—but it looks like Hack will be sticking around for a while.
I enjoyed this issue a lot—though the main story is half as long as regular issues, it is so dense that it felt like a full comic book by itself. The question of what they’ll do with Zod is no secret, if you read solicits (don’t do it!), but I’m intrigued by the relationships developing between Deadshot and Harley, as well as June Moon and Killer Croc. In fact, I like how all of these characters are interacting, and with such a big cast that is no simple feat. I’m looking forward to the next issue, which is pretty much the best any comic can hope to accomplish. The back-up is a more interesting story than I’d have given credit, considering Hack is new and therefore suspect by Comic Book Reader Law, but what really stood out was the artwork. It should really be seen by everyone.

Bits and Pieces:

We take a little welcome breather after the all-out action-fest that was the last story arc, and find some interactions developing between certain teammates that are...goofy. But intriguing! The stuff about the composition of the Black Vault is also pretty compelling, and I wonder if that's the real prize here. The back-up looks glorious, and it's a pretty good origin story for one of the Squad members besides. Check it out, it won't bite (except for Killer Croc.)


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