Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Suicide Squad #7 Review and **SPOILERS**

A Quinn to Save Them All

Writer: Rob Williams 
Penciller: Jim Lee 
Inkers: Scott Williams, Jonathan Glapion, Sandra Hope 
Colors: Jeremiah Skipper 
Letters: Pat Brosseau 
Backup Art & Color: Christian Ward 
Backup Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Cover: Lee, Williams and Sinclair 
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: November 30, 2016


Everything’s going haywire at Belle Reve—except for Harley Quinn, who has somehow become sane and reverted back to Dr. Harleen Quinzell! Though she already makes this transition at will in the pages of her own series…but I’ll go with it. Last we left her, Harley was being menaced by a rabid Katana—so let’s dispense with the preamble and get to the review!

Explain It!

I am of the opinion that superheroes do not kill, ever. Because comic books are fantasy, this is taken to the most ludicrous, unbelievable extent—like Batman’s inability to kill the Joker, for instance. In the real world, anyone who murdered the Joker, presumably after his having performed several mass-murdering chemical warfare shenanigans, would be lauded as a hero. But in fiction, we can keep the Joker alive indefinitely and present him as a foil for Batman, who we can also keep alive indefinitely. Perhaps my favorite example of how stupidly far superheroes should go to avoid killing is the Phantom Zone. As I understand it, a Kryptonian criminal deemed unfit for polite society would be placed within the Phantom Zone, another dimensional plane that holds what can only be described as the souls of living beings in permanent stasis, indefinitely. There’s no radio, no television, no need for any third dimensional trappings, indeed the only entertainment available is the nebulous ability to peek in on the living world you left behind. So let’s say you commit a crime against Snork-Ul of Krypton, and you get chucked into the Phantom Zone. You watch Snork-Ul and his wife Ursu-Ul have children, raise them, grow old and die, you watch their children grow up, have children of their own, et cetera, on and on eternally, long past the time where you or your crime are even remembered. Even beyond the time where whatever you did might be considered a crime. This is a much worse punishment than actually killing someone, you essentially doom them to an unending, incurable insanity. You can talk to the other criminals in the Phantom Zone, but that’s no respite. They’re just other insane dudes that tried to vandalize a post office several millennia ago.
I never really considered, as is shown at the beginning of this issue, that the Phantom Zone would contain actual phantoms. Like, I get that the white outlined version of the incarcerated are supposed to be ghost forms of their tangible selves, but I didn’t consider the fact that hoary specters a la the creepy librarian spook from Ghostbusters could be coursing around the indigo plane. But that’s what we see here, from General Zod’s point of view, just as light breaks through to signify his escape from the Zone. And this is pretty much the most interesting part of the story, on the first page. Much of the rest of it is Harley Quinn being not-crazy Harleen Quinzell, but still kicking the crap out of and maiming people with impunity. I mean, what the hell is the point of her being sane, then? Not having to write any jokes? Amanda Waller, desperately struggling to maintain her mental integrity, tells Harley to flip General Zod’s containment sun from “yellow” to “red,” or he’s gonna break free and go to town on everything. This proves to be difficult, however, because Belle Reve Prison is in chaos.
Well, not for everyone. Turns out that when Killer Croc lunged to bite June Moon’s face, he was actually sucking face, and now they cuddle in a puddle (hey!) of what looks like sewer runoff, basking in the afterglow of just having done it. Yep, I do mean it. Waller yells at Harley and tells her to get to stepping, so Harley tazes June Moon in order to bring the Enchantress out of her faster. This makes Killer Croc very angry because he was hoping for a post-coital BJ. Elsewhere in the prison, Hack did her…hack thing? And found out that the thing really making everyone go bonkers is a computer virus…that somehow affects living people…and is really Captain Boomerang?
The backup is a June Moon/Enchantress story. Not really a full origin, but more of a clarification of their relationship to one another, as inhabitants of the same body. It’s nothing too special, except that the artwork is absolutely lovely. I can’t remember having seen Christian Ward’s work before, but I will be on the lookout in the future. The rest of the story…well, it’s okay. The art looks sharper in this issue than it did in the last, which might be a function of the colorist. I liked the Croc/June afterglow, and the Captain Boomerang revelation at the end, but the rest of it was just Harley Quinn beating up her own teammates. I definitely didn’t get the impression she was suddenly “sane,” just that she was up against those she once fought beside. An old comic book trope. Anyway, I’m definitely sick of seeing these guys fart around Belle Reve prison for so many consecutive issues, so I hope they pack it up and do something interesting in the next.

Bits and Pieces:

Continuing the fracas from last issue...well, the fracas continues. There's a big revelation about what's driving everyone bonkers at the end of the story, but the rest of it is Dr. Harleen Quinzell making her violent rounds. The backup is about the Enchantress, and is entertaining enough, but the artwork is really something special and may be worth the cover price all by itself. If you're prone to paying three bucks to look at great pictures, that is.


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