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2015-07-22

New Suicide Squad, Volume 1: Pure Insanity and Defective


New Suicide Squad, Volume 1

Pure Insanity

by Sean Ryan
I have to say I have mixed feelings about DC. While a lot of the standalone work is excellent and the Vertigo imprint has put out incredible work, I often feel like the main continuity work is a bit odd. Superman, for instance, feels a bit dated. Batman has become a self-parody. The entire concept of "families" in DC is very bizarre to me. For the most part, I stick to stand alone or Vertigo properties. That said many of those are among my favorite comics: We3, Red Son, Hellblazer, Sandman, Gotham by Gaslight, Y: the Last Man, Watchmen, and Fables. It seems that in many ways DC takes itself less seriously than Marvel and is much more willing to take risks.

I also have to say that I am not too familiar with the Suicide Squad's previous iteration. My awareness of it came mainly out of the growing hype for the new movie. Just a brief glance into online material about the team gave me a list of members I was either unfamiliar with or vaguely familiar with. Except for Harley Quinn.

I am a huge fan of Harley. The character always struck me as complex for a villain in comics. Yes, she's crazy, but she is aware of it and delights in it. Beyond that she is extremely devoted in her love (bordering on obsession) with the Joker. She knows he takes advantage of her and that he is bad for her, but just like real people stuck in abusive relationships she can't seem to escape. Harley is probably my favorite DC villain. So I figured I'd give New Suicide Squad a try.

For those not aware. The idea of the Suicide Squad is that a top-secret military agency with the backing of the President wants to conduct illegal and messy operations. These missions are so dangerous and have such a high impact for political fallout if pinned on the US that they decide the best solution is to use people who they can easily deny and no one would question -- supervillains.

As the new series opens with Pure Insanity, a new program director is appointed to keep an eye on the squad and their handler. He introduces conflict by adding Deathstroke and Joker's Daughter enraging Deadshot and Harley Quinn respectively. An insane disaster follows which ironically does manage to accomplish the tasks. Betrayal, injury, and in-fighting continue but somehow the group makes it out mostly intact.  Black Manta starts to show a glimmer of leadership.

Defective continues the story line with a second mission with Captain Boomerang rejoining the team along with Ninja Man-Bats, which I think is DC's way of reminding us that it is in fact still DC. Again chaos breaks out and again Black Manta's budding leadership seems to pull everything together.

Throughout both stories, a back plot of political intrigue is brewing, sinister multinationals are hinted at, and new adversaries start to lurk. All in all, I think the issues are a great introduction to the team and I have to say I will keep my eyes out for the upcoming issues.

I do have some criticisms. First, I don't like the direction the art for Harley is going. It seems like they are trying to make her too modern-gritty and it doesn't seem to mesh too well of how I envision the character.

Also, the use of multiple artists leads to inconsistencies across the book. Take bonnie:
Sorry Boss, I had a few Bloody Marys before work. 
The Joker's Aunt?
I wonder if she will realize I'm her younger sister? 
I changed clothes and got my hair done on the way home.

No, Bonnie, it's not ok.

It also appears the ethnicity of the unnamed Chinese Metahuman was in dispute by the artists:

Very Chinese
Maybe Chinese?
Channing Tatum?
Also, there are occurrences of very sloppy art like this car:

The worst problem is the seemingly simple matter of how many sides the Pentagon has.
Correct!

Wrong!

That aside, New Suicide Squad is a ton of fun and I'm really excited to see where it goes!

I received a digital copy of this book for review from NetGalley and the publisher.


On Goodreads.