Writer: Rob Williams
Artists: Jim Lee/Alex Sinclair/Jason Fabok
I’ve figured this out. The latest Suicide Squad incarnation is essentially Suicide Squad: the Animated Series, except without the actual animated series to accompany the comic. Hollywood often tacks a cartoon onto a hot film property to keep the wave of fandom going. The trend started with Batman: The Animated Series which launched immediately after 1992’s Batman Returns. That worked out wonderfully. More often, the product just isn’t as captivating, like when we got an Iron Man series in 2008 and nobody watched it.
The rebirthed Suicide Squad is essentially the same philosophy: you’re being sold a product to ride on the hype you experienced when you walk in and out of the theater. It’s: hey, we have more Suicide Squad for you. To that end, the continuity doesn’t exactly match the film’s. There’s a character here who was clearly killed in the movie, but that’s OK, because Batman: The Animated Series did the same thing with continued use of the Joker and Penguin even though they died, too. You’re not supposed to care because you’re getting more product.
To that end, the lead story by Williams and Jim Lee isn’t all that gripping–for goodness’ sake, it only fills half the issue–but it gets the job done. This is a gateway comic to get new readers who want more movie Squad. So there’s Waller, Flag, Deadshot, Harley, Croc, and most of the rest. If a filmgoer wants to make a jump from Suicide Squad the movie to Suicide Squad the comic, it’ll do it. A seasoned reader may get annoyed that we essentially get half of a Williams/Lee story, which is essentially setup for the larger story, and much of it is spent on Killer Croc puking into a helmet. (Really.) But at this point, it isn’t for the seasoned reader. It’s for the folks walking out of the theater and (hopefully) into a comic shop. At least Lee’s art is better than his normal output of late (athough he does make Waller look pathetically small in one panel).
The backup by Williams and Fabok is the price you pay for Jim Lee only being able to draw 20 pages a month. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with the backup, but this is what happens when you put Lee on a bimonthly schedule. Anyway, Fabok is one of DC’s top current artists and a worthy backup to Lee, giving us the first of many short focal stories on each of the squad members. (For pity’s sake, don’t do a Harley backup–she has, like, three monthly books.) It’s a competent enough story about what motivates Deadshot and appropriately mirrors his movie character…if you can get over the fact that he’s white and doesn’t look at all like Will Smith.
Suicide Squad is a movie-driven comic that gets the job done. It’s not the Ostrander-penned classic series, and you really shouldn’t expect it to be on the heels of a movie. But it delivers even if it isn’t Shakespeare.
Rating: Three puke-filled helmets, because that is a thing that happened in this issue, out of five.