DC's Dirty Dozen returns. How's that working out for them?
Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch. All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer. To see how this book ranks among the other new DC titles, be sure to check out our 52apolooza Rankings!
Some fan favorite criminals go out to do some good in the world. Or do they? Let's see how the new Suicide Squad matches up to the discerning tastes of the 52apolooza team.
Grab Bag Reviewer: Veggieleezy
Writing- The Suicide Squad is a team that I imagine is difficult to write. Adam Glass did the best job he could with that in mind. The plot in this book is pretty easy to follow and feels like it could be a standalone issue placed later in the series. However, using this particular story as the "pilot", as it were, doesn't entirely gel. It sets up the characters and their individual stories, but the plot of the arc isn't introduced until the last few panels.
Several characters I was previously unfamiliar with (Voltaic, Black Spider, King Shark, Diablo, and Savant) are included in the lineup with Deadshot and fan favorite Harley Quinn. The "featured" characters are Deadshot, Harley, and Diablo, though, leaving the others in the background. Almost no development is given to Shark, Spider, and Voltaic, and Savant is (spoiler) killed off as soon as we hear from him. Perhaps Glass has plans for these other characters, but for now it seems like the primary focus will be Deadshot, Harley, and Diablo.
Something I like to do when I read, especially with comic books, is to provide the characters with their own voices. For me, Harley has always sounded like Arleen Sorkin. Now that she's been made over, it feels like her "voice" has changed. She's been recast with Tara Strong in the upcoming Arkham City video game, so perhaps this is a chance to recreate her as a character. Personally, though, I don't care for it.
Art- While the art in this issue isn't perfect, it's one of the best examples of having the art going hand in hand with the writing. It's a little difficult to explain it better than that. The color palettes are dark and full and the characters are rough and angry. Like many other people, though, I felt that the makeover of Harley Quinn was unnecessary. I appreciate what they're trying to do but it feels like they've sexed her up for the sole purpose of bringing in horndog readers.
Within the story, there are some pages where the art makes more sense than others. The opening panels set the tone for the rest of the book, showing Deadshot being tortured with rats. The following splash page is actually pretty cool, in my opinion. It shows all of the characters being tortured in manners that relate to their skills and powersets. Something I thought was a nice touch was the tinting of the panels during the flashback sequences; reminded me of the different chapters in Reservoir Dogs. However, the dark and gritty style really only fits best during the torture sequence. Still, it's a very nice looking book.
Accessibility- Accessibility is one of the prime things going for this book. So far, it's one of the best books I've seen in this regard. This issue alone explains practically everything you'd need to know about the team and the history behind it. Of course things have changed to some degree with the reboot, but still it is very easy to get into.
I'm far from DC's target audience with this one, but I felt like it was a book I'd be able to pick up and read without too much issue. I was right about that much. There have been some changes that have been cause for complaint (Harley's makeover, Deadshot's shaved, Waller's thinned down), but for me I wasn't bothered by any of this. Longtime fans may have problems with these changes and new fans probably won't even know the difference.
Enjoyability- One word I wouldn't use to describe this book is "fun". It's dark and grim to the point of trying too hard. Still, it has a certain air to it that feels like a neo-noir movie. Going back to my earlier Reservoir Dogs reference, to me this book seems like it could be a Tarantino movie (for better or worse). There's always the possibility of violence, which is what gives Tarantino (and Hitchcock before him) his edge.
That said this book is far from being on par with them. Even though I said it could be a Tarantino film, it certainly is not. The interrogation/torture scenes are cool for me because I enjoy those kinds of scenes in films. In comic books, I don't really think it works. They lean too much on it and make it the primary focus of the book.
Overall Opinion- One arc that came to mind for me while I was reading this was Mark Waid's Amazing Spider-Man #578-9, featuring the Shocker trapping a subway train in the tunnel. The two issues take place in one place and time and build it naturally. Suicide Squad, though, takes one scene but misuses it. They spent too much time developing some characters (Diablo has potential, though) and not enough on others. Who the **** are Voltaic and Black Spider? What's King Shark's deal, aside from being a man-eating shark-man? After one issue, I feel like these things should be known.
Final Score: 70/100