Suicide Squad Annual #1 – Cullen Bunn, Writer; Ronan Cliquet, Artist; Jason Wright, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: In a story that would be more at home with an October release, Cullen Bunn jumps on Suicide Squad for an oversized annual that sends a replacement Squad into the middle of a Bayou nightmare. The issue begins with a disturbing segment where a surgery in the medical facility of Belle Reve goes very wrong. One patient dies, and another patient – seemingly attached to the dead one – goes savage, killing the doctors and escaping. The main Suicide Squad is currently involved in their top-secret Atlantis mission, so Amanda Waller has no choice but to put together a team from the B-squad. Led by Green Arrow villain Merlyn and containing Ragdoll (probably not the Gail Simone version), Shimmer, Tao Jones, Scream Queen, Skorpio, and Baby Boom, if you haven’t heard of most of these, there’s probably a reason. You know what happens to Suicide Squad teams with a lot of extras? I’m pretty sure some of these, like Baby Boom, are actually originals. So yeah, all of these characters are not coming back from the mission, I’m guessing.
But that’s kind of what makes a Suicide Squad comic work, isn’t it? The uncertainty is missing from the current a-list team, but it’s definitely here. As the team descends into the swamp to track this mysterious woman – who is dragging her dead partner around with her and is seemingly haunted by violent ghosts – they find out she’s not the only threat in the Swamp. Swamp Thing finds her to be a tortured person seeking redemption, and he’s less than happy to see an army of violent criminals traipsing around his swamp. What ensues is essentially a long, bloody spook house adventure as one member of the Squad after another falls prey to these ghosts. I think part of the problem with this issue, though, is that many characters die before we have any reason to care. There’s a brief hint at a romance between two of the criminals, but otherwise many of them are just there to die. The brutal finish, and a confrontation between Waller and Swamp Thing, definitely make this worth reading, but it feels like a complete contrast between this and the A-list Williams run. I’m not sure either extreme is the perfect fit.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.