Suicide Squad: Black Files #2 – Mike Barr, Jai Nitz, Writers; Philippe Briones, Artist; Scot Eaton, Penciller; Wayne Faucher, Penciller; Gabe Eltaeb, Guy Major, Colorists
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Katana Focus
Ray: This miniseries is essentially combining two series into one – a Katana solo series, and a “Suicide Squad Dark” concept involving El Diablo leading a team of magical recruits. The two are completely different and best reviewed individually. Katana is a second strong issue, kicking off right after Katana wound up trapped inside her own enchanted sword by the mysterious Kobra villain Eve. With Eve possessing her body and convincing her foster daughter Halo that she’s legitimate, they infiltrate Kobra’s base – only for “Katana” to defect and team up with the leader of Kobra, as Halo slowly discovers that she’s being lied to. More compelling is Katana’s team-up with her late husband Maseo, as they work together to navigate a surreal dreamlike dimension filled with dangerous creatures. Katana’s a character who often gets misused as the bland, stoic team member, but this series has done a good job of giving her a fuller cast of characters and storylines.
The second story, focusing on El Diablo, has the unfortunate timing of being released around the same time as the spectacular Justice League Dark – another story about a mismatched group of heroes fighting against unpredictable magical forces. But it works as an interesting side story, as Waller’s band of magical recruits face an army of Faust’s soldiers. This issue introduces a few major new elements into the DCU, starting with Aladdin – yes, that Aladdin. Now an immortal thief who supplies ARGUS with a cache of magical weapons, he’s less than enthusiastic about being used by Waller. The mission later takes the team to Gemworld, where they find that one of their former members from the last issue has been recruited against her will by Faust – and that Amethyst’s long-time enemy Dark Opal may be the closest thing they have to an ally. This issue is sort of messy, but it never lets you get bored. There’s a lot going on, most of it compelling.
Corrina: Barr is one of Katana’s co-creators, so it makes sense that he has the best take in ages on a character that’s been played as a one-note soldier for a long time. This Katana has a specific purpose to her fighting, she’s not crazy, and souls are really encased in the sword, especially Mateo. It’s these scenes between the couple that are the most compelling in the story. Mateo knows that, in many ways, his wife is as trapped by what happened to him as he is trapped by the sword.
The outer story, with Halo being betrayed, is not quite as good, but seeing the girl realize, to her horror, that her foster-mother has become a bad guy makes it more than just a simple betrayal.
The second tale, with the magical Suicide Squad, has potential but, as Ray said, given everything else going on in the supernatural corners of the DCU, it doesn’t quite measure up. On the other hand, I like this angle a ton more than anything I’ve read over the past three years in the regular Suicide Squad comic.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.