Suicide Squad Black Files #3 – Mike Barr, Jai Nitz, Writers; Philippe Briones, Artist; Scot Eaton, Penciller; Wayne Faucher, Inker; Gabe Eltaeb, Guy Major, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: No Victories Here
Ray: Three issues in, the two stories in this Suicide Squad anthology are diverging in quality, and not in the way I expected. I haven’t been a huge fan of Jai Nitz’s previous El Diablo stories (although it is very impressive that he’s consistently written the character in all his solo appearances since his debut), but this six-part story has elevated the character by pairing him with his own team of magical-bases convicts. Combining originals and obscure DC antiheroes into a dysfunctional unit, this issue pits them against a major threat in the form of Sebastian Faust. The son of Felix Faust has been a hero or antihero for most of his run, but his heel turn this issue is given a good reason – even as he desperately tries to escape the curse his father put on him, it keeps coming back to haunt him. The schism in the team makes sense, and Klarion and Gentleman Ghost in particular get some good scenes.
On the other hand, the Katana story by Mike Barr seems to be losing some momentum this issue. Katana’s body has been stolen by Eve, the lover of the leader of Kobra, and the two of them have some weird love play going on with her stuck in the body of her arch-nemesis. The Suicide Squad battle the seemingly-evil Katana and Halo (the poor naive girl just can’t figure out what’s going on and is defending her foster mom even if she’s acting kind of evil).
More compelling is Katana trapped inside the Soulsword. With Maseo by her side she battles against the evil previous owner of the sword as well as an army of undead minions. This feels like a genuine relationship, which is a point in its favor, but too much of it feels like a generic zombie thriller. The ending sets up more Freaky Friday antics in the next three issues. Both stories are readable, but the former has more hooks to bring me back.
Corrina: Each story had an element that compelled me to care about what happened to the characters but, like Ray, I hadn’t expected the magical Suicide Squad tale to be so interesting. That’s what a terrific villain can do for a story, as Sebastian Faust is not an ordinary threat–he’s not out for power for its own sake and nor does he believes he knows best for the world.
He’s simply put the safety of his family above everything else. El Diablo makes a good counter to Faust’s obsession, as he knows well where that might lead.
My main problem with this is still “how the hell does Waller put bombs into magical beings like, say, Gentleman Ghost?” How does she even hold him? How does that make sense? But, yes, it’s a good read.
As for Katana, once the body takeover happened, I feared the story would go there, that Eve would use Katana’s body for physical intimacy with her lover. The story handles that with kid gloves, implying but not showing it, but still, the Ick Factor on that was strong for me and didn’t overcome the much better scenes of Katana and Mateo working together inside the mystical realm of the soulsword.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.