Review – Suicide Squad #1: Meet the New Boss

Comic Books DC This Week
Suicide Squad #1
Suicide Squad #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Suicide Squad #1 – Tom Taylor, Writer; Bruno Redondo, Artist; Adriano Lucas, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 9.5/10

Corrina: As Good As Expected!

Ray: Suicide Squad has been a troubled property for a while, with several comic runs and a movie losing sight of the strength of the concept and turning it into a generic action plot full of a-listers who know won’t die. It only takes Tom Taylor, who turned “DC Zombies” into one of the best books of 2019 and spun gold out of a video game tie-in, to fix all its problems with Suicide Squad #1, a fascinating beginning that feels like a breath of fresh air and brings back the tension of the Ostrander run.

The story kicks off not with the Squad, but with a new team of anti-heroes – the revolutionaries, a colorful, diverse, and likable band of terrorists who strike against dangerous forces around the world. Before the first arc is over, they’ve sunk several Australian nuclear subs, killed a general, and become public enemy #1. That raises the attention of Task Force X, which currently consists of Harley, Deadshot, King Shark, and Z-listers Magpie, Cavalier, and Zebra-Man. Amanda Waller now seems to be deferring to a mysterious, scarred overseer named Lok.

Lok is an interesting contrast to Waller, who Taylor writes more like her classic antihero version. While Waller was ruthless and cold-blooded, Lok seems almost casual about executing long-time members of the team and coercing compliance even before the first mission. He wants the Squad to bring in the Revolutionaries off-book so the governments of the world keep their hands clean, and that kicks off a bloody fight that results in several members of both teams dead and some great scares as various characters show off their powers. The cast is big, and several are gone almost before we know them. But there’s a great last-act twist that shows what Lok’s true plan is and upends the status quo of the Suicide Squad for the run.

It’s exactly the kind of fresh, action-packed run that this property has needed for years. If there was any dubt that Tom Taylor was one of the top writers in comics right now, this should put it to rest. DC saved one of the best ongoing series launches of the year for last.

Suicide Squad #1
High-flying antiheroes. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: Suicide Squad #1 had my attention before, because of the creative team, and now that attention is officially cemented with this first issue. There’s a line with Suicide Squad stories between empathy for the villains and showing that they are, in fact, villains. Nowhere is that line walked better than in the opening sequence with the anti-heroes. Their ideals are not horrific and somewhat laudable. That they casually drop a general so he can fall to his death, less so. They’re not good guys, by any means, but they’re not awful people either.

Then the regular Suicide Squad jumps into the fray and, gah, there’s a page with King Shark dispatching an opponent that’s enough to make anyone wince with empathy for his victim.

What we have at the end is a team emotionally traumatized and a leader in Lok that’s essentially going to treat them  as disposable quantities. Want to create empathy for villains? Put a sociopath in charge of their lives.

I’m hooked.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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1 thought on “Review – Suicide Squad #1: Meet the New Boss

  1. Interestingly, it’s not King Shark, but *The* Shark. He’s a Green Lantern villain who’s basically “Gorillaquatic Grodd”–savage beast with telepathy, telekinesis, mind control, etc.

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