Suicide Squad #4 – Robbie Thompson, Writer; Eduardo Pansica, Penciller; Julio Ferreira, Inker; Marcelo Maiolo, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: This issue mostly serves as an epilogue to the recent crossover with Teen Titans Academy. Bolt got away, but Waller got a consolation prize—her collaborator Red X, who tried to betray the Suicide Squad. Now he’s a captive, but she can’t take off his mask without giving him an electric shock. This leads to a tense cat-and-mouse game between them as Red X seemingly masterminds his escape. He’s actually a bit more entertaining here than he is in the main book, coming off like a combination of Red Hood and Anarky. He also seems to know more than he’s letting on about Superboy’s presence, and I’m wondering if this is the genuine article—he seems very different from the one we saw in Young Justice. Waller continues to be the biggest weak link in this series, so far coming off as bad or worse than Lok did in the previous run, even to her own teammates. The Suicide Squad as a unit is mostly an afterthought here, and this run still seems to be struggling to find its footing.
Crime Syndicate #4 – Andy Schmidt, Writer; Kieran McKeown, Penciller; Dexter Vines, Inker; Bryan Hitch, Backup Artist; Steve Oliff, Alex Sinclair, Colorists
Ray – 7/10
Ray: Every issue seems to have a focus on one member of the Crime Syndicate, and this issue’s primary focus on Emerald Knight is some of the most intriguing material the series has. Less evil and yet maybe scarier than the rest of them, this series’ John Stewart is a man driven by good things but too scared to cast off what gives him the power he needs. Faced with an alternate version of Sinestro, he briefly sees a hint of what he could be without the corrupting ring—but this world doesn’t allow for happier endings. The cliffhanger promises some genuinely interesting new characters, but outside of John Stewart, the rest of his teammates are hard to care about. They’re just vile people, and watching Johnny Quick commit a massacre or Superwoman and Ultraman make gross advances on each other just isn’t very interesting. There’s hints of something interesting here, but this is why it’s hard to make villain books work.
Man-Bat #5 – Dave Wielgosz, Writer; Sumit Kumar, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: This series has been a surprisingly strong combination of the two versions of Man-Bat—the savage monster and the well-meaning scientist. Sure, it’s resembles a take on the Hulk a lot, with these dueling personalities, but Dave Wielgosz’s script also has a lot to say about the kind of personality that believes they can fix everyone—whether they want to be fixed or not. This final issue does a lot of good work with Kirk confronting his own mistakes and finding a way to move forward, giving us a strong if not entirely satisfying resolution to his complex relationship with his ex-wife (whose own time as an evil Man-Bat has been retconned, I assume). The ending sets up his time with the Justice League Dark and his more heroic role, although it’s odd to read a series that’s a prequel to a run that started several years back. Overall, nothing groundbreaking but a good spotlight for an underrated DC antihero.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.