Suicide Squad 2021 Annual #1 – Robbie Thompson, Writer; Dexter Soy, Eduardo Pansica/Julio Ferreira, Artists; Chris Sotomayor, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: From the start, this installment of Suicide Squad has had too many unanswered questions for me to really get on board. Why is Superboy with the Squad and no one seems to care? Why is Waller acting so evil? We finally get some answers in the final chapter of the first arc, as Rick Flag breaks out of his imprisonment and starts seeking a way to take Waller down. I’m still not a fan of Waller’s characterization, which goes so far as threatening the innocent family as a researcher, but I don’t think we’re supposed to think it’s normal. The big elephant in the room of Superboy—who was confronted with a more recent-looking Superboy at the end of last issue—is finally answered as well, and it’s a surprisingly deep cut from the character’s lore. I actually think this concept might be a bit more intriguing now that we know who he actually is, and the introduction of another long-thought-dead character in Flag’s counter-Squad adds a lot of potential. We’ll see it if it can maintain this quality in coming issues—including this week.
Suicide Squad #7 – Robbie Thompson, Writer; Eduardo Pansica/Julio Ferreira, Artists; Marcelo Maiolo, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: If anything, it feels like the second act of this book will suffer from too much ambition, not too little. We’re coming off a heavy issue that revealed Superboy was actually the degenerating clone Match. So naturally… it’s time to bring in Ambush Bug! The fourth-wall-breaking comedy character isn’t a natural fit for a book like this and mostly spends the issue trolling everyone. The team is split between a mission to hunt down Swamp Thing (in his book) and a mission to hell to steal back the Rock of Eternity, which ties into Shazam’s book. Despite the chaotic tone, it actually does feel like this title is finding an emotional core that works. Match is becoming a compelling lead as the former villain tries to figure out who he is, but every time we zero in on something good, it’s off to the next adventure. The cliffhanger here reveals the returns of some characters that are so obscure, I doubt anyone expected them to ever appear again. Points for shooting for the moon, I guess.
DC Horror Presents The Conjuring: The Lover #4 – David L. Johnson-McGoldrick/Rex Ogle, Ray Fawkes, Writers; Garry Brown, Christopher Mitten, Artists; Mike Spicer, Brennan Wagner, Colorist
Ray – 5/10
Ray: This series has been a slow burn, as a young college student with anxiety issues finds her freshman year haunted by a horrible spectre that makes her attack her roommate and others. Now expelled from college, she returns home to her emotionally abusive mother and her understanding father, and tries to reconnect with her high school girlfriend. But the spirit has other plans. While the first few issues were an engaging slow burn, unfortunately this issue starts veering into very unpleasant tropes and doesn’t seem to be horror so much as a slow-unraveling supernatural tragedy.
That dour tone continues in the backup, “The Sleeping Song,” by Ray Fawkes and Christopher Mitten. Focusing on a woman mourning the death of her infant daughter, she becomes obsessed with a music box and starts blaming her confused husband for the tragedy. It builds to a bloody denouement that just feels sad and empty.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.