Sunday, March 11, 2012

Suicide Squad #1

Harley Quinn has gone from cute and insane to I'm going to fuck your face and then cut it off.

Out of the New 52, this is the only title for which I have Issue #1. The main reason I got back into reading comics after so long was because of a random trip to a comic book store while in Phoenix, Arizona, where I stumbled upon the reboot. I had read the Maxi-Series 52 since I was vaguely interested in what DC was doing (even after I stopped collecting, I would keep at least one toe in the water). I hadn't realized they were doing this and was intrigued. And then I saw that they had restarted Suicide Squad and I decided to begin reading it. This was when the New 52 was on Issue Three. Which is why I'm so far behind.

While reading Issue #1, I happened on this advertisement for the New 52:

So Justice League #1 came out one week earlier than the rest. And in February, it came out one week later than the rest! Falling behind, Mr. Lee!

Well hell! I'd already decided to start buying one monthly comic! What could it hurt to pick a few more titles from this list? I decided I was going to purchase about ten of the new 52, including Animal Man, Justice League Dark and Red Lanterns because I knew Milligan was writing them, Swamp Thing, Stormwatch, Demon Knights, and Justice League International. I think I'd also decided to pick up the Batman comics and Action Comics since Morrison was heading that title.

By this time, the first issues were already hard to find (at least at my normal shop. When I finally shopped around downtown for some missing issues from the first four months, I noticed they had nearly all of them) so I decided to buy DCs Big Book of First Issues. And then I decided I'd purchase at least the first four issues of every single title to give them all a chance. Perhaps there would be a gem where I wasn't expecting to find one?

But I also knew I'd have trouble remembering the story lines from month to month. With so many titles and such a huge amount of time between stories that can be read in five to ten minutes, how could anyone keep them straight? So I decided I would blog about every comic I read. This would insure that I had notes on the comic and allow me to reread what I wrote the previous month before I read the new issue! I'd be able to follow along without having to reread past issues to stay caught up! Plus the act of writing about them would in and of itself help to retain the memory of the story line! And as an added bonus, I would spend an hour or so on each comic, making the $3-$4 price tag a little more bearable.

So that's what happened. Suicide Squad is why I'm writing this stupid blog. That along with having a bit more extra cash each month than I've had in quite some time. And that's my Origin Story!


Suicide Squad begins with Deadshot being tortured by some weirdo with a burlap sack on his head. He might actually be a normal, boring accountant. But that sack on his head makes him look weird! The other members of the Suicide Squad are also being tortured. But Deadshot is the important one. He's the guy who makes the Suicide Squad the Suicide Squad. Without Floyd Lawton and Amanda Waller, it's just a bunch of B-List villains running around getting themselves killed. But written well (like when John Ostrander was doing it), those B-List villains really shine.

Note the woman in purple. She makes a cameo in all the first issues. She's some mysterious person that showed up in Flashpoint and lauded Flash for merging Wildstorm, Vertigo, and the Mainstream DC titles with his mucking about in time. Before I'd read about her in the back pages of the comics, I noticed her in JLI #1 and suggested she might have been behind he people acting crazy.

In the first few pages, I like the way Lawton is characterized. He spits on loyalty but he despises the idea of someone ratting out the group. Even a group like the Suicide Squad which he understands is just a bunch of bottom feeding losers. But when this guy threatens someone in Lawton's life, he immediately knows he's going to kill him. No waffling. No gray areas. He just knows what needs to be done. Don't take threats lightly. That's the Deadshot I remember.

The second member of the Squad is El Diablo. He's a tattooed street thug who ended up in Belle Reeve for burning down a house full of drug dealers who weren't paying him a cut. But the dealers had family in the house and El Diablo gave himself up without a fight. So we've got a member with a conscience, apparently.

The third member is Harley Quinn. She's gone a bit more nuts than usual since The Joker was put away and then escaped Arkham leaving his face behind. She was placed in Belle Reeve for murdering the lawyers who put the Joker away. She's got a new look that a lot of people have been bitching about. She's gone from cute and crazy to overtly sexy and super nutso. I find it a fine evolution. Her old self probably would be a bit too cute for the Suicide Squad although Jewelee of Punch and Jewelee was adorable. So it could have worked. But it's also a reboot that DC hasn't been really using to its full advantage. We'll see how she evolves.

The next three members are either new or just plain obscure. Black Spider who is, surprisingly, a black man. Voltaic, as it says, is a soldier of fortune. And King Shark is a mutant shark man beast thing. These three members hold their tongues. But the last member, some guy named Savant, finally breaks down and explains to the torturers who they are. Task Force X. The Suicide Squad.

Savant explains that convicts in Belle Reeve volunteer for Task Force X just to get out of their cells for more than one hour per day. Bombs are implanted in their neck to insure they do as they're told. Then they're sent on covert missions for...well, the government, maybe? Their first mission ends up with them all being knocked unconscious by a bomb and captured. A set-up!

I do like the blow-up doll pun. Nice one, Harley!

And then they woke up being tortured. After Savant blabs, he's dragged off into the darkness. The rest of them are all knocked unconscious. When they awake, they awake to this not really all that surprising message:

Ladies and Gentlemen! Your graduating class!

The Suicide Squad also finds themselves on a plane where they're being dropped immediately into their first mission.

Not the Amanda Waller I remember!

Don't we already have enough fine looking women in the DC Universe? I liked the old Amanda Waller! It's interesting to see how DC's editors have barely done anything to change the universe in this reboot but apparently when The Flash fucked around with time in Flashpoint, it caused Amanda Waller to lose 150 pounds and 15 years!

And lastly, searching for that old pic of The Wall, I saw that Angela Bassett had played Amanda Waller in the Green Lantern movie! Damn! I wish I hadn't spoiled that. I guess it's my fault that I haven't seen the GL movie but it would have been an awesome surprise to see Amanda Waller suddenly there on the big screen. Now I'm interested in the Green Lantern movie! Let's see a Suicide Squad movie now that they've already established The Wall!

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