Sunday, September 4, 2016

Suicide Squad Special: War Crimes #1

Hopefully this image is literal.

The Things!
• I know I rave about Ostrander's run on the Suicide Squad from nearly thirty years ago but I'm not ready for this. I'm not ready to be disappointed by Ostrander's new interpretation of the team. I didn't mind being disappointed by The Others when it was written by Ostrander because The Others were terrible. Hmm. Maybe that's how I can get around not feeling disappointed! Since most of The Suicide Squad's since Ostrander's run have been terrible (or interesting but a bit confusing and cut short, like Giffen's run), I can just read this as if it were another disappointing attempt at making the team work again. And then if it isn't disappointing, I can be surprised and relieved! Although then I'll just be disappointed that Ostrander isn't writing the Squad regularly anymore. Either way, it seems like this is going to leave me feeling terrible.

• One thing I might be able to count on, especially since this is called "War Crimes", is an actual story and sensible plot. Ostrander always seemed to be able to come up with a plot that would work on its own without involving the team. He didn't begin the story from the point of view that he was writing a Suicide Squad story. He would come up with an actual plot that could be an international incident and then explode that plot by having a bunch of chaotic jackasses in charge of solving it.

• The story begins with a guy named Mr. Secretary being kidnapped by Suicide Squad Europe. That's a weird name: Mr. Secretary! I wonder if that's Greek?

• The European version of the Suicide Squad is called Strikeforce Europa which proves Europeans aren't too smart. You're supposed to be secret so that other governments can't tie you to them! It's not like America created Task Force America! The "X" variable is the important part of the name! You should be Strikeforce Zed! Of course, Strikeforce Europa might want everybody to know exactly on whose behalf they're committing international crimes. Besides, who is behind some organization named Europa anyway?! The European Union itself? Just one or two European countries? The organizers of Eurovision?

• Strikeforce Europa is kidnapping Mr. Secretary because they want to try him for war crimes. That's well and good but don't you think, Strikeforce Europa, that maybe you're going to be in a little bit of hot water for killing all of Mr. Secretary's bodyguards and press secretaries? It's going to be hard to get other people to side with your righteousness when they realize you've killed several innocent people just doing their jobs. Sure, this Mr. Secretary may have committed some war crimes which you'd like to see him brought to justice for on an international stage. But at this point, it would have been better just to shoot him in the head as opposed to letting the only guy you suspect of war crimes live while killing everybody around him.

• Amanda Waller lets the Suicide Squad know that they'll be off to deal with this situation. Amanda points out Mr. Secretary is definitely guilty so it's kind of a problem for the United States that he'll be put on public trial for his crimes. And since the government can't invade The Netherlands where he's been taken, it's up to the Suicide Squad to sneak in and rescue him. Or, more probably, just kill him.

• So far this story is just an excuse to have the Suicide Squad battle Strikeforce Europa. The rest of the story is pretty flimsy!

"To Barney" in Australian means to discuss Franz Kafka's longer works over coffee and doughnuts.

• Amanda explains that the leader of Strikeforce Europa, Angel, kidnapped Mr. Secretary on her own initiative and that her superiors are upset. That sounds like just the kind of thing superiors say to distance themselves from some underling's terrible and murderous actions!

• Amanda also explains that Mr. Secretary's crew who were killed were all ex-military guys working for a private security company operating in the Gulf. Which means none of them were probably innocent so I retract my complaint about them being killed. They probably deserved it!

• I'm sorry! Nobody deserves to be killed in a random terrorist attack! I mean, some people might deserve it a little more than other people, but nobody really deserves it! That blood-lust was just my Liberal Hate Rage showing.

• Strikeforce Europa has five members and the Suicide Squad has six. So maybe Strikeforce Europa has a secret member to make the match-up even? Or maybe Mad Dog is planning on betraying the Squad?

• Here's the probably match-ups: Angel versus Harley; Lionheart versus Deadshot; Guerrieroa versus Captain Boomerang; Kavga versus Diablo; and Rick Flag versus Schatten. Unless Mad Dog will battle Schatten and Rick Flag will battle the mysterious sixth member of Strikeforce Europa!

• The Squad have a three minute window to grab Mr. Secretary while he's being transported from his cell to his trial. Amanda has a plan but Plan A always goes tits up. So mostly the Squad will probably just be winging it. I mean, they have to battle Strikeforce Europa before securing Mr. Secretary and that should take longer than three minutes.

• At least they got right to the meat of the book! Although Floyd and Flag are missing. I smell Plan A in action!

• Lawton and Rick have managed to get jobs as security escorting Mr. Secretary. So while the rest of the Squad distract Strikeforce Europa, they begin murdering all of the security personnel escorting Mr. Secretary. Now can I complain about innocent people just doing their jobs getting killed for this prick Mr. Secretary? Or am I supposed to believe that the Hague has hired Mr. Secretary's security force to transport him from prison and that they can all speak Dutch and that Mr. Secretary doesn't recognize any of them?

• After Mr. Secretary is secure, the rest of the Squad are told to scarper. That's Australian for "go by the store and grab a gallon of milk, a stick of butter, and a loaf of bread."

I'm so used to nobody dying in this comic book I forgot about this option for Mad Dog!

• According to the staples, I am exactly halfway through the comic book and it's told the story I was expecting it to tell. So it looks like it's one of those spy thrillers where the initial problem is solved early so that a new problem can crop up and make a headache for everybody. I suppose the new issue will be Strikeforce Europa attacking the Suicide Squad in the United States. I don't really care what happens to Mr. Secretary at this point. The Squad may as well kill him since they really only needed to keep him from embarrassing the United States government.

• Oh. I should have turned the page before assuming that the Squad escaped after Mad Dog's head blew off. Apparently it's just gone into the chase scene part of the thriller.

• But the secret sixth member appears: Shado! Although now that means Strikeforce Europa has too many members for a fair fight! Unless Guerrieroa was killed by Mad Dog's neck bomb. That would be acceptable.

• "Hey, John? I see you want me to draw a car flipping over from an arrow in the front tire? I don't know if that would really...." "I'm fucking John Ostrander, bitch! You draw what I write, you piece of fucking shit amateur!"

• Shado is actually an independent mercenary working for Black Mountain. I guess Mr. Secretary hadn't signed the checks yet for the last month. Otherwise why would they care if he was killed? I'm sure Mr. Secretary's secretary could run the company.

• Shado escapes with Mr. Secretary by helicopter as the Squad's diversion team follow after. Flag and Lawson (who is unconscious and probably dead because--Remember!--motorcycles are for organ donors, kids!

• Strikefore Europa all arrive at the scene in their own cars. I think that's...adorable? Also, um, a waste of gas, of course!

• Captain Boomerang mentions how the whole mission is "right in the crapper--right on schedule." Just like I said! As if I held some spectacular title or something?

• Captain Boomerang knocks the helicopter out of the sky in a way that I don't feel I need to complain about because did you see the way the car flipped? What the hell kind of physics class were being given in the seventies? Unless Ostrander took physics in the sixties! I don't know how old he is! Plus, I mean, the helicopter thing is totally what would happen! Maybe the boomerang remaining in control and on trajectory under the downward thrust of the rotors might not be correct. But that's really being picky and I'm not smart enough to be that picky! I'm just smart enough to know that blowing a front tire on a moving car will not cause it to flip directly over like a bike with a broom handle stuck in the spokes.

• My initial match-ups are all screwed up because the line-ups have changed drastically. Harley Quinn is even battling Shado who wasn't even an option at the beginning! So basically it's just a huge melee now.

• Somehow Mr. Secretary survives the helicopter crash. I guess people just survive helicopter crashes in Suicide Squad stories. It's becoming their thing!

• The Suicide Squad manage to escape leaving Strikeforce Europa chomping at the bitch for a rematch.

• Wait. Did I get that saying right?

• When the Squad returns to U.S. soil, Amanda shoots Mr. Secretary in the back. The Squad is all, "WTF?!" And Amanda is all, "Reasons!" And that's it!

The Review!
You know what? I'm not disappointed at all! This story isn't going to change the face of comic books but it took a standard Suicide Squad story and mixed it up a little bit. Ultimately, it all went as any Suicide Squad fan would have expected. I guess Waller shooting the guy who we all knew had to be killed anyway was a twist. Or was it? I mean, Waller loves to shoot dicks when she gets a chance. The characterizations were familiar and I like a Squad that ultimately understands that they need to work as a team, no matter how insecure the writer feels about the audience buying it. This was like a glimpse into Ostrander's old days. Deadshot and Flag in control and taking the mission seriously. A loose cannon clown (previously it was two clowns, Punch and Jewelee). And Boomerang being a dick and getting somebody killed on purpose for the lolz. I thought I would be disappointed either way this turned out but I forgot it could turn out this way: good enough to be enjoyed but nothing revolutionary that made me think, "Why the fuck isn't Ostrander the permanent writer on this thing?!"

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