Monday, November 23, 2015

Booknote: New Suicide Squad, Vol.1

Sean Ryan, New Suicide Squad, Volume 1: Pure Insanity. New York: DC Comics, 2015. ISBN: 9781401252380. 

Genre: comics and graphic novels
Subgenre: superheroes
Format: e-book galley
Source: NetGalley

In case you are not familiar with the premise, the U.S. government creates a team of supervillains to do missions the government nor the heroes want nothing to do with. You could say they are a sort of very dysfunctional Dirty Dozen. Being villains, they are not exactly team players, but that's the least of the concerns.

The volume, which collects issues 1-8 of the series, contains two stories. The first story is a mission to Russia that soon goes awry. For one, Amanda Waller, their handler, gets a new power hungry boss who has no clue what is going on or how things really work. Two, the Russians were prepared. The squad will have to really rally on this one. The second story is a mission to China to destroy a meta-human production facility.

The government officials, mainly Waller, explain that though the squad rarely completes a mission as planned, the higher ups like it that way because it adds realism. Some may say this is a silly or bad concept. I would ask those folks if they have seen how the U.S. government works (or not) today. Just imagine our real U.S. government handling something like the Suicide Squad; hell, they can't even handle things like supplying weapons to their allies (for a real life instance of serious U.S. government incompetence, see the book Arms and the Dudes, which I recently reviewed). Sage is your typical right wing macho asshole, who in the end gets his ass handed to him by Waller. The Secretary, Sage's boss in charge of the project, is your typical bureaucrat. Waller is the one competent employee trying to make the program work, a program she knows can work but boy is it challenging. In this regard, the story is nothing terribly new.

As for characters, I hear some complain that Harley Quinn goes from very insane to somewhat lucid. I'd say that works here; insanity can go from very crazy to moments of clarity and lucidity. The rivalry between her and Joker's Daughter, while expected, does turn into a bit of slapstick at times with Black Manta as their reluctant referee. 

I read this in one sitting during bedtime. It has a fast pace from the beginning, and the pace remains fast throughout. There is plenty of action as well. I will admit that Sage's character was fairly obnoxious, but in spite of that the comic is pretty entertaining. It also has good colorful art, and in addition, there is a variant covers gallery included.

I am sure with the upcoming film there will be interest in these comics. Thus this series would make a good selection for libraries with graphic novel and comics collections. In the end, I liked it, but it was  just another comic, not terribly memorable. However, it does have some potential, so I may seek out the rest of the series to see if it improves or not.

3 out 5 stars.

Book qualifies for the following 2015 Reading Challenges:

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