Suicide Squad #2 review

Amanda Waller is gone. She’s ceded her job as Task Force X supremo to the mysterious Lok. And where it used to be that missions were voluntary – a super convict agrees to be a covert op for the US in return for remission – there are new rules.

It doesn’t actually sound like a bad deal, except that new recruits Fin, the Aerie, Wink, Thylacine, Deadly Six, Chaos Kitten, Jog and Osita and old hands Deadshot, Killer Shark and Harley Quinn can’t turn down the deadly gigs. And Deadshot is the only ‘Suicide Squad’ regular to have survived dozens of missions, an awful lot of his partners have proven terribly temporary.

While teleporter Wink of the Revolutionaries sensibly suggests the two halves of the team get to know each other with a cinema trip, the one-eared Lok won’t hear of it. He has a mission for them right now – go to the island of Badhnisia, get rid of the sitting president and instal the US-approved new guy.

Split into two teams, the new Suicide Squad members duly embark on their mission, with Lok and his aide Zebra-Man calling the shots from a safe distance. And things don’t go according to plan…

I know, an elliptical pause! That’s to imply the tension in this second issue of the revamped series from writer Tom Taylor, illustrator Bruno Redondo, colourist Adriano Lucas, letterer Wes Abbott, editors Andrea Shea and Alex R Carr and the trusty production department folk. Little by little we’re getting to know the new characters, with aquatic telepath Fin getting the best showcase this time.

There’s action, deceit, reversals, suspense, humour, dialogue that’s snappy without being self-consciously smart-arse, and surprises aplenty. The book starts and ends in the same place, and flashes back in between, the circular structure building to a powerful pay-off – this isn’t ‘three days earlier’ for no good reason.

Taylor has done some great work at DC and Marvel, but I think he’s finally found his signature book – he’s plugged into the spirit of the classic Ostrander/Yale/McDonnell Suicide Squad but has bags of ideas of his own and a clutch of new characters to interrogate/kill. He’s developing a genuine ensemble here – while current DC sweetheart Harley Quinn’s around, and entertaining, she’s not hogging the action.

And a big, manly hug to Taylor for setting part of the tale in Badhnisia, the oldest Madeupistan in the DC Universe – it’s the mysterious place from which Johnny Thunder’s magical lightning hails.

Redondo’s art is a feast for the eyes, his characters living and breathing on the page. There’s not one who doesn’t pulse with rare visual life, while Lucas’s colours pop where appropriate and add emotion elsewhere. There’s a Pop Art quality to compositions that we’ve not seen at DC since Mikel Janin’s Grayson work, and a sniff of the great Saul Bass.

I recommended this series last month. I’ll likely recommend it next month. I definitely recommend it this month – Suicide Squad, in two issues, has become my favourite DC comic. Do not miss it.

5 thoughts on “Suicide Squad #2 review

  1. I picked up #1 just because I think so highly of Tom Taylor after his work on Injustice and DCeased – I don’t love horror, but was curious about DCeased, and Taylor’s writing was just perfect. Lean, economical, nothing wasted or too much.

    He’s just so good at the craft. His books are quick reads, and that’s just fine with me – he knows what he’s doing and doesn’t need walls of narration (like a Snyder or Tynion) or mountains of dialog (Bendis) to get the job done. So many pages in this book where the storytelling is original and clear (and with the right amount of humor), yet there are so few words on the page, especially in the latter half of the book – and of course immense credit goes to Redondo and Lucas. I like writers who trust their artists to tell a clear story.

    While I didn’t expect to, it looks like I’ll be continuing this title!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This series has astonished me twice in a row with how good it is. Between the initial opening scene, and then the revelation of what was actually going on… I was left as speechless as Deadshot.

    And speaking of Deadshot, it looks like Zebra Man is the latest Batman villain to being groomed to become an improbably favorite! Although I wouldn’t count Magpie out yet. I still say she’s not dead until we see a body…especially with her getting a mention this time around!

    I haven’t been reading Taylor’s other work, other than a Batman done-in-one here and there. But I’ll definitely have my eye on him in the future, and will absolutely pick up DCEASED as soon as Comixology puts the collection on sale… certainly around Halloween, if not sooner.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The 3-part followup series, DCeased Unkillables by Taylor, debuts on Feb 19. But I guess it would be awkward to read that before reading the original series.

      Liked by 2 people

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