Suicide Squad #5 review

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first.

Task Force X chief Amanda Waller tortures yet another member of her team. Peacemaker’s ‘crime’?

He asks for a little explanation as to what’s going on in her head.

Someone who’s happier to fall in with The Wall’s orders – backed up, of course, by the old brain bomb – is a character new to the series.

You don’t recognise him? Here’s how he used to look.

So, new uniform, new mission. He’s stopped randomly attacking the citizens of Metropolis and become a multiversal explorer. His mission is to bring back intel on the other earths and, if he comes across likely candidates, new recruits for the squad.

Earth 3, home to dark versions of the Justice League, should be prime recruitment territory.

Maybe not.

And back at Belle Reve, Waller gets some interesting information.

Swamp Thing. I never saw that coming. It’s impressive how well writer Robbie Thompson is integrating the latest Suicide Squad series into the new DC Multiverse, with ties to the current Swampy and Crime Syndicate mini-series. He even has Bloodsport on the scene of the latter’s opening Starro story (it’s a shame, mind, that nowhere does this issue mention that these books are on the stands right now).

Bloodsport – poised to make his big-screen debut in the upcoming The Suicide Squad film – is a lot more interesting than in his original iteration. Not only does Robert DuBois have the nutty teleporting weapons of the second guy to use the name, his original backstory – minus Vietnam – is used to add a little poignancy to the tale.

It’s good to see Peacemaker openly question Waller and while I hate seeing him horribly abused by a civil servant gone mad, if it brings this version of Waller’s day of reckoning closer, good. Waller, once a good person who made tough decisions, is now an out and out sadist, unwilling to listen to anyone else. Are we sure this isn’t the Earth 3 version?

This change of pace issue – Peacemaker apart, the rest of the regular squaddies are restricted to a single page showing them recovering from the recent Red X business – is another compelling chapter in what’s turning out to be a great series. We have fascinating characters, surprises aplenty, action a-go-go, well-times humour and eye-popping art.

The illustrations this time come from a gang of artists, with no credits breakdown as to who did what, so a big hand to Dexter Soy, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira and Joe Prado. The first two are generally pencillers, the latter inkers, and I think I can guess at who did what, but I’ll spare myself possible embarrassment. Instead, I commend the gang especially for the striking presentation of Bloodsport and the intensity of the Waller-Pacemaker scenes.

Alex Sinclair puts the usual thought into his colour schemes, from the sickly green lighting of Waller’s office to the twilight tones on Earth 3. Wes Abbott’s clean letters are a treat, and when it comes to identifying character narration, the wee skull for Waller and bullethole for Bloodsport are perfect.

Pansica and Ferreira’s cover illo, coloured by Marcelo Maiolo, looks to have been created for possible trade paperback use, given it features Peacemaker rather than Bloodsport, the character who’s actually on Earth 3 this month. It’s very good.

Next month looks set to be a meeting of criminal minds as the Crime Syndicate meet Task Force X. Expect fireworks.

8 thoughts on “Suicide Squad #5 review

  1. I think Soy did the first 14 pages, or most of them – concluding with the splash panel with Ultraman. Among those 14, there are 2 pages that look like they might not be his. And then what the other 3 artists did, couldn’t say. Soy usually does his own inking, so I can’t figure out why so many other artists were involved.

    I do like the way this tied in to the first 3-part arc of Crime Syndicate. Less fond of the Swamp Thing tie-in, but only because I’m not reading that book. (I probably should have been, for Mike Perkins’ art on the first 4 issues. But I read too many monthlies as it is, gotta draw the line somewhere.)

    Future State: Suicide Squad took place entirely on Earth-3 – and was kind of confusing, because there were at least 3 teams (2 Task Force teams and some other group of super-villains), and that wasn’t even including the Crime Syndicate itself. And there were two Wallers. This could very well be the Earth-3 Waller.

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    1. Thanks for the artistic breakdown bid, see, that’s why I gave up, it’s almost always a case of ‘that long sequence looks like ????? apart from those two pages’. Drive me nuts! I did try the first issue of the new Swamp Thing, I liked the art but the script was a real drag. And I’m so sick of reinventions of perfectly great characters.

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  2. Pansica is of course a penciller, but I’d have to go to the trouble of figuring out what Ferreira usually does – and while I think of Joe Prado as an inker, teamed often with Ivan Reiss, he’s also done pencils. So, I gave up. Sometimes DC gives more detailed credits, but not here.

    Speaking of Swamp Thing, for me, Ram V is a mixed success. I was ok with a lot of what he did when he took over for Tynion on Justice League Dark, but not all of it. The same goes for Catwoman. And lately he’s been writing quite a bit in the omniscient narrator voice which I dislike.

    Reinvented characters make for interesting Wikipedia articles:

    “Bloodsport is an alias used by several fictional supervillains appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics.”

    “Peacemaker is the name of a series of superheroes originally owned by Charlton Comics and later acquired by DC Comics.”

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  3. I haven’t read anything of the new Swamp Thing besides the Future State issues, but I’m looking forward to digging into them soon. Likewise, it might be time to revisit the Future State Suicide Squad issues, now that we have a sense of where the Squad is at now.

    I liked this issue, but not as much as previous ones. Blame it on the lack of Culebra. But it was a fun look at Earth 3, and I’m starting to warm to the idea that this could be the Earth-3 Waller, too, given her preoccupation with the world and recent events in Infinite Frontier. I wonder if the event DC is building up to is an all-out infiltration from alternate worlds, a la Marvel’s Secret Invasion?

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  4. That seems to be the real downfall to me with DC’s horror books. They can be really wordy and purple, as everyone follows the Alan Moore model…and there’s only one Alan Moore.

    As soon as the current series starts appearing on DC Infinite, I’ll jump right on it! (I really hope it goes overseas soon; I think you’ll love it.)

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    1. I bet you’re right! If it doesn’t go global soon, I might to some of the unread stuff on. My shelf, such as the whole of Sandman Mystery Theatre and the original Fourth World stories.

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