Best Shots Review: SUICIDE SQUAD #1

"Suicide Squad #1" preview 12-23-19
Credit: DC
Credit: DC

Suicide Squad #1
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Bruno Redondo and Adriano Lucas
Lettering by Wes Abbott
Published by DC
‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10

Credit: DC

Task Force X recieves a gnarly, pop art re-skin in the debut of Suicide Sqaud #1. Adding a whole mess of new grist for the mill and injecting a grimly funny energy into the team, writer Tom Taylor flips the script on both a would-be team of meta antiheroes and mainstays of the Squad. Amanada Waller is out, and new commanding officer Lok is in, and he has his sights set on team-building. Aiming the current roster at predominantly all of the new character teased throughout the press cycle for this debut, called the Revolutionaries, Taylor offers up a pretty decent hook and dynamic tension between the teams, even if he doesn’t do much here besides introduce it.

Thankfully, artists Bruno Redondo and Adriano Lucas sheen over a lot of the scant characterization with immensely clean and dynamic artwork. Calling to mind the instantly singular visual styles of books like Hawkeye and Secret Avengers, Redondo and Lucas provide this new Suicide Squad with a dynamic, engaging style, moving it far from the more burly, rough-hewn looks of teams and runs past. As long as you don’t get attached to anyone beyond Deadshot and Harley, Suicide Sqaud #1 is a pretty fun, good-looking read.

Credit: DC

From the jump, Tom Taylor plants a flag for his new angle on Task Force X. Focusing entirely on the Revolutionaries, all graced with some kind of cinematic meta ability, Taylor neatly establishes their dynamic as a team and most of their abilities. Instant standouts are Wink and the Aerie, a teleporter and Warren Worthington III-esque bird-man respectfully. Led by powerhouse Ostia, the team decimates a new fleet of nuclear capable submarines, opting to steal the only one housing a live bomb in order to dispose of it’s atomic ordinance via the explosive T.N.Teen, who seems to be the Distinguished Competition’s answer to Sebastian Shaw.

Naturally, this pings the radar of the Skwad and new leader Lok is more than happy to send in his team, one including Zebra Man, the Cavalier, and King Shark. But not to stop them - to recruit them. Of course, a lot of these characters are dead by the issue’s end, but their introductions are fun enough, and Taylor sets up the Revolutionaries’ opening mission as a pretty clear statement of intent for the new additions and the voices they will be bringing to the larger arc. The cold twist of the deaths, done to assert Lok’s new iron-fisted lead over the Squad, adds a very cool tension to the title, as well.

Credit: DC

Unfortunately though, this debut issue moves too fast for us to get to a real handle on any single character nor their dynamic as a combined team. Yes, Wink and the Aerie are standouts, but that’s only because they are all over the opening set piece. Taylor’s take on the “all-stars” of the Squad also seem pretty fun too. His Harley is appropriately droll and pings well off the other “straight men” of Deadshot, King Shark, and Zebra Man. But I can’t help but feel this debut would have been a bit stronger had we gotten just a bit more of the old hands and the new arrivals mingling and possibly plotting revenge already.

But pace never seems to be a problem for art team Bruno Redondo and Adriano Lucas. Calling to mind the detailed dynamism of Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson’s work, Redondo and Lucas hit the ground in a sprint, neatly blocking the Revolutionaries’ coordinated attack on the sub launch. Using every inch of the page, including the panel gutters positioned between main panels, which serve to support the striking introduction of Wink, Redondo and Lucas open the issue with an aesthetically pleasing display of superpowers, keeping the whole cast clearly defined while highlighting their design and talents.

The same attention to striking detailing and coloring are provided to the “A-listers” as well, but again, it’s all over too quickly to really gain purchase. You wouldn’t think a comic being “too energetic” would be a negative, but Suicide Sqaud #1 will surely leave you wanting more. It has a killer hook, a ruthlessness that hasn’t been seen in recent runs, and fantastic artwork. It just needed just a touch more substance to be truly great.

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