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Suicide Squad #1 Review

"Guess who's back, back again."

“Guess who’s back, back again.”

Written by Rob Williams
Pencils by Jim Lee
Inks by Scott Williams
Colors by Alex Sinclair
Letters by Nate Piekos

Review by John Dubrawa

When it comes to relaunching the Suicide Squad, there ain’t no time like the present, puddin’. For better or for worse, this team of deranged misfits has been fully embedded in our cultural zeitgeist thanks to a multi-million dollar-earning film, so a new comic series featuring a roster largely comprised of  characters from that cinematic adaptation is a complete no-brainer. For the most part, writer Rob Williams’ Suicide Squad #1 appeals to those that enjoyed the film’s manic energy and colorful cast of characters, but it never quite goes beyond that novelty. And that’s surprising given Williams literally takes the team into freaking outer space.

What’s holding this issue back is that it’s treading a lot of familiar ground in an attempt to reintroduce this team. But as I observed when reviewing Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1, most readers know the concept of this book before ever turning to page one, be it through the movie or otherwise. I understand Williams wanting to create a new-reader-friendly haven with this first issue but wasn’t that what the Rebirth issue was for? Williams spends a lot of time in this “first” issue going over the team again, introducing their members (which has significantly expanded from the end of the Rebirth issue but is never mentioned) and outlining their purpose. Once the team actually gets on the mission, Williams’ script picks up, but then it’s tragically cut short by a misplaced cliff hanger that feels like a real momentum killer. The Deadshot backup story that follows is fine, but I’m desperate to break new ground with these characters.

Not only in this issue a high-profile release due to the film of the same name, but it is also a return for artist Jim Lee to penciling the interiors of an ongoing comic. His pencil work in Suicide Squad is, as expected, a big highlight of the issue barring a few panels that look surprisingly rushed (including, unfortunately, the very first one). Scott Williams’ inks and Alex Sinclair’s colors fill in Lee’s pencils quite nicely and give the book a darkened palette overall, but no where near the kind of griminess the book saw in its New 52 iteration. It is also worth noting that artist Jason Fabok draws the aforementioned Deadshot backup story, and much like his work on the back half of Geoff Johns’ Justice League, it’s magnificent. I don’t know if Fabok will be back but it was a pleasant surprise to see his artwork once again.

Verdict

Check It Out. I’m still caught up in Suicide Squad fever, so having this title relaunch with a majority of the team from the film is a well-timed treat. However, beyond the novelty of seeing Harley, Deadshot, Katana, Boomerang, Croc, and Enchantress in these familiar roles, the issue never gets the chance to show readers a whole lot that’s new. There’s a chance this series could take the team into new territory but right now it feels like too much familiar ground.

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