Elsewhere in the DCU – Suicide Squad #16 and #17

Welcome to another installment of our look into the wider DC Universe, this time around we will be focusing a little more on the Suicide Squad. When we last crossed paths with the Squad, it was during the Justice League vs. Suicide Squad crossover, as we saw Amanda Waller’s first Squad wreak havoc on her current one, with the League caught in the middle to put things right.

I’ll give you a brief synopsis of what’s been happening in the main Suicide Squad book since then (covering issues #10-15), then we will dive into both Suicide Squad #16 and #17.

The story so far…

Burning Down The House!

After the events of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller is assassinated at the hands of one of her own, Deadshot.

Deadshot seemingly aligns himself with Rustam from Amanda’s first Squad, who is bent on getting revenge and destroying everything she has built for betraying him all those years ago.

Meanwhile, the Squad had been busy preventing an outbreak of Belle Reve by the Rustam, as Hack discovers there is a traitor within the organization running the Suicide Squad. Unfortunately, before she can do anything about it, she is killed by Capt. Boomerang, at Harcourt’s command, who, after Amanda Waller’s death, gets promoted to her job.

Katana and Flagg are taken prisoner, and Katana swears that she will kill Deadshot for his betrayal. So during the final confrontation, what’s left of the Squad squares off against Rustam and his team, Katana makes good on her promise, and she cuts off Deadshot’s left arm with her soul sword. It is only then revealed that Amanda Waller is alive, and she orchestrated her death in order to get Rustam to “remove” people and obstacles in her way, and return to her position as head of the Suicide Squad. She had Deadshot shoot her, but before that she had Enchantress cast a spell, for her resurrection afterward. In order for his co-operation, Deadshot would be granted custody of his daughter Zoe.

All these events lead us into the following…

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Suicide Squad #16

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 26, 2017

Cover date: June 2017

“Earthlings on Fire” – Part One

Writer: Rob Williams
Penciller: Tony S. Daniel
Inker: Sandu Florea

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

Amanda Waller pays a visit to Lexcorp to see the man himself, Lex Luthor. The two converse over the recent events from Justice League vs. Suicide Squad crossover to its follow up, as “The Wall” finds herself back in charge of things. Lex gives Waller a gift, which she doesn’t open, and appears to be uninterested in.

Meanwhile the Squad break into the very same building’s lower levels, to locate and secure an item of great importance. They unexpectedly come across some experiments gone wrong, in some malformed Superman clones, inferior Bizarros. The Squad does battle, only to catch the attention of Lex, as he heads down to put an end to the ruckus in his Super-Armor.

After some back and forth with the Squad and Amanda, Lex tells her to open his gift that he gave her. Turns out Lex gave Waller a chunk of Kryptonite, the very thing she had the Squad infiltrate the building to steal for her.

Once back in Belle Reve, Waller puts the Kryptonite to good use, as she uses it to cut into General Zod’s head, and plant a Kryptonite Nuero-Bomb.

5Story – 5: This is Williams at his best, I loved this issue! Not just for the Superman connection, but the story as a whole. Waller has one of the most powerful beings in the DCU at Belle Reve, and she will do anything to use him to her advantage. With General Zod on her Squad, she has Justice League level power at her disposal.

I love the way Williams wrote Lex. A smooth talking, charming man, that is in the know of all the secret events that take place unknown to the rest of the world. I love when Lex is written this way, In the post-Crisis era, Lex was a man that valued knowledge above all, as it was the best way to gain power. Here he is the same, only he has alien armor that would put even Tony Stark to shame. Also he appears to be on the side of the angels, but you can never really trust Lex 100%.

One character I liked a lot this issue was Enchantress. I love how she turned the Squad into Zombies to fool the “security Lex-Bot,” which didn’t register them as living beings anymore. But most important, I found it funny that when she teleported the Squad into Lexcorp through her “blood portal,” Capt. Boomerang’s arm didn’t make the trip. She mentioned that she will find it eventually, but what really caught my interest, was Deadshot asking her afterward, if she could pull anyone’s arm from her “blood portal”. Meaning there is a chance that Deadshot may get his arm back. This pleases me, as I don’t really like the idea of him having a bionic arm.

All in all, this was an awesome issue, and I can’t wait to read what comes next, especially now that Zod will be officially part of the Squad. I know that he will be part of the Superman Revenge Squad over in Action Comics, but I really do hope he stays with the Squad for a while, especially since they did liberate him from the Black Vault.

5Art – 5: I’ve been a fan of Tony Daniel’s art for quite some time. I think he has a wonderful technique in his story telling abilities. He knows how to lay out a page well, as every panel serves a purpose in forwarding the story. Page 2 is a great example of this, as Lex sits with Amanda, and giving her his special gift.

Page 3 is one of my favorites though, I love the way Lexcorp Towers (I hope that is what they are called) are segmented off, and the view we get of the underground basement levels as well.

The different Bizarros were pretty neat too. You can tell that Daniel had fun with them. Some of them made no sense visually, but this is a comic, and sometimes it’s fun to draw weird looking monsters.

One of the things I have always loved about Daniel’s art is the way he draws tech. The amount of detail he puts into it, and the way it looks, as if it really may be functional. With that said though, the Lex Super-Armor looked a tad “flat”. Which is a shame, as his Deadshot looks pretty good. Other than Jim Lee, I think Daniel is the only other artist I have enjoyed drawing this version of the costume.

And as always, I need to mention the awesome colors by Tomeu Morey. They are a little de-saturated from the vivid look that Alex Sinclair bought to the page, but it works for the story. I liked the bright glow the kryptonite has, setting it apart from the green smoke from Enchantress powers.

5Cover Art – 5: This is an excellent cover by Daniel. It is obviously Daniel’s first cover for the series, so it’s a great pin up quality cover. I’m saddened by the fact that it’s very generic, and not purposeful for the story, but such is the trend in comics today. It didn’t feel right to lessen the grade just for that.

5Variant Cover Art – 5: The Bermajo cover is an obvious homage to the Alex Ross cover that introduced Harley into the DCU. Swapping Joker for Lex works for story purposes obviously, though I do like idea of Lex using Harley for his own means, excellent work by Bermajo on this one.

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Suicide Squad #17

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 10, 2017

Cover date: July 2017

“Earthlings on Fire” – Part Two

Writer: Rob Williams
Penciller: Tony S. Daniel
Inker: Sandu Florea and Le Beau Underwood

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

Suicide Squad #17Driven to extreme measures by the globe-spanning conspiracy known only as the People, Amanda Waller has done the unthinkable: made General Zod a full-fledged member of Task Force X! His first mission? Destroy the Annihilation Brigade, the People’s own, much deadlier version of the Suicide Squad!

5Story – 5: I am absolutely loving what Rob Williams is doing with this book. Amanda Waller is one Evil Lady, but she is a necessary evil, and like any good villain, she believes she is justified in her works. I love the way she sets up Harcourt, before having her assassinated at Capt. Boomerang’s hands. What goes around, comes around I guess, as that is exactly what Harcourt had Boomerang do for her, when she had hack killed. I’m also really curious to see how the guilt will continue to play on his mind, as we saw in last issue, he almost confessed to Harley what he did.

Speaking of Harley, she’s knocking boots with Flagg… I really hope that the Joker finds out, I would love to see that revelation go down. Williams is good at playing the slow game, So we may just get to see “Mr J” in future issues.

Now on to General Zod, I always had reservations about him being in this book. He’s the kind of villain that doesn’t do too well being used excessively. In fact, that’s my feeling toward all Kryptonians other than Superman. When you have multiple “Supermen and Superwomen” flying around, you diminish the importance and uniqueness of Superman. However, since Rebirth began, every Kryptonian on Earth has been used rather well. From Supergirl to Jon to Lana’s Superwoman to even the Eradicator, every character has his or her own story arc, and don’t ride Superman’s coattails.

Having Zod be part of the Suicide Squad is a very original idea, one that Williams has made work well so far. This is the first issue we get to see him used fully, but it goes to show, what exactly it would be like, if a Government official had full control over Superman. Now we know that Zod will make his way over to Action Comics soon, as part of Dan Jurgen’s Superman Revenge Squad story, but I really do hope that he returns to the Squad. The fact that he has been part of this book since issue #1, it would be a waste just to break him out and hand him over to Superman’s rogues gallery. Also with Zod flying around, it is a sure bet that Superman will find out eventually, and come to shut the Squad down!

This book has been a fantastic read so far, I urge you to pick up the trades and give them a look. This is one of the best books DC is producing this side of the Superman titles right now.

5Art – 5: Tony Daniel is a great fit for a title such as this. He has an awesome crisp line art style, and as I mentioned in last issues review, he can lay out a page and work every panel to the best of the story’s requirement. The panel work forwards the story so well, you don’t need the words to follow what is happening.

With all that said, I love Daniel’s rendition of Zod! He’s crazy, strong, wild and strategic all in one. Daniel manages to capture all these facets easily throughout the issue. Zod is a natural leader, and even though Flagg is Squad leader, Zod takes centre stage. Very much like Wolverine in an X-Men comic. When he is on the page, your eyes gravitate toward that character. And Daniel manages to capture Zod’s importance and stature in every panel. I absolutely loved the last page, as he fires his heat vision into his own head to remove the Kryptonite Nuero-Bomb, I love that psychotic look on his face. This page was reminiscent to the Alex Ross black and white short story featuring the Joker back in the late 90’s. While saying that, there was a similar scene in the Superman: Doomsday animated film, where the clone Superman does the same thing.

This is a Suicide Squad comic after all, so I do need to mention the rest of the Squad. Daniel really nails the Squad. He renders them all really well, especially Deadshot’s costume and Killer Croc beastly form. I’m not too hot on either looks, but it’s good to have an artist that can make them work, no matter how overdone I feel they are.

Really can’t wait to see who or even what else is in the Black Vault who Zod has promised to release. And as always, the colors bring the book to life.

5Cover Art – 5: “Superhero Landing” to quote Deadpool. I like this cover a lot. Zod is front and centre, looking menacing as ever. I like the composition very much. It’s of course poster/pinup layout, but it works.
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