Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Reader's Diary #1196- Adam Glass (Writer), Various Artists: Suicide Squad, Volume 1 Kicked in the Teeth

I admit only reading this because of the upcoming movie. I'm not, never really have been, a fan of Batman or the associated villains. I've enjoyed a title or two, a movie here or there, but nothing about him or his world has ever really excited me. (Okay, so I liked the campy TV series when I was kid, but who didn't?)

I can't say this one has increased my interest any. With an ensemble called Suicide Squad, with a collection called Kicked in the Teeth, it's as over-the-top violent as you'd expect. And therein lies some of the problem. It's predictable.

However, I do like learning about new characters and most of these were new to me. Some wound up more compelling than others, but my personal favourite wound up being El Diablo. He's cool looking, has pretty neat powers, and most importantly he's a bit more complex than the others. As the head of the gang, Deadshot is just flat and his get-up looks like another dull character, Black Spider. King Shark is just ridiculous (though he would have made a kickass He-Man character back in the day). There's a bunch of others who are either boring, not featured enough, or both. And of course there's Harley Quinn.

Harley Quinn, unless you've been living in a comics-free void for the past two years, you'll recognize as one of DC's more recent and hottest commodities. In Calgary a couple of week's ago, I hit up every comic book store I could find, trying to find a Squirrel Girl or Ms. Marvel t-shirt to no avail. In fact Marvel sold no merchandise featuring women at all, whereas DC had a few Wonder Woman things here or there, and holy two-toned hair Batman, was there a lot of Harley Quinn stuff. (Note to Marvel, I just wanted to give you my money. You suck.)

Suicide Squad, Kicked in the Teeth was my first real exposure to her as a character and I'm still undecided. She's rather insane, so that makes her compelling and fun to watch, much like the Joker. But her whole origin story (basically manipulated by the Joker and then forever and crazily hung up on the guy) makes her seem weak and none too bright. Plus, while I'll admit she looks cool (even if she was more sexualized in this collection than in some other incarnations I've seen), I don't know if it's a case of style over substance. Maybe she's like the Darth Maul of the Suicide Squad. I haven't written her off yet. I have a solo title that I'll be trying in the near future, but for now I'm still on the fence.

The story itself is decent. Incarcerated criminals striking a deal with a shady government agent to take on covert missions in exchange for lessened sentences is not a bad premise. Glass didn't create that premise, the Squad was around before him, but those covert missions allowed him as an author to have fun and plenty of leeway. After a while though, for better or worse, one mission after another and no end insight it took on a Catch-22 sort of vibe where there was just no getting out.

The art across the collection is surprisingly consistent for stories with different artists at the helm. My favourite, however, was Dallacchio's for a story called "Bad Company" where he makes a few more experimental choices. There's a cool shot, for instance, of El Diablo in a fish eye lens shot, to mimic King Shark's point of view. There's also a neat few frames when Harley hears the truth about what's happened to the Joker. She pauses in shock and the rest of the characters walk past her. It's a perfectly executed set, capturing the effect on her beautifully.

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Clearly, I HAVE been living in a comic-free void for the past couple of years, as I have never heard of Harley Quinn.