New Suicide Squad #17
Tim Seeley (writer), Juan E. Ferreyra (artist)
Disclaimer: This review is based on a review copy provided by the publisher.
I read the first volume of the new Suicide Squad. There were elements of it that I liked, such as El Diablo calling out Harley Quinn on acting dumb when she wants to be taken seriously, but apparently it didn’t stick with me enough to want to read more, and I’ve never read any of the previous incarnations of this team.
The movie on the other hand, I am very curious about. But that could just be my love of Harley Quinn talking. I want to see if they will get her first appearance on the big screen right—because there is a lot to unpack with her character and her relationship with the Joker, which has been depicted in many different ways within her many comic book appearances. What is most important to me is a portrayal which does not simply write her off as two-dimensionally “crazy,’ and never forgets her status as Dr. Harleen Quinzel M.D. So far, so good, as New Suicide Squad #17 features Harley subscribing to her therapy plan of writing love letters to herself to remind herself of her own worth. The acrobatic image calls back to our first glimpses of Margot Robbie as a caged Harley Quinn in the movie trailer.
This issue introduces a new creative team to the book and starts the story fresh. It’s a good place for a new fan to get to know how Amanda Waller handles the A-Blockers incarcerated at Belle Reve Penitentiary who will become members of her Suicide Squad—a group of really, really bad guys who are tasked with the dirty jobs under the guise of plausible government deniability. Amanda Waller walks us through the facility along with Mr. Ashemore, who hopes to put together a similar team in England. We briefly get to meet a few of the “A-blockers” who could potentially be on the team at any given time, based on their skills and level of rehabilitation.
In the first volume I read, their missions seemed complex on the surface, but ultimately boiled down to them causing a whole lot of havoc, as the movie trailers imply. But here, the mission requires a bit more finesse on their part (even though it still boils down to a whole lot of havoc). Now, they are charged with the protection of a Chinese diplomat who has rubbed the wrong people the wrong way. What would make these hardened criminals care about succeeding at such a task at the risk of their own lives instead of simply vanishing off of Waller’s radar after disabling their boss’s kill switch? Well, that’s what I hope such a story will reveal.
Juan E. Ferreyra’s art really surprised me. I love a painted comic book (or one that gives that feeling, at least), but I did not expect to see that in a title like Suicide Squad. It most certainly works though, with particular love for bright colours as well as expressive faces that are too often missing from superhero/villain comics.
For a newcomer to the series, this does serve as a good place to start, especially if you’ve been inspired by the premise laid out in the movie trailers. However, there are a few more logistical details added here, as well as faces that differ from the movie’s cast. It’s unlikely to reflect the movie’s plot beyond that, of course, but if you’re looking to get your Suicide Squad fix outside of the theatre, this might be a good place to start. Is it enough to get me to try it out again? With that beautiful art and the potential for an interesting Harley Quinn read, I might just give the series a go.