Since the launch of the New 52 Suicide Squad has passed through multiple hands, resulting in varying degrees of quality.
The first three volumes were penned by Adam Glass (TV’s Supernatural) and were definitely the best of the run. The title was written by Ales Kot for Volume 4 (the weakest of the series) and Matt Kindt during the Forever Evil tie-in Volume 5 (a volume that definitely got the series back on track).
The last issue of Volume 5, “Walled In”, was penned by Sean Ryan and served as an excellent bridging chapter between the New 52 volumes and the relaunched New Suicide Squad.
This time out the team is comprised of Squad veterans Deadshot and Harely Quinn and new comers Black Manta, Deathstroke and Joker’s Daughter. Amanda Waller still serves as their handler but now she has to answer to Victor Sage as the Government no longer views Waller as completely trustworthy. Sage is responsible for Deathstroke and Joker’s Daughter’s placement on the team much to Waller’s chagrin. Deathstroke and Joker’s Daughter are not prisoners at Belle Reve and as such do not have the nano-bombs implanted in them like the rest of the team. Sage isn’t fully in control either though, much to his frustration he is not given authority to detonate the nano-bombs. This set-up leads to some interesting scenes between Waller and Sage as they argue over the execution of missions.
Their first mission as a team takes them to Russia to investigate what ends up being the development of the Rocket Red Brigade and per the usual Suicide Squad trend things go south fast. Harley and Joker’s Daughter are continually at each others’ throats, the latter taunting the former repeatedly about how wearing Joker’s face makes her closer to him than the former ever was. Deathstroke proves to be unreliable, proving Waller’s statement about the importance of control offered by nano-bombs and Deadshot is gravely wounded while also questioning his abilities after missing a shot for the first time ever.
There are some great character building moments with Harley as well, furthering her break from The Joker as she grows into her own as an increasingly amazing character. Seeing Harley openly admit that there is no future with The Joker was a real ground breaking moment for her development, something I knew needed to happen if she was going to successfully be her own character with her own books.
The volume closes with the three part “Defective” story, taking the team to China with Captain Boomerang, some ninja Man-Bats and the new Reverse-Flash filling out their ranks while Deadshot recovers. This part of the book deals with the Chinese attempting to create Meta-humans and the Squads attempt to destroy the facility creating them.
The threads started in the previous story continue, as Reverse-Flash chides Harley about continuing to dress like The Joker if she is serious about being done with him and Deadshot continues to fight to recover from both his physical injuries and his own self-doubt.
Start to finish the book was a really great read and captured the feeling that I loved so much about the Adam Glass era of the books. Things go wrong, then get worse and chaos spreads while these imperfect villains turned anti-heroes struggle to complete their mission and not die in the process.
I’ve made no secret of my love of these books since I started this blog and as such might be a little biased but I do feel it is a book worth checking out. The beauty of it being a relaunch is that you can start right here and not be lost (although if I were asked I’d also suggest the Glass books as well as they were as strong as this one).