Or – “I Wish “All The Good Names Really Are Taken” Wasn’t Such A Cliché.”

The best thing about comics in the New 52/Marvel NOW! era is that many of the oldest properties in the comics world are getting new takes, and new fans.  The worst part is that no one in their right mind can be following ALL the new books at once.  Because of that paradigm, I haven’t read Suicide Squad in… Um…  At least a year, I think.  Have the adventures of Harley Quinn and her amazing friends held up?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

SuicideSquidCoverSUICIDE SQUAD #17
Writer: Adam Glass
Penciler: Henrik Jonsson
Inker: Sandu Florer
Colorist: Matt Yackey
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Suicide Squad: With the Suicide Squad, the premise never changes, only the players: Convicted criminals are given a second chance in return for participation in dangerous missions.  If they survive, they go free.  The scorecard for this issue features Squad mainstay Deadshot, Harley Quinn, the deadly King Shark and two unknown quantities (at least to me) in the form of Voltaic and Yo-Yo.  Their mission involves the sinister plans of one Red Orchid…  But will they survive?


For some time now, I have been particularly irked with the naming conventions of the New 52.  The likes of Harvest, Crux, Thud and Blunder have made the villains seem bland and interchangeable, undermining any menace they might possess.  Likewise, the new characters in this issue are undermined by incredibly bland names.  What’s worse, Yo-Yo actually shares his name with an equally bland character on Marvel’s side of things from the recent Secret Warriors series, and throughout this issue I can’t quite wrap my head around the lameness of it all.  We’re in mid fighty-fighty as this issue opens, with the team quite graphically murdering wave after wave of Triad cannon fodder in a scene reminiscent of the Crazy 88’s battle from Kill Bill.  Visually speaking, things aren’t bad, but the blocking and figure work are pretty stiff, and Deadshot’s uniform (once unique and balanced supervillain designs) has been jazzed up with buckles and belts and lines and such.  The creators aren’t afraid to show a little of the old ultra-violence, either, with severed limbs, point-blank headshots and King Shark cannibalism in clear view.


Yo-Yo’s powers seem to be stretching-based, which makes his presence in the middle of the bloody battle kind of goofy fun, but it’s the kind of fun that comes across as a bit distracting.  His origin is given in a terse three-page flashback, which comes at a distracting place in the story, right before the team makes the ridiculous decision to get in an elevator (!!) for their ride up to find the mysterious Red Lotus (yaaawn.)  The highly sexualized take on Harley Quinn is given some air time, and while I don’t necessarily care for it, it’s at least more character than Voltaic or King Shark shows in the issue.  (Unless you consider constantly snacking to be character, at which point, I’m apparently a new member of the Suicide Squad myself.)  Red Lotus sends her schoolgirl bodyguards in for a little hubba-hubba factor, and the villain is revealed to be in league with the mysterious and even-more-deadly Regulus!  (Also:  She’s Yo-Yo’s sister.  I’m not sure it that’s supposed to be a surprise or not.)


Just based on the merits of this single issue, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with Suicide Squad in the New 52.  Deadshot gets a sword through his chest, which is played as strategy somehow, Harley Quinn has something going on with her head, and nothing in the issue really explains who or what their goal is.  Granted, I did not read the previous issue, which certainly contains at least some of those answers, but even given that caveat, there should be something more here than a tribute to kung-fu movies past.  (Or, to be honest, a tribute to Tarentino’s tributes to kung-fu movies past.)  It’s not a bad comic, just a rather derivative and uneventful one, with okay art and familiar story.  Suicide Squad #17 just sort of is, a generic violent comic featuring generic death and deception, earning the generic comic’s badge, 2 out of 5 stars overall.  I do wonder what’s up with the voices in Harley Quinn’s head though…

Rating: ★★☆☆☆


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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

1 Comment

  1. Not to get off on a tangent here, but I really, really miss the pre-New 52 Harley. The not-ironic cartooniness of the her design and characterization I thought made her the only worthwhile and creative addition to the Batman rogues gallery since the Ventriloquist. She was absolutely fun, in a terrifying way. And hearing Arleen Sorkin in your head when you read her lines made it that much better.

    The new take on the character may be more adult and “serious” but I really don’t count that as a plus.

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