Suicide Squad Black Files #1 Review

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When there are threats that the white capes aren’t able, or willing, to put down with finality the government sends in the Suicide Squad. When those threats are of a mystical nature, they go deeper, into the black. Find out more in Suicide Squad Black Files #1 from DC Comics.

Suicide Squad Black Files #1 ReviewSUICIDE SQUAD BLACK FILES #1

Writer: Mike W. Barr, Jai Nitz
Artist: Phillippe Briones, Scot Eaton
Cover: Frazer Irving
Publisher:  DC Comics
Release Date: November 7th, 2018
Cover Price:  $4.99

Previously in SUICIDE SQUAD: Amanda Waller has a near unlimited rooster of villains to put to use in her Suicide Squad program & she has little qualms about spending their lives at a moment’s notice. But the world is changing It isn’t only the threat of governments & madmen, but of magic & mystics. But never fear, Waller has a Squad for every contingency.

CUT OFF ONE HEAD… SORRY, WRONG UNIVERSE

This issue contains two stories, with the first being titled The Revenge of Kobra. Against a snow covered, windswept mountainside, the deadly heroine known as Katana scales to new highs as she searches for entry into a Kobra base. Meanwhile, the rest of her team is freezing their collective tails off, awaiting a signal which will call them into the fight. Katana is successful & uncovers that Kobra is building another Ark ship. This is a thing which cannot stand & Katana signals her teammate in an explosive way. But even as the rest of the team arrives guns, spells & boomerangs blazing, Katana has taken the supposed leader on & head to head. Back at her home, the young being known as Halo is restless. Not being human in a true sense, she is confused, scared, & looks up to one of the world’s most dangerous killers as a mother figure. Unsure how she should handle this, Katana consults the soul of her husband, still trapped in the sword, for advice. But a world away another player, one with a past connection to both Katana & her infamous Soultaker sword, is making moves which will turn the young warrior’s life upside down.

Our second tale is entitled Rota Fortuna. Here, the possessed fire-wielder with a love for tattoos known as El Diablo is carrying a ghostly white figure, The Gentleman Ghost, on through the ruins of Yemutan City in Kahndaq. Their mission has gone south, & they are only now f9nding the rest of their team. A miscellany of malicious, mystical malcontents, the team gives him a quick rundown of what has happened thus far. It’s not good. While Dr. Thaumaturgy, Snarlgoyle & Alchemaster have managed to make their way to relative safety, they left one named Wither behind. Gentleman Ghost is unhappy at this news but is essentially told to suck it up. When you go on a mission for Waller, you know the rules. Like they say, Spells Happen.

But team leader El Diablo has a different point of view, one which has him make a field decision to go back for their missing teammate. This does not sit well with Alchemaster, but before they have any more discussion, the team moves out. No mage left behind. Back at Task Force X headquarters, Amanda Waller is determined to find out the status if her missing team. To overcome the jammed communication systems, she has resorted to using the talents of one known as Klarion the Witch-Boy. You see, Waller has come into possession of Madam Xanadu’s tarot card deck, & Klarion can read from it. It is the best way she has to get an update on her team. But the cards don’t tell you what you want to know, but what you need to know. Now it seems that they want Waller to know that a war is coming, & the son of Felix Faust himself has gathered an army made from the cursed weapons of Aladdin to fight. Luckily, Waller knowns a thing two about fighting a war.

TALES FROM THE BLACKEST OF FILES

SUICIDE SQUAD BLACK FILES #1 is a two for one title, delivering two separate but somewhat connected tales starring everyone’s favorite team of indentured villains. Our first story by writer Mike W. Barr (Batman & the Outsiders, Mantra) & artist Phillippe Briones (Aquaman, Justice League) is the first part of a multi-part story featuring Katana & her Soultaker sword. This tale, in particular, is somewhat special, as Mike W. Barr, along with Jim Aparo, created the characters Katana & Halo for the groundbreaking Batman & the Outsiders book back in 1983. He knows these characters, & even in this new incarnation, it feels more familiar than it has in a long time. It is refreshing to see the character Katana, who has been portrayed very much like a hardened killer as of late, shown to be more of a young woman with a sense of responsibility & take on a role as surrogate mother to young Halo, who is portrayed a little more childish here than originally conceived. Barr has her face some harsh truths in regards to her feelings about her role as caretaker for Halo, but has little time to process them before the villain appears & turns everything on its head. Now the story will affect not only Katana, but Halo as well. It will be interesting to see how Halo deals with what happens as much as Katana. The art by Briones is nice & runs an odd gambit of the current DC house style & older John Byrne. Nice details & a nice narrative panel layout makes for a fun & easy read.

The second tale is by scripter Jai Nitz (Kato Origins, The Batman Strikes) & artist Scot Eaton (Sigil, Swamp Thing). Here again, as with the previous tale, we have a little legacy as Nitz created the Chato Santana version of El Diablo for the 2009 El Diablo series from DC Comics. Here we get El Diablo as team leader, & there is a nice writing technique of having him “correspond”, possibly mentally writing a letter to with former teammate & current pen pal Caitlin Snow, formerly known as Killer Frost. It allows you to see a slightly softer side of Chato, even as he is on a mission to stop Sebastian Faust as he arms his soldiers with cursed weapons from Aladdin’s secret stash. My biggest problem here is there is so much going on, you really end up just wanting more page time for Chato & his thoughts & not caring much about the big magic war that is eluded to. The writing is good, but dense. There are a lot of characters introduce & a lot of exposition about who they are & what their motives might be. It is an enjoyable, if sometimes a little off-putting, read. Two things which stood out to me were the Aladdin character, & the mention of a Hero Dial as a magic item. Could we have a Dial H for Hero appearance in this storyline? Eaton’s art is solid & you again have the feel of a house style. It was overall enjoyable, there are some things that popped out to me, like, when did Gentleman Ghost start having a face? But it was still a fun tale, even if it felt like it needed a full issue by itself to stretch its narrative legs. But really, how many characters make a first appearance in this story?

BOTTOM LINE: A SOLID ISSUE, BUT NOT QUITE AS MAGICAL AS ONE WOULD HOPE.

Bottom line, it is a good issue. By giving us two stories in one issue we get more of our monies worth & it fulfills a request I had after reading the Suicide Squad Annual about seeing some of the other teams. The first story, by an industry vet, is paced well & structured to fit the pages it was allotted. The second seems very crammed; hopefully it will find its narrative feet as the story progresses.

SUICIDE SQUAD BLACK FILES #1 falls just short of excellent, instead suffering from the very formatting structure which makes this a book to pick up.

Suicide Squad Black Files #1

67%
67%
Just Short of Excellent

Bottom line, it is a good issue. By giving us two stories in one issue we get more of our monies worth & it fulfills a request I had after reading the Suicide Squad Annual about seeing some of the other teams. The first story, by an industry vet, is paced well & structured to fit the pages it was allotted. The second seems very crammed; hopefully it will find its narrative feet as the story progresses.

  • Writing
    6
  • Art
    8
  • Coloring
    6
  • User Ratings (0 Votes)
    0
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About Author

Back in February of 2008, Stacy Baugher wrote his first article for Major Spoilers and started a solid run of work that would last for over two years. He wrote the first series of Comic Casting Couch articles as well as multiple Golden Age Hero Histories, reviews and commentaries. After taking a hiatus from all things fandom he has returned to the Major Spoilers fold. He can currently be found on his blog, www.stacybaugher.com , were he post progress on his fiction work as well as his photography and life in general, and on Twitter under the handle @stacybaugher . If you're of a mind, he also takes on all comers with the under the Xbox Live Gamertag, Lost Hours. He currently lives in Clinton, Mississippi with his understanding wife, and two kids.

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