LOADING ...

Suicide Squad’s relaunch pairs deadly thrills with sharp political commentary

Oliver Sava Jan 15, 2020. 3 comments

Suicide Squad endures as a superhero concept because it’s built on internal conflict: between members of the titular team and the authority figures forcing them to work together. There are layers upon layers of character dynamics to explore as supervillains butt heads with their ethically dubious handlers bearing government connections—a link that allows Suicide Squad’s writers to explore the lengths the U.S. will go to maintain its position as a global superpower. Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo are two creators who thrive in the murky territory between good and evil, and their work together on the Injustice comics shows how exciting it can be when those moral absolutes are eliminated. They used a video game to tell one of the best DC Universe stories of the last decade, and now they’re back together to usher in a new era for Suicide Squad.

The Revolutionaries are at the core of this relaunch, a team of new characters from around the world who get conscripted into Task Force X. Suicide Squad #1 (DC) begins by showing The Revolutionaries in action as they take out a fleet of nuclear subs in Australia, kicking off the story with exhilarating energy as it establishes the team’s formidability. They’ve got skills, but not enough to escape the wrath of Task Force X’s new leader, Lok, who is even more of a hard-ass than former taskmaster Amanda Waller. Lok amplifies the fundamental tension of the series, and the level of animosity is through the roof by the end of the issue, as this white American man takes control of a team of people from marginalized communities in order to shape the world as he sees fit.

From the start, it’s clear this creative team has strong chemistry and a solid point of view for the book’s tone and visual aesthetic. The presentation of the credits and title are especially evocative: Credits are broken up into three sections and printed between panels, with the background featuring a silhouette of a Revolutionaries member. The title appears within a panel showing a military general falling from hundreds of feet in the air, tying the name of the book to the violence that only intensifies over the course of the issue. Wes Abbott uses letters to enrich the storytelling, and the messy end of the general’s fall hits hard, thanks to how Abbott depicts the general’s scream and the sound of his body hitting the submarine.

What made the Injustice comics so engaging was a sense of humor that balanced all of the bloodshed to maintain an element of fun. Taylor understands the value of showing moments of affection and camaraderie, which he uses to contrast The Revolutionaries and Task Force X. The members of the former function like a family, and the kindness they show each other casts them in a more heroic light despite their terrorist actions. The visuals inform those personal connections; a moment of tenderness between Aerie and Wink is rendered with a romantic palette of pink and purple by colorist Adriano Lucas, lulling readers into a false sense of security before Task Force X arrives to take out The Revolutionaries. The action that follows moves quickly, as the series racks up a hefty body count and builds to a cliffhanger that assembles an extremely dysfunctional team—one that will doubtless continue to be whittled away in the future.

3 Comments

Other Oliver Sava's posts

Pretty Deadly: The Rat battles obsession in Golden Age Hollywood Pretty Deadly: The Rat battles obsession in Golden Age Hollywood

Every two weeks, Big Issues focuses on a newly released comic book of significance.This week, it is Pretty Deadly: The Rat #5. Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet, Aquaman) with art by Emma Ríos (Island, I.D.), colorist Jordie Bellaire (Redlands, Injection), and letterer Clayton Cowles (Daredevil, Captain Marvel), this issue concludes a Hollywood mystery with a descent into the...

Tom Muller invigorates an iconic brand in this Best Of 2000AD exclusive Tom Muller invigorates an iconic brand in this Best Of 2000AD exclusive

Over the past decade, Tom Muller has emerged as the most exciting designer in comics, giving books their own distinct aesthetics that enrich the stories and make the product pop on stands. Muller recently helped Jonathan Hickman give Marvel’s X-Men line a drastic makeover, and in April, he’s tackling one of the most iconic brands in comics by designing...

Matt Murdock takes control of his tail-spinning life in Daredevil #16 Matt Murdock takes control of his tail-spinning life in Daredevil #16

Every two weeks, Big Issues focuses on a newly released comic book of significance.This week, it is Daredevil #16. Written by Chip Zdarsky (The White Trees, Marvel Two-In-One) with art by Jorge Fornés (Batman, Magnus), colorist Nolan Woodard (All-New Wolverine, Dead Man Logan), and letterer Clayton Cowles (Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel), this issue spotlights the insightful character development that has...

Superman reveals his secret identity to the public in a heartfelt, game-changing issue Superman reveals his secret identity to the public in a heartfelt, game-changing issue

Every two weeks, Big Issues focuses on a newly released comic book of significance. This week, it is Superman #18. Written by Brian Michael Bendis (Young Justice, Action Comics) with art by Ivan Reis (Green Lantern, Aquaman), inker Joe Prado (Green Lantern, Aquaman), colorist Alex Sinclair (The Batman’s Grave, Hawkman), and letterer Dave Sharpe (Green Lantern, Harley Quinn), this issue...

Suggested posts

Author Jeanine Cummins and publisher respond to American Dirt controversy Author Jeanine Cummins and publisher respond to American Dirt controversy

This morning, author Jeanine Cummins and publisher Flatiron Books responded to criticism over American Dirt, Cummins’ highly anticipated novel centered around Mexico-U.S. migration. The book, which was published on Tuesday, follows a Mexican bookstore owner named Lydia who flees the country with her 8-year-old son when her family is killed by drug lords. Cummins, a white writer with a...

Cartoonists honor women who changed the world in this Noisemakers exclusive Cartoonists honor women who changed the world in this Noisemakers exclusive

Kazoo magazine debuted in 2016 as the most successful journalism campaign in Kickstarter history, satisfying a cultural need for a magazine that shows young girls they can take up space and have their voices heard by sharing stories of female pioneers in all fields. Comics are a regular feature in Kazoo, with the magazine hiring noteworthy female cartoonists to...

High school rivalries heat up when Riverdale gets the Varsity Blues High school rivalries heat up when Riverdale gets the Varsity Blues

It’s January, and football season is over for most high schools, but not Riverdale, which kicks off 2020 with “the big game” against the Stonewall Stallions. The rivalry brings season four back into focus after the holiday break, and thankfully lets the teens again worry about typical high school things, like college applications, frustrating coaches, and bringing down your...

"Enjoy" a disarmingly cute video about how snakes end up in people's toilets "Enjoy" a disarmingly cute video about how snakes end up in people's toilets

There are so, so many reasons why snakes rank at the top of the universe’s most horrifying creations, but the most important may be the simplest: They’re incredibly, terrifyingly sneaky. Because they lie flat on the ground most of the time, refusing us the common courtesy of at least possessing legs, snakes can end up anywhere, darting across your...

The Daily Bugle returns to its investigative roots in this exclusive preview The Daily Bugle returns to its investigative roots in this exclusive preview

As the journalism industry goes through sweeping changes, the fictional newspapers of Marvel and DC’s superhero universes have transformed to reflect the times. The Daily Bugle has gone through major transitions in ownership and editorial agendas over the years, but with the rising need for good journalism in a time of misinformation, the publication is returning to its investigative...

India is sending a creepy robot lady to space India is sending a creepy robot lady to space

A lot of thought has been given to how humanity can best represent itself to any of the aliens who might run into us—or, just as likely, our space junk—at some point. In the past, smart people have carefully curated material like the Voyager Golden Record, filling it with pictures of Earth, great works of music from across international...

Behold the awesome, unblinking gaze of the restored Mystic Lamb Behold the awesome, unblinking gaze of the restored Mystic Lamb

Art restoration doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes, the work in question is simply cleaned up and left looking pretty much the same as it was before anything was done to it. In other cases, the restoration process ends up doing something a lot more drastic—like, say, turning a fresco of Jesus Christ into a portrait of a shocked...

The Reign of the Supermiguels begins in this Dial H For Hero exclusive The Reign of the Supermiguels begins in this Dial H For Hero exclusive

Wonder Comics’ Dial H For Hero is a roller coaster ride through comic-book history, using a magic phone dial to pull stylistic influences from the past as characters transform into different superheroes. Written by Sam Humphries with astounding art by Joe Quinones, colorist Jordan Gibson, and letterer Dave Sharpe, Dial H For Hero pays tribute to the creators who...

This week in Savage Love: The long game This week in Savage Love: The long game

I’m a 30-year-old bi male. I’ve been with my wife for five years, married nine months. A month into our relationship, I let her know that watching partners with other men has always been something I wanted and that sharing this had caused all my previous relationships to collapse. Her reaction was the opposite of what I was used...

A gay teen discovers himself at summer camp in this Flamer first look A gay teen discovers himself at summer camp in this Flamer first look

Adolescence can be a frightening period for young gay men, who are suddenly faced with new sexual feelings that can often conflict with social pressures placed on them by family, friends, and the media. Mike Curato explores this tumultuous period in his new Godwin Books graphic novel, Flamer, a semi-autobiographical story of a 14-year-old boy’s revelatory experience at summer...

Language