Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New Suicide Squad Volume 1: Pure Insanity by Sean Ryan, Jeremy Roberts

Amazon / Goodreads
Author: Sean Ryan, Jeremy Roberts
Illustrations: Rob Hunter
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: July 21, 2015 
Collects New Suicide Squad Issues #1-8
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Once a secret to even the highest government officials, the Suicide Squad has emerged from FOREVER EVIL as one of its most popular programs. Its mission: to send incarcerated super villains to carry out impossible missions on foreign soil in exchange for a commuted prison sentence. If they are caught or killed, no government could link these operatives back to the U.S. government. At least, that's the theory.

This new series begins with a mission in Russia that features two red-hot Batman villains: Harley Quinn and Joker's Daughter, plus Deadshot, Deathstroke the Terminator, Black Manta and more. 
I don't know much about the DC Universe, admittedly, especially the Suicide Squad. The only knowledge I really had prior to going into this was all of the hype I have seen for the Suicide Squad movie that is debuting next year. The concept intrigued me though, with the government using villains to fight without repercussions; no one would know who they worked for and if they died, oh well. I had heard of Harley Quinn before, of course, but this was my first introduction to Deathstroke, Deadshot, Black Manta, and Joker's Daughter, as well as Captain Boomerang and Reverse-Flash.

There wasn't much by way of background for these characters, so I don't really feel like I got to know them well at all. It did succeed in making me want to go back and read up, to find out what each of them is all about, which I will definitely do at a later time. What I could gather is that something happened to the prison, Belle Reve, and it had been rebuilt. Joker is gone but now we have Joker's Daughter, whom Harley absolutely despises and they fight like a couple of 5 year olds. Some very violent 5 year olds. Unfortunately we don't really get to know much about Joker's Daughter at all; the only thing she does is antagonize Harley, so she didn't add much to the story except as a distraction and to invite conflict. I'm sure there is much more to that story, but we don't get it in Volume 1. Black Manta interested me because he honestly seemed to want their misfit team to succeed and almost appeared to care about the members. You don't usually think of villains looking out for anyone but themselves, yet he was adamant about not leaving anybody behind. Deadshot seemed like kind of the goofy loudmouth of the bunch; I sensed some hostility between him and Deathstroke, but I'm not clear on what all that is about. Maybe he just rubs people the wrong way, kind of like Tony Stark does in the Marvel Universe. I'm very interested in learning more about Harley Quinn, because at times she seemed completely off her rocker, yet other times she seemed totally sane. I'm curious to find out what happened between her and Joker and more about her history. I did a tiny bit of research and found out that she was a psychiatrist, which she actually does state in this comic (although it's hard at the time to decide if she's spouting crazy nonsense or stating a fact). You definitely see the more serious, intelligent side of her come out in one of her confrontations with Joker's Daughter. I also enjoyed the character of Amanda Waller, who basically runs the missions that the Suicide Squad, or Task Force X, embark on. She obviously had a job to do, but like Manta she seemed to actually be concerned about the members of the group. Whether it is because they were such a valuable asset or if she truly cared about them is a mystery to me; she at least had some sort of interest in keeping them alive.

The two main story arcs in Pure Insanity were just so-so for me. There wasn't a whole lot gained from the missions themselves; it more or less highlighted how dysfunctional they all were. At the end I just had a lot of questions, like what is the deal with Deathstroke and who was the manufactured "hero" in the second story arc. I suppose to get the answers I will have to look to Volume 2! Despite my lukewarm feelings about the story, I thought the illustrations were very well done. They really brought the characters and environments to life. I'm looking forward to delving deeper into the DC Universe in the future.

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