DC’s new 52: Suicide Squad — surprisingly readable!

I picked up a bunch of titles this week from DC’s New 52. One of the most divisive is Suicide Squad. The online reviews seem to be evenly split, with half hating it, the other half liking it.

I belong in the latter bunch.

I’ve read some of the original Suicide Squad, the one starring Rick Flagg, a heavy-set Amanda Waller, and a cast of disposable supervillains who were doing the job for their freedom. Hell, somehow original flavor Suicide Squad is even more timely today. Their first villains were a terrorist group called The Jihad. And the team was always fighting the fact that their superiors in the government might me even bigger villains than they were. It was a comic way ahead of its time.

The new Suicide Squad doesn’t capture the incredible character beats from the original, but, let’s face it, none of the New 52 is going to be doing that with the decompressed format. There’s no rick flag, but Suicide Squad breakout star Deadshot is still around. There’s also King Shark playing the role of heavy and El Diablo in the role of taciturn badass originally filled by The Bronze Tiger. There’s no fill in for Rick Flagg… though I supposed Deadshot will probably be filling in that role.

The cinematic format that seems standardized across the board in The New 52 works incredibly well for the new Suicide Squad. It felt like the first act of an action movie, where you get the lowdown on all the new characters. True, it lacks the nuance of the original. The squad is getting zapped by cattle prods rather than getting offered a deal by folks in suits like real adults would? I guess it’s more visually interesting. All that matters is that Suicide Squad fans know that, at this moment, you start hedging your bets on who’s going to bite it first.

Probably not Harley Quinn.

Incidentally, I don’t hate the new Harley Quinn design. Some people are describing it as juggalo, but I’m going to go ahead and say Suicide Girl, which is fairly appropriate for the title. Not so much a fan of thin Amanda Waller, but, geez, it IS the New 52, so I’m kinda curious to see where they’re going with this.

That said, probably the one of the New 52 that has me most excited to see what happens next… perhaps because the set-up is so unique. I admit Action Comics was well done … but it’s a Superman story, and we sorta know how those generally go. I liked Green Lantern with Sinestro as the lead, but we know that’s not going to last too long. But the Suicide Squad wiping out the Metrodome Megadome for some reason? I kinda want to be there for the ride.

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