By Patrick Tedder
The gang’s all here … sort of. For whatever reasons, DC Comics decided that the old Suicide Squad needed some new blood. As such, the description on the back of the book is quick to note, “Under New Management.”
The squad now consists of: “The Joker’s Daughter,” “Harley Quinn,” “Deadshot,” “Black Manta,” and “Deathstroke.” In addition, Amanda Waller has a new boss and, as one could guess, nothing works out like it should, a meta-joke that is brought up far more than once within volume 1’s story.
Is it “Pure Insanity” as the volume’s title would suggest? Sort of, for good and bad. One of the fun things about the concept of the Suicide Squad is they are the Dirty Dozen, misfits thrown into impossible situations, escaping each one with explosions and a hint of jovialness in the face of danger. But, how many “impossible” situations can one group survive before there aren’t more or they simply aren’t fun to read about?
There’s internal strife amidst the external chaos, which certainly changes up the game, but this upheaval comes at a slightly contrived cost. Still, if you’re willing to roll with the punches, the story is fun in a “we’ve reset the game, deal with it” sort of way.
This same, strap in for a chaotic ride attitude is especially continuously apparent at the halfway point of the story as the team is changed up before we’ve had time to like or dislike them. Enter new criminals that kind of fit, serving the prime purpose of setting up a plot point that explains that the team can be made up of any villain for the sake of the good of a mission.
It’s all good and well and entertaining, but messy. As if mirroring the story, the art can become quite ugly in small action panels, which is odd as other panels can look quite good, if not giving off a certain 90’s vibe of cartoon art, something that is a matter of preference, but for my taste, usually appears a bit garish.
Some other interesting reasons to read? Waller’s relationship with the Squad are teased a bit, adding a layer of desperation to the one person who’s supposed to be sane on the team. Furthermore, all members of the Squad come to doubt their purpose. It’s an interesting plot to keep in the background of future stories.
Is Volume 1 worth a read? Yeah. It’s fun, if a bit clunky. It’s obviously trying to do some new things while setting up some long-term plots that promise to be more interesting should the writers be clever enough to stay the course of good storytelling. It’s also a good read for anyone anticipating the upcoming DC film.