Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Suicide Squad#67: what's the point?

As part of their long-running (and top-selling) Blackest Night crossover, DC is issuing a "theme month" around the idea of "resurrected" comic books. Just as the crossover involves people rising from the dead as "Black Lanterns," these theme books are all once-beloved titles which were cancelled years (even decades) ago and are now "risen" for a single month of resumed publication.

This week, Suicide Squad#67 came out among the first wave of one-shots. The original Suicide Squad ended with #66 back in 1992 but they've continued to be a part of various DC titles ever since. Suicide Squad#67 is co-written by John Ostrander (who wrote all 66 issues of the previous run), but he's joined by Secret Six author Gail Simone on the writing side. Art is by Jim Calafiore.

Laying aside whether this comic is any good or not, I have a lot of misgivings about the way the story is told and marketed.

First, this is part of a crossover; Blackest Night is topping the charts currently, giving DC a chance to compete neck-and-neck with Marvel for the first time in quite a while. However, the event itself isn't explained for the benefit of people not reading Blackest Night (like me).

Second, this comic is Suicide Squad in name only. True, the Squad appear, but in a minor role as one of the groups of antagonists. The real protagonists are the Secret Six. If you bought this comic wanting to see the Squad, you might be a little miffed to see yourself suckered into stealth-buying an issue of Secret Six.

Third, this isn't a one-shot, if that's what you thought you getting into. From the solicitations, it seems like most of these "resurrected" titles are one-shots, but this is a lead-in to a Blackest Night storyarc (also by Ostrander, Simone & Calafiore) that lasts for at least the next two issues of Secret Six.

Fourth, given that the titular Suicide Squad aren't the real stars, more effort should have been devoted to introducing the Secret Six for the benefit of those not reading their comic (like me). The only people who would know who Scandal or Ragdoll are would be the people already reading Secret Six. Ongoing character developments and subplots are used without framing them for a new reader's benefit. Can't an effort be made to grow the audience base, given the potential new readers who will be coming aboard for this special? Most of the Six are familiar to me with the exception of someone called Jeannette. I don't think I've ever seen her in a comic before and the story makes no effort to explain her powers, assuming she has any. Does she even have a codename?

Fifth, this story has three dueling narrators, not counting the omniscient narrator.

I will be coming back for the concluding chapters in Secret Six. Expect more grumbling.


Nitz the Bloody said...

Well, when has the lack of a point stopped DC in recent years? This is the company that did a weekly series for a year for a crossover that ended up all but completely ignoring it, after all...

David H. said...

i so wish i had come across this posting when that issue first came out because i ended up being one of those Suicide Squad fans that picked it up and was like WTF? after i read it. i agree that it was a bit misleading the way that issue was pitched to the public. but once i read all the corresponding Secret Six issues that pertained to that story line i was into it more. i even blogged about it: