Friday, 1 May 2015

Suicide Squad, Volume 4: Discipline and Punish Review (Ales Kot, Patrick Zircher)

I guess DC were aiming for the Fifty Shades crowd with the subtitle: “Discipline and Punish”? The only thing masochistic about Suicide Squad is that I keep reading the series even though it’s never been good, including this one! 

Ales Kot has (briefly) taken over from Adam Glass and the series has become slightly more fun as a result - that fun manifesting as “wacky captions”! But that’s it. Otherwise this is still overly-angsty moronic bees in a jar being shook up. 

There’s a couple of changes to the lineup which now looks like this: Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Voltaic, Unknown Soldier, King Shark, Cheetah, James Gordon Jr and Amanda Waller. I missed Vol 3 so I’m not sure when the new guys showed up or why (Unknown Soldier, really?). There doesn’t seem to be a real reason for James Jr. to be here besides people liked him in Scott Snyder’s Batman stories.

The idiots fight each other, fight some giant dead monster in Las Vegas, and fight some superhero stand-ins (nobody major) in what looks like an African country literally described as “Some Country Far Away” (that’s how much thought's been put into this). They also have those neck bomb implants taken out so there’s no real reason to still be on the Squad… but that’s an angle that’s glossed over. 

Really that "Some Country Far Away" approach feels like the lazy attitude that Kot has written this book. In "some country far away", some "characters" do "something". Just one big shrug! The characters are barely different from one another - they’re all mean and violent and that’s it. Except for Harley who’s still got the spotlight and Deadshot who’s only singled out because he and Harley are fuckbuddies. Nothing to ‘em. The same could be said for the “stories”. 

Kot spends no time setting up anything, he just throws the Squad at some “threat” and expects the reader to be immediately caught up and engaged with what’s going on. That’s not how it works. If you build up a storyline, explaining what they’re aiming for and why, taking that time makes it meaningful to read; having bland “characters” fight even blander “villains” is totally uninteresting. 

I really liked Patrick Zircher’s art though, he’s an artist who needs to be doing more high profile stuff. His work on XO Manowar was great and that experience translates well to the action-heavy Suicide Squad. Shame he only draws half the book. 

This slim volume rounds out with two Villain’s Month issues: Harley Quinn and Deadshot, both written by Matt “Just Earning a Paycheck” Kindt. Blech, is all I can say. Bad origin stories (find out how Harley got an outfit! Deadshot becomes a bullet because his parents wuz killed by bullets!) are the worst and Kindt’s hacky scripts are always a slog to get through. Villain’s Month was such a pointless gimmick. 

The subtitle was half right - this is punishment.

Suicide Squad, Volume 4: Discipline and Punish

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