At the end of Suicide Squad issue 23, I closed it, and smiled for once. They finally figured it out. The Ostrander Suicide Squad run is one of the greatest books of all time, and the concept literally has a ton of potential. But somehow, DC comics has blown one opportunity after another.
This last run was among the most difficult. Writer Adam Glass had a good eye for recruiting talent for his team, at its best; Suicide Squad is about taking neglected, forgotten or underused characters and showing that you can make them work. But his entire run felt rushed.
Ostrander was a master at slowing things down at times, and letting the character bits shine through, which made the whole book better. When Captain Boomerang, Duchess, or Punch and Judy betrayed someone it didn’t come off as badly written, because their character and motivations were already clearly established. When Glass’s characters did something, it had that Jeph Loeb-Red Hulk-twist feel, and we all know what that was like.
Establishing the characters also helped the action in Ostrander’s book too. It became pretty established that you did not cross swords with Amanda Waller, nor did you pick fights with Deadshot if you wanted to continue living. Glass’s Amanda Waller was nearly inexplicable, she was sadistic, manipulative, and utterly heartless and there was no explanation why. I found myself unable to judge Ostrander’s Amanda Waller, just I found myself unable to judge Jason Aaron’s Red Crow. But I hated Adam Glass’s Waller.
And then came Ales Kot.
His first issue didn’t blow me away, but I recognized that he started to slow the frentic pace of the book. Also, he had penciller Patrick Zircher who I had liked since the equally mishandled Terror Inc. Issue 23 however, was a revelation. It was exactly what I’d wanted from the title. It was a long time coming. Kot understood the Squad and he understood why Ostrander’s run worked. For the first time, the lineup clicked. And they had veteran artist Rick Leonardi, who has a career of being used for fill in issues, when he really deserves much better.
Inexplicably, it was Kot’s last issue. His run was two comics.
He is to be replaced by Matt Kindt, who is apparently quite gifted and – blargle! I. Don’t. Care. Anymore.
It’s taken two years just on this title alone to have a competent Suicide Squad issue. Even before this Ostrander had an eight issue miniseries and Keith Giffen had – actually I don’t know what that was. There was a great Checkmate series, which was even more insulting, because it showed how a great Suicide Squad could be done. But I never got the feeling DC believed in the book. (But they’ll do 200 versions of Hawkman. Hawkman sucks. He SUCKS. It doesn’t matter if you do the reincarnation love story thing, or the poor man’s Wolverine. He sucks and he looks ridiculous, and by the time you put Rob Liefeld on the book, I have to believe that we were actively being trolled.)
Now after two years of a mediocre book, there’s going to be restart, and this time – THIS TIME, they’ll get it right.
I don’t know how the concept got messed up in the first place. The government takes super criminals to do political missions in exchange for freedom. This isn’t hard to execute, its like when Yao Ming used to dunk the basketball and he would pretend to jump to make it kind of exciting, but you knew that he really didn’t have to move to dunk because he was 7 foot “200.” That’s the Suicide Squad. Its a book where you could add nearly ANYBODY and send them on missions and its still being screwed up.
Now its being restarted again. Soon, it will probably be cancelled soon and replaced with another Batman book.
How did I pick this stupid hobby anyway?