With a Kryptonian Armageddon underway, seems like it’s a perfect time for Harley Quinn to go full-on sane. Rob Williams and Jim Lee wrap up their Suicide Squad story arc here before Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1, but is it good?
Suicide Squad #8 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“THE BLACK VAULT” part eight! Harley Quinn goes sane! The prisoners and staff of Belle Reve Penitentiary have succumbed to the devastating effects of General Zod’s Black Vault, rendering them all insane. But it has the opposite effect on Harley, who must fight her way through a crazed Suicide Squad—with the help of the Enchantress—to stop Zod from waking and conquering the world. No pressure, right? And in a bonus backup story, learn how super-villains are conscripted into the Suicide Squad! The unlucky Killer Frost is about to find out when she arrives for her first day at Belle Reve. Her story continues from this month’s single issue of SUICIDE SQUAD directly into JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD #1!
Why does this book matter?
This is the most fun I’ve had with the Suicide Squad in ages as Williams has offered key character development while delivering big action sequences. Jim Lee has drawn his tail off and every issue contains a backup that delves into the psyche of a specific member. It’s everything you’d want in a primo-title team book.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
You never go full Nicolas Cage!
Williams has a clever setup with this issue as characters go into a bloodlust while Harley goes completely sane. It flips the script if you will and makes the events feel unique and refreshing. With the characters losing it, Williams focuses in on only a few so as to make the narrative journey more interesting. Harley gets key scenes of clarity that reveal she’s not as wacky as we might think, and Hack continues to impress with her powers and ability to solve problems.
Essentially this issue is all about the characters fighting themselves and each other in order to stop the ticking time bomb that is Zod. The eventual resolution is satisfying and it allows for some intensity that keeps you turning the pages. Williams also has a few moments of humor that add some nice levity.
The backup, with layouts drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli and finished art by Francesco Mattina, delves into new Suicide Squad member Killer Frost. This story allows Williams to introduce the character to each team member as she gives her opinion on them while at the same time delving into her via captions. The story doesn’t delve too deeply, but does a good job showing how she might fit in with the team based on her impressions.
The art by Jim Lee in the main story continues to deliver primo Lee work that doesn’t skip a beat. There’s a lot of talking – and no splash pages ::gasp:: – but it gets the job done in a clear and concise way. The backup is drawn well with a fun repeating 2D panel to show Frost viewing the members of the Suicide Squad in a repetitive way.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s a major moment that takes place that shifts the battle in the Suicide Squad’s favor while also delivering a big surprise, but it’s very unclear how any of it actually works. The results are clear enough, but how we got there is confusing. Since it’s confusing, a big win for the team is cheapened which is unfortunate because resetting things in a final issue should feel as though it matters.
The backup is good, but not great either. Killer Frost surely will be an interesting new member to the team, but this story doesn’t do very much in the way of revealing who she is like the previous backups have done. Instead, we get a quick reflection from her on each member and a general idea that she’s a person, but nothing concrete.
Dang he’s big.
Is It Good?
This is a good, but not great final issue to the first story arc. There’s a definitive resolution, and a lot of fun along the way, but there’s a confusing scene that doesn’t make much sense. That cheapens the conclusion. The backup is alright, but isn’t as interesting as previous backups in this series, delivering a more cursory reveal than anything else.
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