This week in Suicide Squad, the team is ready to fight back, but before we see that, let us find out why they must! Tom Taylor and Daniel Sampere want you to kick back and relax as Harley and company hear a story of woe, love, and redemption. This series has been very episodic of late–the last issue honed in on Deadshot–and this week it’s time to learn all about the backstory of The Aerie and another new member of the team.
It’s starting to become clear this series is more of a vehicle to set up new directions for characters than a traditional Suicide Squad comic. And I’m okay with that! Taylor’s handle on writing characters that feel genuine and sound real continues here as the characters attempt to understand what The Aerie has gone through. It’s a tragic tale, and in that tragedy, all of these characters truly connect, so while the narrative cuts away to a flashback it also enhances the relationship between them. They’re all broken, battered, and victimized in their own ways, but they truly understand each other because of that shared broken past. Taylor also drops a clue or two into the flashback that helps inform what the characters are going to be up to going forward.
Given fan-favorite characters like Harley Quinn don’t make much of an appearance in this issue, you might think it doesn’t quite work, but props go to artist Daniel Sampere who once again proves he’s impeccable at telling a story. Much like in the last issue, I ended up falling in love with these characters because of their very real and relatable expressions and interactions. The story flows nicely and there are many quieter moments that might gum up another artist’s book, but not Sempere’s. The inks by Juan Albarran, and colors by Adriano Lucas, continue to enhance the atmosphere and mood in each scene as well. The Aerie is trapped in a prison for a lot of this and you feel the loneliness due to the blocking of a scene and the use of colors and darkness in the inks.
More and more, I see creators handling gender roles well in comics and this issue is another shining example of that. It’s not overt by any means, but it feels natural when a character uses a “they” pronoun. It’s scenes like the one in this issue we may look back on in years to come and mark as a good example of progress in comics.
There are brutal moments in this book where a well-chosen close up of a bad guy, or the crunching sound effects, help amplify the pain and distress in a scene. By the end, you’ll feel for these characters and want them to find the justice they seek. You’ll also fall in love with them a bit to the point where it’s shocking they’re only a few months old and will pray Taylor doesn’t kill them off — as he’s wont to do with this series — before the end this December.
Suicide Squad #8 continues to be one of my favorite ongoings on the shelf today. It makes us believe in and love brand new characters, which is not easy to do in comics, while also telling a story that moves forward and seems to matter every panel along the way.