Okay, so, Future State: Suicide Squad. It’s the Suicide Squad. You know who they are, you know what they do. But let’s take a break from that for a second. I’ll come back to them.
The more and more I read comics, the more I’m convinced that comics are ultimately cyclical. People create something, inspired by the creators who were big influences on them as children. Then you get the next generation, inspired by new people, and then another generation that regresses a bit, going back because they were inspired by people before their previous generation of writers. Trends tend to be cyclical in this medium.
At DC, that’s why you had people like James Robinson, Geoff Johns, and Brad Meltzer who wrote in their turns loving homages to the comics that they adore – the Satellite-Era Justice League, with their team-ups with Earth-2 and big family dinners. They eventually overwrote things like Morrison’s JLA, Waid’s Flash, and Marz’s Green Lantern, sending Wally West and Kyle Rayner off into nowhere.
But the new generation of rising talent – people like Steve Orlando, Dan Watters, Robbie Thompson, Scott Snyder – are inspired by Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, and even to an extent the Image founders. Wildstorm, JLA and Hitman are in the bones of comics at the bleeding edge, and Future State is no exception.
So, as someone who also absolutely adores those books (well, unsurprisingly I have a complicated relationship with the works of Warren Ellis, but the others aside), this book is I’m pretty sure designed for me. It’s like candy.
This was true in the last set of Future State books I reviewed, but this book literally has a DC One Million story. I mean, come on. Justice Legion Alpha? Watchtower Mogo? Resurrection Man One Million? Superman Prime and his green lantern ring? Someone has cracked open their childhood comics, that’s for sure.
This is a book that drips passion. It’s a book, especially in the Black Adam backup by Jeremy Adams and Fernando Pasarin, that you can tell was written with passion and love, but it’s not strictly good. The main story is confusing, to start with. Aside from the premise, which I love – the Suicide Squad of Earth-3? Love it! – many of the actual characters and beats are hard to follow. Is Waller the version from our Earth, or the one from Earth-3? Is Conner Kent? Why is the rest of Earth-3 so suddenly different from what we’ve seen before?
And even more frustratingly, it feels unnecessary. We know that a lot of these stories – Next Batman, Wonder Woman, and Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s Superman – are building plot points for the next couple of years of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman stories. Suicide Squad is doing the same here, but rather than telling a story in its own right, it’s practically screaming “look at me, look at me, isn’t it mysssssterious?” Yes, we get it. There is going to be a Crime Syndicate book. We get it, the Suicide Squad is going to be like the upcoming movie. Tell a story. Don’t just be an ad.
I wish I could recommend this book. In my heart, I like it — I like the spirit here. I just wish that the rest of the book was as good as its soul.
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