In the pursuit of forging a more powerful Task Force X, one thing has been made increasingly apparent to Amanda Waller: The Suicide Squad is too slow. Determined to remedy this weakness, the Wall has set her sights on Teen Titans Academy. Bolt’s bursts of super speed and debt to the squad’s devious leader make her the ideal candidate for the team. Will the Australian speedster be able to outrun Task Force X’s newest menagerie of maniacs, or will Waller make Bolt an offer she can’t refuse?
“We pulled her out of Australia. And tonight, she joins the team. Or Dies.”
Intriguing, humorous, and cinematically illustrated, Suicide Squad #3 sprinkles breadcrumbs for the series’ mysteries and future conflicts. Although the entire premise of this story hinges on Waller’s acquisition of Bolt, this issue’s success lies in the hints of future contention amongst the team. Additionally, Eduardo Pansica’s pencils, Julio Ferreira’s inks, and Marcel Maiolo’s colors give each sequence an epic tone befitting the silver screen. Unfortunately, Thompson’s reliance on a storytelling cliché and inconsistencies within the artwork prevent this book from receiving top marks.
One of the elements that I always look for when reading a team book is the interaction between the characters. Robbie Thompson wisely grounds this series’ most intriguing mysteries and conflicts within these character interactions. By using the first few issues to build Waller’s newest iteration of the Suicide Squad, the creator gets a lot of mileage out of the interplay of this new cast. Perhaps the most interesting interactions in this issue are between the Wall, Superboy, and Peacemaker.
In an attempt to determine if Superboy is clear for duty, Waller has Nocturna use her glamour on Conner to get him talking. Insisting that the Metropolis Kid is fine, Nocturna states that Superboy is clear to continue screwing things up for the Suicide Squad. Although this response is sufficient to appease the Wall, who resolutely believes it is Conner’s destiny to lead the team, it isn’t enough to satisfy the eavesdropping Peacemaker.
Unconvinced by Nocturna’s assessment of the situation, Peacemaker asks her to meet with him in the laundry room. This sequence is perhaps one of my favorites throughout the book as it does an excellent job of exploring Peacemaker’s character and propelling the mystery of Superboy’s involvement forward. Peacemaker reveals that he has adjusted the frequency of the washing and drying machines so that Amanda Waller can’t hear anything they say. When asked about Superboy, Nocturna reveals that it felt like Conner isn’t all there and that when he talked about his past, she felt like he was reading a Wikipedia entry. What is so satisfying about this issue is how Robbie Thompson pays off these comments later in Suicide Squad #3.
This sequence the first in a series of moments illustrating Peacemaker’s distrust of their leader. Although it would be a massive understatement to say that no one trusts Amanda Waller, Robbie Thompson does a great job making Peacemaker’s reaction feel unique amongst the other former field leaders. Instead of being concerned with the ethics of Waller’s actions, Peacemaker is worried that her deceptions will jeopardize his mission. In fact, the character’s perceived ownership of the squad’s mission is destined to put Peacemaker in direction opposition to the Wall. It is also a confrontation that just might end with the character’s brain decorating the walls of Waller’s office.
Despite the character’s single-minded focus on achieving peace, you do get a sense that he cares for his team. He promises Nocturna that he will take care of her and the rest of the team because “that’s what leaders do.” Given Peacemaker’s nature to abandon others for the sake of completing the issue, I’m curious as to what he actually means when he says, “take care of.” Thompson’s continued development of this character through exploring his ethos and pathos has me excited to see further interactions with this character.
As the Suicide Squad embarks on Peacemaker’s Waller’s mission to capture Teen Titan’s Bolt, Eduardo Pansica’s pencils, Julio Ferreira’s inks, and Marcel Maiolo’s colors take center stage. The entire art team creates beautiful visuals that accurately capture the speedster’s powers in action. The two-page spread of Bolt eluding the team is cinematic as it captures the energy of a big-screen blockbuster. As a result, their gorgeous work and these pages are my favorites of the entire issue.
Additionally, Thompson uses this mission to pay off Nocturna’s assessment of Superboy earlier in the issue. As Conner rejoins the team, it is clear that something is wrong with the character. In contrast to his behavior in Suicide Squad #2, Conner is brash and confrontational with Peacemaker and the rest of the team. Even Bolt is shocked by Superboy as he tells her to run. Because we’ve seen Waller using kryptonite to hold Conner captive, it would not be a stretch to learn that Waller has been using a variation of kryptonite to alter Superboy’s behavior. I get the sense that Conner’s red-traced text and word balloons may just hint at what type of kryptonite Waller is using.
Thompson has done a great job sprinkling out the breadcrumbs for this mystery in such a way that I am intrigued as to where it is heading. Conner’s behavior changes are an interesting development that does a great job of paying off Nocturna’s earlier description of the character. I am curious why these text enhancements disappear throughout the battle despite his continued dedication to capturing Bolt. However, the more aggressive Superboy has me worried about Peacemaker’s fate as the character has grown on me over the last few issues.
“Once Bolt is drawn to Culebra’s impact, we’ll only have seconds. Enough time for our new team members to step up and step in.”
Unfortunately, I have a few issues with Thompson’s work with Suicide Squad #3 and some artwork. One of the traps that many creators fall into with this title is how a new character is introduced only to be killed off to illustrate the mission’s stakes. Thompson has fallen into this trap as he introduces a new character that is almost killed off immediately. If handled poorly, this can lessen the concern we have for the characters as it becomes more obvious that the core group will be unaffected. Thankfully, Thompson’s work with establishing Peacemaker’s potential conflict with Waller has done a great job of lessening the impact of this cliché.
My only problem with the artwork in this issue is some inconsistencies. As stated previously, the entire art team does a great job of crafting cinematic action sequences. However, in many cases, the profile shot for many of the characters feels off. The most egregious case of this is during the opening sequence with Nocturna. These panels are somewhat jarring when compared with the rest of the team’s work on Suicide Squad #3.
Suicide Squad #3 is intriguing and cinematically illustrated, sprinkling out the breadcrumbs for the series’ mysteries and future conflicts. Although the entire premise of this story focuses on Waller’s acquisition of Bolt, this issue’s success lies in the hints of future contention amongst the team. Additionally, Eduardo Pansica’s pencils, Julio Ferreira’s inks, and Marcel Maiolo’s colors give each sequence an epic tone fit for the big screen. Unfortunately, a few storytelling cliches and inconsistencies within the artwork prevent this book from receiving top marks.
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