With both Red X and Rick Flag in the wind, Amanda Waller casts her gaze to the Multiverse for her next recruit. Assigned to evaluate the inhabitants of Earth-3, Bloodsport finds the perfect candidate for the Wall’s ultimate Suicide Squad. Unfortunately, the arrival of this world’s twisted Man of Steel, Ultraman, throws a wrench into DuBois’ plans.
“Seems like every Earth I’ve been to has one of these… the shining beacon of hope… the boy scout.”
Wonderfully illustrated, Suicide Squad #5 is an excellent introduction of Bloodsport to the title. Robbie Thompson’s use of field reports is a creative method of delivering DuBois’ internal monologue that remains true to the character’s fascination with war. Although Bloodsport’s narration does an excellent job introducing the character and his new skull-themed helmet to the reader, it, unfortunately, hurts the story in a few instances. However, Dexter Soy, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, and Joe Prado’s artwork overcome these narrative shortcomings by expertly rendering this issue’s dynamic action sequences.
Opening with Robert DuBois’ 4813th field report for Amanda Waller, Suicide Squad #5 does an excellent job of giving the reader a crash course on the character’s backstory and current mission for the team. In this opening sequence, Robbie Thompson’s use of Bloodsport’s field reports is an excellent method of succinctly delivering the character’s backstory. Additionally, the artwork on these pages is gorgeous as it focuses on the villain’s main claim to fame. These pages do an excellent job of explaining Bloodsport’s role on the team, as well as the justification for the inclusion of his movie-accurate helmet. For Thompson’s story, Bloodsport’s new helmet serves to protect him against the different vibrations of each Earth he visits.
Unfortunately, once Bloodsport spots Ultraman on Earth-3, I have an issue with some of the character’s narration. DuBois states that every Earth has a version of the big blue boy scout. Confirming the notion that Waller is attempting to build her very own Justice League, DuBois says, “But Waller already has her version of Superman in that clone, Superboy.” This statement is fine on its own; however, Bloodsport goes on to say, “We don’t agree on anything, but I think Peacemaker might be right about our boy scout. Something is wrong with him.”
The impact of this statement is lost because we have yet to see these two characters together in the story. Without illustrating DuBois’ involvement with the larger team, it feels like Thompson is merely using this moment to remind us that something is wrong with Superboy. This moment could have benefitted from showing Bloodsport’s prior missions with the team rather than alluding to these interactions through narration.
The notion of telling rather than showing the reader about these interactions is one of the drawbacks of Thompson’s work in Suicide Squad #5. The greatest strength of DuBois’ field reports in this issue is that it allows the reader to learn more about the character’s desire to travel the Multiverse. This heartfelt reason is not something that I wish to spoil here, but I would be remiss if I did not mention that it made the character more endearing to me.
Unfortunately, this narrative device causes Thompson to move too quickly through the Starro invasion of Earth-3 and Bloodsport’s attempt to capture his current target for the Suicide Squad: Black Siren. A Starro invasion is a massive ordeal, not to mention the focus of the next feature film. By moving so quickly past this conflict, it almost feels like we yadda yadda yadda’d over the best part. Although the entire art team does an excellent job rendering this sequence, it is something that I would have loved to be explored more in-depth. As a result, it feels like this is a disposable plot point merely used to quickly position Ultraman and Bloodsport into conflict.
“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”
One of the things that I was the most impressed with in Suicide Squad #5 is the artwork. The visuals are dynamic on every page, and it is never more obvious than in the battle between Ultraman and Bloodsport. In every panel, you can feel the weight of each blow and between the two supervillains. In addition, each character has a unique body language which adds a sense of realism to the battle.
Additionally, the resolution to this conflict is predictable yet satisfying because it remains true to Bloodsport’s tactics. The artwork is made more impressive by the fact that four different creators crafted it. Dexter Soy, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, and Joe Prado all lent their talents to the creation of this book. However, the change in visuals is never dramatic enough to be taken out of the moment. In fact, I didn’t even notice that four creators had illustrated the book until I read it for a second time.
An excellent introduction of Bloodsport to the title, Suicide Squad #5, is wonderfully illustrated. Robbie Thompson’s use of field reports is a creative delivery method for DuBois’ internal monologue. Although Bloodsport’s narration does a great job introducing the character and his new movie-accurate helmet to the reader, it, unfortunately, hurts the story by telling rather than showing. However, Dexter Soy, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, and Joe Prado’s artwork overcome these narrative shortcomings by expertly crafting this book’s dynamic action sequences.
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