Following a botched attempt to abduct Black Siren for the Suicide Squad, Bloodsport is now a prisoner of Superman’s deadly doppelganger, Ultraman. Determined to retrieve her multiversal operative and the asset, Amanda Waller sends Task Force X, led by Superboy, to Earth-3. Unfortunately, the situation turns from bad to worse as Conner’s physical and mental state rapidly begins to deteriorate. Will the Suicide Squad be able to recover Bloodsport and Black Siren before Superboy falls, or are they destined to become Ultraman’s hostages on his quest for more kryptonite?
SPOILERS AHEAD for Suicide Squad #6!
“I can see inside you, little boy. Nothing but copies of copies inside you. You’re a clone. An abomination.”
Shifting focus from Bloodsport to the Boy of Steel, Suicide Squad #6 sprinkles more details for the series’ ongoing Superboy mystery. Thankfully, Robbie Thompson manages to keep this facet of the title engaging by asking just as many questions as he answers. Moreover, the surprising reveal on this issue’s final page has me clamoring for the answers found within this month’s Suicide Squad 2021 Annual #1. Unfortunately, the switch between these protagonists causes specific details of the narrative’s resolution. As a result, there is a disjointed feeling between this book and its predecessor as Bloodsport’s conclusion feels rushed.
One of the most compelling elements of Robbie Thompson’s Suicide Squad run is Superboy’s involvement on the team. Although I have previously speculated about Waller’s use of red kryptonite to alter Conner’s behavior, Suicide Squad #6 seemingly puts the final nails into that theory’s coffin. Throughout Superboy’s confrontation with Ultraman, a scientist monitors the Boy of Steel’s vitals.
She notes that “His vitals are off the charts,” and “He’s fracturing. We have to get him an injection now.” These two quotes indicate a physical instability within our hero. Waller confirms this notion at this issue’s end. When questioned about their sudden deployment to Russia, the Wall responds, “There’s a hidden bunker underneath you all. You have to get down into it and get medicine for Superboy.”
Additionally, Robbie Thompson, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, and Dexter Soy all do an excellent of conveying Conner’s mental deterioration through dialogue and stunning visuals. Throughout this issue, Thompson works in lines of dialogue for Conner, like, “Talon, we need you on your feet, soldier.” There is something about Superboy calling his teammates “soldier” that feels off. As a result, there is a sense of unease after I read these lines. Additionally, the scientist’s indication that “He’s spiking. He needs to hear calm” does an excellent job of conveying the hero’s emotional state. Additionally, Conner’s aggressive body language at the end of his confrontation with Ultraman illustrates a distinct change within the character.
However, the most damning evidence in Suicide Squad #6 against my initial red kryptonite theory comes from what many may mistake as a throwaway line from Ultraman. During their battle, Ultraman says, “I can see inside you, little boy. Nothing but copies of copies inside you. You’re a clone. An abomination.” At first glance, it reads as though Ultraman is using hyperbole to merely state the obvious. It is a well-known fact that he is a clone of Superman. Additionally, it is not beyond Ultraman to exploit this perceived weakness to intimidate the Boy of Steel.
However, the line “Nothing by copies of copies inside you” takes on new meaning with the sudden emergence of a very Young-Justice-Looking Conner. When combined with the reveal of another Conner, this line would imply that Waller’s Superboy is a clone of the original, or, better put, a clone of a clone. Superboy’s lack of memories and his physical and mental deterioration appear to reinforce this theory. As a result, I am excited for the fallout of this reveal in Suicide Squad 2021 Annual #1.
“…Who the hell are you?”
Unfortunately, this issue’s focus on Superboy results in the omission of specific details from the narrative’s resolution. For example, the last time that the reader saw Bloodsport, Ultraman was opening his helmet like a can of tuna. However, with Suicide Squad #6, Bloodsport arrives with Nocturna and a mind-controlled Black Siren at the eleventh hour to save the team. Although the dialogue indicates that Bloodsport was in an adjacent alley, a few key details are missing. One of the biggest is the involvement of Black Siren, who was not seen after Ultraman and Bloodsport began fighting. Additionally, the lack of a crack in Bloodsport’s helmet creates a visual disconnect from the previous entry.
I am all for allowing the reader to fill certain gaps within a story. However, skipping Nocturna’s rescue of Bloodsport robs the previous issue of a proper resolution. Likewise, DuBois and Black Siren’s reappearance feels as though it was only used for a “hell yeah” moment within the story. However, this weakness is slightly rectified by the character’s excellent action sequence as he saves the rest of Task Force X.
Eduardo Pansico, Julio Ferreira, and Dexter Soy’s artwork are a highlight of this book. Their action sequences are dynamic and pleasing to the eye. Notably, the entire battle with Ultraman is engaging for the reader. However, the style utilized for the recap page at the beginning of this book makes it one of my favorites throughout the entire book. Unfortunately, the difference between the creators’ artistic styles is a bit more evident in this issue. As a result, the change in artists can take you out of the moment. Fortunately, Alex Sinclair’s colors maintain a consistent visual tone across creators for this issue.
Sprinkling more details for the series’ ongoing Superboy mystery, Suicide Squad #6 grabs readers’ attention by asking just as many questions as it answers. The surprising reveal on this issue’s final page has me clamoring for more from the creators. Unfortunately, the switch between these protagonists causes the narrative to gloss over specific details. As a result, there is a disjointed feeling between this book and the previous entry Bloodsport’s conclusion feels rushed. Despite an excellent artistic team, the artwork does add to this disjointed feeling due to some noticeable differences in the creators’ styles.
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