Brian Azzarello and Alex Maleev’s three-part DC Black Label series Suicide Squad: Get Joker! comes to a close this week. It’s a story about Jason Todd managing a team of misfits and villains for Amanda Waller, but the Joker has other plans. (It’s also a series you can learn a lot more about from Azzarello and Maleev in our interview from a few months ago.) In its finale, the series leans even more into the adult-only Black Label line, for better or worse.
As far as entertainment value goes, this issue has it in droves. There’s a lot of action, great art by Maleev, and some interesting interactions between Jason Todd and Joker. We all know they have history, and Azzarello explores that here.
The fact that Suicide Squad: Get Joker! #3 is wall-to-wall action may be a detriment to wrapping things up, though. There are short respites of dialogue as heroes get their composure together, which lessens the impact of Joker reflecting on Jason’s behavior, or for Jason to make a tough decision in the last pages. I’m getting ahead of myself here, but Suicide Squad: Get Joker! could have used a bit more scenes outside the action, or at least quieter moments.
The issue opens with Jason Todd and his Task Force X being barraged with bullets from another Suicide Squad team. They’ve been sent to take out Jason, Harley Quinn, and a number of newer characters for failing to do their job. They must kill Joker, and while we eventually get to that mission by the end, much of this issue is spent following these characters as they dodge bullets.
Many characters in this issue do not doge bullets well. Most of them are background characters who get bullets to the head, but some major players in Todd’s crew bite the dust too. Since they’re under fire they must work with Joker to stay alive long enough to, well, kill Joker.
Maleev draws a lot of violence and action to perfection with his hyper-realistic details that set it apart from conventional superhero books. Matt Hollingsworth colors the book well and adds a bit of mood and atmosphere on top of Maleev’s already moody environments and shot choices.
The most impactful scene in this issue isn’t the end, which ends up feeling a bit limp, but is a scene between Jason and a character he must beat answers out of. There’s an obvious connection here to Joker beating Jason with a crowbar that doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s an interesting setup, but it doesn’t explore the obvious anguish Jason is going through enough. The scene is kind of just there, especially since the pace of the issue requires no reflection and a lot of running.
Harley Quinn kind of enters and exits the story, too. Given the history she has with Joker there’s some room here to explore, but not enough pages to do so, apparently.
If you’re looking for action, Suicide Squad: Get Joker! #3 has plenty of it. It also wraps up the story, albeit much too quickly. As it stands, this series ends being feeling like candy: it’s got the flavor to make it enjoyable, but not the nutrition to make it matter.
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