Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I still love thee, Suicide Squad

Man, I fucking love Suicide Squad.

It's got everything I like in comics and nothing I don't. It's satisfying, but doesn't fill me up and make me feel bloated. Plus, it tastes great.

I've posted about the Squad previously on Dave's Long Box, but I've never gone full-out and devoted an ENTIRE WEEK (more or less) to one of my favorite comic series of all time.

Previously I have discussed:

For those of you unfamiliar with Suicide Squad, I will quote from a previous post:

"Suicide Squad was spawned from the 1987 mini-series Legends (which I will get around to reviewing/mocking at some point). Written exclusively by John Ostrander, the book had a consistent vision and “through-line” that you don’t see too much of anymore in today’s age of reboots and revamps.

I liked Suicide Squad because it had a (relatively) sophisticated and cynical approach to politics, crime, and punishment and often tread a moral grey area between the few “good guys” on the team and the “bad guys.” Plus, it was more hardcore and lethally violent than any other comic books, so it scored extra points with me. The Squad actually called Task Force X) was a group of incarcerated super-villains who would go on secret government missions to work off their sentences. They were based out of Belle Reve prison in the swamps of Louisiana, and went on all sorts of deadly assignments with explosive bracelets clamped to their wrists to keep them in line. [...]

The cast was made up of 2nd tier characters that were kind of disposable. Led by a hard-ass beaureaucrat named Amanda “The Wall” Waller, the Squad had a couple of good guys like Rick Flag, Nightshade, and Bronze Tiger, who were basically brought on to ride herd on a bunch of super-thugs. The main bad guys were Flash villain Captain Boomerang, a craven but devious Aussie; Batman villain Deadshot, a cold blooded sniper with a really cool but impractical costume; Duchess, an amnesiac villain from the planet Apokolips; Count Vertigo, a Euro-trash noble with “vertigo” powers; and Batman villain Poison Ivy, the poisonous plant chick. Other villains rotated in and out of the Squad like The Penguin, Captain Cold, and The Parasite, and a ton of other 3rd rate villains who were killed with impunity."

There, you should be roughly up to speed.

This week we'll take a look at some of my favorite issues of SS, spotlight some awesome and not-so-awesome characters, examine a truly F*$& Yeah moment in Squad history, mock Rick Flag, and generally just worship at the Altar of Ostrander. I'm stoked for the return of Suicide Squad to the DC Universe, so this seems like a good time for Suicide Squad Week.
Let us fucking do this thing!


Anonymous said...

But will there be more videos? And did you ever get around to reviewing "Legends?"

Martin Wisse said...


Anonymous said...

Suicide Squad Week!

Monday: video intro to "Suicide Squad Week."

Tuesday: text intro to "Suicide Squad Week."

Wednesday: song intro to "Suicide Squad Week."

Thursday: Have you guys heard there's coming a "Suicide Squad Week" thing?

I feel suicidal myself. The suspense is killing me.

Pumphouse said...


Pumphouse said...

One correction -- "Task Force X: Suicide Squad" is from the late '50s, not 1987.


(First appearance in issue 25 of "The Brave and the Bold", 1959).

Anonymous said...

Say, when was the Penguin a member? I don't remember him being a part. Also: I dare you to review the Doom Patrol/Suicide Squad special.

JohnF said...

I remember Penguin being a member on some mission to Russia. Didn't he have to wear a beard for a disguise? Something about being on a train? I'll have to dig out my originals.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Penguin was in the "Firebird" arc in Russia.

Anonymous said...

goody said...
Say, when was the Penguin a member?

That was in issues 5-7, the "Firebird" mission in Russia. You got to see Penguin disguised as a chef, a bearded (and monocle-wearing) friar, and a guy with really flamboyantly bad fashion sense on that mission.

I hope we get a little love for moments like Captain Boomerang's "fight" with the speedster Jaculi in issue #2. Hell, that whole damn issue was full of FUCK YEAH moments.

Anonymous said...

The Penguin was a part of the Suicide Squad alright. I remember reading that issue and thinking, boy, is the Penguin such a b-lister now that he gets to serve time at the Squad? I bet the Joker would never get sent there.

I'm stoked for Suicide Squad week. For a good part of my youth, my favorite comic book character was a middle-aged fat black woman with no superpowers and a mean attitude. That definitely rocks.

Patrick Gaffney said...

Showcase Presents Suicide Squad coming as well! Yeah Suicide Squad!

LurkerWithout said...

Sadly, outside of old Who's Who issues my first major exposure to the Squad was during their appearance in Superboy. And then I found out how DAMN hard it is to track down a complete run of this. Which is why I was so happy to learn they will FINALLY be doing a collection of them...

Caleb said...

Will we see those Superboy appearances? Or the post-OWAW relaunch attempt? (I think there was Sgt. Rock in a wheel chair, and manga-esque art?)

Timothy Burke said...

I loved this run, but I do think a couple of mildly negative things could be said about it.

First was that I would rather have seen most of the Suicide Squad's missions be genuinely useful ones. I appreciated the fact that Ostrander was mocking the political misuse of national security, but the whole comic was a lot more suspenseful when the Squad actually needed to accomplish its mission. That made the screw-ups, the half-betrayals, and so on a lot more compelling. So, for example, the intro storyline was great. A good example of not-so-great: the messed-up Suicide Squad-Doom Patrol special, both because the relaunched Doom Patrol was pretty bad and because the mission was such a convoluted, political and useless thing.

Sometimes the pacing of stories was a bit weird, too--the book occasionally took a hit from getting caught in various big crossover events where important events got accelerated, slowed down or even a bit forgotten while doing service to the crossover.

But a great book, with some really standout story arcs.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember my log-in to save my life. At any rate, this is winterteeth, and I wanted to say F!ck Yeah for doing Suicide Squad week. This was my favorite series of all time until Starman came along.

I know this is nitpicky but the new Showcase isn't going to have the Squad's debut in Legends or their appearance in Firestorm collected. I understand that Legends is already in TPB but the Firestorm issue and Annual had the debut of Tolliver, the death of Multiplex, the first JLI/Squad fight and the first appearance of Killer Frost, Parasite and Slipknot as Squad members. That seems like a big omission to me. Anyone else?

At least they are tossing in the Secret Origins issue, Doom Patrol special and JLI crossover. Sorry, I am a Squad nerd.

Josh Elder said...

You're right, Campbell. And when you're right, you're right. And you, you're always right.

"Suicide Squad" is one of the great gems of DC Comics and comics in general. I would actually argue that it's the single best "sophisticated" comic to ever be done in an ongoing superhero universe -- with the possible exceptions of Miller's "Daredevil" and Ostrander's own "Spectre." I especially like the little corner of the DCU that Ostrander carved out for himself in overlapping titles like "Suicide Squad," "Firestorm" and "Manhunter" and later "The Spectre."

You could get a half-dozen posts drawing out all the connections between those titles. Not to mention all the modern DCU books that have taken Ostrander's ideas and run with them -- from the current "Manhunter" to "Chase" and "Checkmate." All I can say, is thank God they're bringing that book back and bringing Ostrander with it.

Max said...

This may be the best week ever. Suicide Squad week is going on my calendar. Now to find a place for "Rom" week and "Warlord" week...

Thanks, Dave!

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