Finding out that there is a character in the DC Universe named King Shark may be the best reason for picking up Suicide Squad #1, one of DC’s recently launched New 52 titles. However, that may be the only positive I can find with this title. Being a newer fan of comics I was not aware that this was a reboot of a series that had previous runs in the last few decades. Apparently they weren’t too bad, so I guess if you are a fan of the last few attempts you may have already picked this issue up. For me, I picked it up because I accidentally thought it was a relaunch of Secret Six, which is a series I’ve heard mentioned several times in the past. I regretted the accidental purchase, but my interest was saved once I heard that King Shark was a character in the Squad. Then, once I began reading, I started regretting the purchase again.
The story begins in what seems to be a torture room from Saw, complete with hooded henchmen utilizing various means of physical pain and punishment to extract the truth from their captured guests. Deadshot is first up, making a hit list in his head because someone threatened his girlfriend. A murderer with a heart of gold seems like a long shot (sorry, that wasn’t intentional) but I’m sure the other members are the worst of the worst. El Diablo is a demon-like drug dealer who acts like a teenager listening to the greatest hits of My Chemical Romance when he burns down people’s houses. Harley Quinn, shown prominently on the cover popping out of her corset top, dances with dead lawyers so she will be “noticed” by the Joker. Are these supposed to be villains?
I understand that launching a new series does require some background information, however I feel like writer Adam Glass chose poorly when attempting to introduce this new Suicide Squad. I feel like so many rebooted series from DC are pushing the envelope and attempting to make radical new changes to old favorites, whereas the entirety of Suicide Squad plays it safe, sticking to Tarantino-style storytelling and no real progress in the actual plot. The characters never even interact with each other; they are just tortured until it is revealed that they are actually being tested as a part of a secret government task force that reluctantly fights for a mysterious woman named Amanda Waller. The narrative was just not fun to read, spending all it’s time introducing the backstory of the squad members and not trying to jump right into the action.
The first issue is not all terrible, however. The trio of Federico Dallocchio, Ransom Getty and Scott Hanna make a valiant effort with the art of the series, but this cannot save the fact that each villain has horrible taste in costumes, Harley Quinn especially. The ending of the first issue does leave off with an explosive finale; unfortunately I was ready for it to be over several pages beforehand. It’s a real shame, because anything with a character named King Shark should have been destined for greatness. I would recommended that readers skip this and try something else in DC’s New 52.