SUICIDE SQUAD #1 & MORE! [Reviews]

Doomsday Clock #12 CoverDOOMSDAY CLOCK #12/ Script by GEOFF JOHNS/ Art by GARY FRANK/ Colors by BRAD ANDERSON/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The final battle between Superman and Dr. Manhattan is nigh, but the heroes of Russia and Khandaq are standing between them. Yet who will stand by Superman’s side when he is most in need of allies when all the heroes of the modern age are out in space?

In another world, Doomsday Clock might have been the glorious capstone of the Rebirth revival. Alas, editorial meddling and too many other series claiming that they would change the DC Comics multiverse forever have rendered this mini-series largely meaningless and dead-on-arrival beyond being curiosity and a firebrand for Alan Moore fans. The damnable thing is that this story could have been told without the Watchmen characters with only a few minor changes and their appearance did nothing for the story but add a needless element of controversy. Which, in retrospect, was probably the point.

The artwork by Frank and Anderson is skillfully done, which is a point in this book’s favor. And I am still a fan of Johns’ work, but he’s done far better with his own ideas and characters. To that end, my favorite moment of the book was the restoration of the JSA and the return of some old familiar faces from what was once my favorite title. Here’s hoping we’ll see more of them in the future… or the past.

As it is, Doomsday Clock #12 is an ending. Not really a good one or a bad one but it is a conclusion. Then again, nothing really ends, does it?

3-5

 

Firefly #12 CoverFIREFLY #12/ Script by GREG PAK/ Art by DAN MCDAID/Inks on Pages 1-7 by VINCENZO FEDERICI/ Colors by MARCELO COSTA/ Letters by JIM CAMPBELL/ Published by BOOM! STUDIOS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With his mother ready to lead a group of desperate and outgunned soldiers on a suicide mission against the Alliance, Malcolm Reynolds has one chance to stop the Unification War from reigniting and the utter slaughter of his fellow Browncoats. Unfortunately, it will require far more luck than Mal’s ever shown in his life to pull off.

With the finish line in sight, the bottom finally falls out of what had been a promising revival of the Firefly storyline. Unfortunately, as time went on, Greg Pak became more concerned with the idea of restarting the Unification War and less focused on the crew of the Serenity. This is something of a problem, as the appeal of the show has always lain in the characters and the charisma of the actors playing them.  And with Dan McDaid having abandoned any attempt to make his characters resemble the actors from the show, that left only Pak’s writing to convey the characters.

As to how effective Pak was in this regard, I should note that the story ends with the crew scattered about The Black, Kaylee having abandoned her friends to shack up with a space bandit and Mal’s storyline being hurriedly resolved in a single final page. Except not really because something has to set up the next storyline. I don’t think a third of the core cast show up at all in this issue and the whole thing lacks the humor that made the show a delight. All in all this is a mess of an issue, with sloppy artwork, muddy colors and characters that don’t resemble the characters from the original show physically or spiritually.

1-5 Rating

 

Harleen #3 CoverHARLEEN #3/ Script and Art by STJEPAN SEJIC/ Letters by GABRIELA DOWNIE/ Published by DC BLACK LABEL

Review by MATT MORRISON

As Dr. Harleen Quinzel continues her sessions with “Jay,” she feels something start to grow between her and the notorious sociopath. Unfortunately, another madman with his own ideas about how to save Gotham is about to lay siege to Arkham Asylum and bring about the circumstances that will force Harleen to make a fateful choice.

Not since Mad Love has any creator so effectively put the reader inside the head of Harleen Quinzel. What is truly disturbing about this final chapter is how effectively Sejic presents the idea of a charming, flirtatious Joker. Even at the end of the comic it is unclear just how much of his act was an act, as even Batman and Alfred cannot agree on to what degree the Joker returned Harleen’s feelings or if indeed he was capable of such honest emotion or was just a mirror reflecting her own repressed love and lust. The artwork remains, as it was, gorgeous. This was a fantastic series from start to finish, that is sure to spark debate for sometime to come. With any luck it will be the first of many such stories we’ll see from Stjepan Sejic.

5-5

 

Suicide Squad #1 CoverSUICIDE SQUAD #1/ Script by TOM TAYLOR/ Art by BRUNO REDONDO/ Colors by ADRIANO LUCAS/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

A new Task Force X has been assembled and with washouts like Magpie and Cavalier on it it’s probably the worst team ever. Not that hopes are high when you’re part of a group nicknamed the Suicide Squad, but with the team’s new management sending them after a new group of metahuman terrorists called The Revolutionaries, things are looking even bleaker than ever.

It’s a wonder nobody thought to put the creative team behind Injustice: Gods Among Us on Suicide Squad before now and Messrs Taylor, Redondo, Lucas and Abbott prove more than equal to the task of delivering the dark comedy and lethal action one expects from the series. It’s a bit early to make any bold proclamations, but this book could easily prove the equal of the run penned by John Ostrander. As it is, Taylor and Redondo have created a truly unique team with many memorable and memorably designed characters. The colors and lettering for this issue are phenomenal. I can’t think of one thing wrong with this issue, save that I have to wait another month for more of it. A must read for fans of the classic run as well as a great starting point for new readers.

5-5

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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