Those that are About to Die – An Examination of the Suicide Squad, Part Two
A lengthy re-read and discourse on the DC comic book series, Suicide Squad and all subseries..
“Jail Break” is the title of issue three of Suicide Squad, a done-in-one story that forms a direct sequel to the Legends mini-series introducing this new version of the Squad. As such, it goes slightly far afield of the more clandestine approach of the title, something that I recall being a little weird when the issue was first released. With Glorious Godfrey (or G. Gordon Godfrey, as he was known as in Legends) imprisoned within Belle Reve Correctional, it falls upon the great tyrant Darkseid, Lord of Apokalips to retrieve him. Sending Granny Goodness’s Female Furies to Earth, it’s a battle royale of soldiers and super powers crammed in 32 vibrant and exciting pages.
While waiting for the imminent chaos brought on by the Female Furies, who are deftly introduced by the continuingly impressive dialogue and setup by John Ostrander, readers are given a lot of fill that intrigues as much as anything seen beforehand. Many characters have serious ethical issues with certain aspects of the Squad and all are brought before Amanda Waller, showcasing her incredible backbone and ability to juggle the multiple personality types amongst her command. As a reader when issue #3 hit the stands, Amanda quickly became even more impressive to me.
Nemesis gets a brief showcase with a quick recap to his long out of print history, including showing how he survived the conclusion to his tale. His inclusion in the Squad is unquestionably interesting while simultaneously curious. Many small hints and information drops wind their way through the story, making it more than just the one-off that it might outwardly seem. You want to know why Nemesis should remain with the Squad. You want to know why Karin Grace is so cold to Rick Flag. You really want to know what Nightshade needs from the Squad if she’s so unhappy with recent events. It’s all more than the fluff it could have been under a lesser writer’s hands.
When the actual battle and retrieval of Godfrey begins, the Squad puts up a decent fight but is ultimately far outmatched by the superpowers of Apokalips. With only Nightshade having any form of paranormal ability, the Suicide Squad is definitely a book of a different color, regardless of the costumes involved. The battle ends quickly with a betrayal within the Furies, as per usual with the demi-gods of Apokalips. This is an important event, as future issues will reveal. One of the greatest bits of Ostrander writings is that even the smallest happening might have major impact down the road. Never take any instance for granted with him, the sneaky bugger.
“Jail Break” holds a series of subtleties within a carapace of loud and brash behaviour that could make it a template for the Suicide Squad, as a title. It’s a great way to put a concluding stamp on a wildly successful mini-series as well as give focus to the moral teeter-totter surrounding the need for the Squad. As the series progresses, this moral discussion sways more than one character to make hard decisions.
A great letters page rounds out the issue, with letters of comment from such frequent commentators as Neil Ahlquist and the ubiquitous T.M. Maple. Long before the internet, with its message boards and other major connectivity between fans and creators, L.O.C.’s were the way to reach out. The Suicide Squad had a great one, overseen by the Grand Poobah Editor Bob Greenberger with wit and wile. It started in this issue and went on throughout the run.
This feature will take a brief break while I spend some time at a convention in Wisconsin, returning in roughly two weeks with a trip to sunny and warm Russia.
John Ostrander has a weekly column at ComicMix, a site of great value to those interested in keen eyes on everything we at FtHSoapbox love – pop culture and beyond. Here’s a link to a good view on the Squad, from John’s own perspective. Then go digging deeper for all his great work at the site!