SUICIDE SQUAD! & Graphic Novels vs Comics

Never have I been more excited about a leaked trailer!

If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you lift the rock you’re living under off of you, click here, & do that.

Everybody’s debating the film already. Do we like “Hot Topic Joker?” Who’s going to get ample backstory? Who’s going to die? & most importantly, for my Harley Quinn Halloween costume, should I be Puddins Harley or Sexy Diamonds Harley?

puddindiamonds

The debate really only occurs among nerds & true comic fans, so in order to understand their concerns (where is Harley’s accent!?), I read the comics!

The Suicide Squad goes way back, but I stuck with DC’s New 52 Suicide Squad (Volume 4) comics because I’m told these are the closest base for the film. I read #1 through #30 & now I’m going to share my thoughts with you.

What is it?

The Suicide Squad, or Task Force X, is a government team set up by Director Amanda Waller. It’s made up completely of baddies & villains that are serving time in Belle Reve Prison. By joining the Squad they reduce their sentences & some of them have specific requests that are promised to them as well. But they’re bad guys!? Won’t they just do whatever they want once released? No, because of the mini-bombs implanted in their necks…of course. Anti-heroes & neck explosives!

My Favorite:

The Hunt for Harley Quinn Parts I & II (Issues #6 & #7)

These are common favorites apparently. But how could they not be?! After hearing that the Joker’s face was skinned off after his death and is now being stored in Arkham Asylum, Harley causes a riot in Belle Reve and manages to escape. The rest of the force is tasked with finding her & bringing her back no matter what. Not only do we get lots of Harley flashbacks to how she came to be involved with the Joker. We also get to see the most ridiculous, but hysterically & psychotically awesome scenario, in which Harley binds Deadshot, finds the Joker’s skinned face, proceeds to place it onto the face of the tied up Deadshot, and interrogate him as if he were the Joker & her previous love. The best is that Deadshot actually plays along before shooting her in the gut. It’s even more twisted when you think about she was just hooking up with Deadshot a few issues earlier.

My Least Favorite:

Slash ‘N” Burn (Issue #23)

A lot of these comics had cheesy dialogue that was often too straight forward. But as the series went on it just felt lazier & lazier. I mean, “I am going to throw you into the sea now. You will survive. So remember mercy. Find your inner compass.” That crap came from King Shark which makes it even worse because he hardly ever speaks. There were a lot of other bad ones where I just wasn’t interested in the story or they kept reviving dead characters, but this one sticks out because I really don’t give a crap about Cheetah or John Lynch.

Highlights:

Issue #17 features the gang waiting in an elevator that plays Nirvana. Harley would totally have a soft spot for Kurt Cobain, she’s the Courtney Love of super-villains. Or maybe Courtney is just the Harley Quinn of rock?

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Issue #20 has Harley rockin a sweet pink onesie. Sure there’s a fake Joker scene that serves no purpose what-so-ever, but I want those footsies!

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Why I loved them:

This was my first time reading anything Suicide Squad related. Since I’ve never read the John Ostrander issues, I figure my response can only up up from here. I really liked the emphasis on Waller’s story & Deadshot’s as well. I know some people hate it, but I think the art was actually really great.

Why I hated them:

They get a little weird… Lots of kinky inclusions. I’m talking sex torture, orgies, etc. Lots of beat it over your head dialogue. We get it, Waller is shifty, Captain Boomerang is annoying, blah blah. But worst of all, characters are constantly coming back to life. What’s the point of even killing them off if we know they can just be revived with serum?

Comics vs Graphic novels:

I was debating whether or not to even do a review of these because they aren’t technically book related. I started thinking about graphic novels I’ve read & what separates them from comics. Sure graphic novels are longer, but there’s also another quality that they seem to have that comics don’t.

I think I ended up deciding graphic novels have a more complete story. They’re allowed to be more complex in one binding. However, with comics, you may not get a full character arc until months or sometimes even years later. This increases a demand for more issues, but often makes the characters & story flatter to compensate for more action if you’re just reading a single issue.

Comics are also culturally considered a lower art form. I think this entirely depends of the type of comics or graphic novels one reads. The graphic novels I’ve read such as Blue Is the Warmest Color and American Born Chinese are award-winning novels that I read in a classroom setting. The comics I’ve read were blockbuster types, made to appeal to mass audiences, so naturally my opinion would be skewed.

So what should I read next?

I was told to read the late 1980’s to early 1990’s Suicide Squad comics, so I might give those a go soon. But any other comic recommendations would be awesome! Graphic novel recommendations are also definitely welcome! I really want to get my hands on The Woods by James Tynion.

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