Reviews: Suicide Squad
John Ostrander's Run: 1988-1992
This is the run that made 'Suicide Squad' what is; a group of villains and damaged heroes participating in suicidal black-ops missions. Prior to that, we had a WWII team of soldiers and regular crooks, and another four-man group that dealt with fantastical monsters and the like. Both are weaved into Ostrander's squad, but never overtake the present. Ultimately, Suicide Squad is, as ironic as it might seem, a story of life, and of redemption. We see it in Deadshot and Count Vertigo, and of both their struggles as to whether they should live or die; in the end, they choose life. We see it in the Bronze Tiger, who has had a viscous thirst for blood ever since he was young, but in the penultimate issue, conquers it. And at the heart of it all is one of the book's few original characters, Amanda Waller, who is perhaps one of the best characters in all of comics history; a middle-aged, overweight black woman who, after seeing most of her children pointlessly killed on the streets, managed to get an education and obtain a government position in likely her late 40's or early 50's, and who has vowed to do whatever it takes to prevent decent people from getting killed, like her family. And by 'whatever it takes', I mean 'using established crooks.' But working with all of these villains, terrorists, and damaged heroes for over 60 issues takes it's toll, to the point where winds up in prison, effectively becoming what she had used for so long. But at the end of the run, it seems like there's finally a light at the end of the tunnel. There's so much more to recommended about this series; from Dirty Coward and comedy relief Captain Boomerang, to the frequent guest appearances of a variety of other supervillains, ranging anywhere from top picks like the Penguin and Captain Cold, to middlers like Dr.Light, to bottomfeeders like Punch&Jewlie. Or how about the trip to Apokolips that sent the Squad on a 'mission' truly worth its name? The only reason I'd advise someone not to pick this series up is if they're particularly squeamish. This is not a happy series. This is a rather dark series, and can at times be somewhat depressing. But there is a purpose to the depression; that no matter how many times we might fail, redemption is still something we may seek out, regardless of whether or not we can attain it.