Marketed as ‘The Worst Heroes Ever,’ Suicide Squad have sure done well for themselves. The team of rag tag misfits have been in the public consciousness for several years now after bursting onto our screens in animated movies, video games and a feature length film.
Where does it all come from though? And is the source material better than the adaptations?
That’s what I’m here to find out!
I missed the New 52 run on the infamous Task Force X but after picking up the entire series for a bargain I thought that there was no better time to start my indoctrination into the League. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty and see if ‘Suicide Squad Kicked In the Teeth‘ lives up to the hype!
Kicked In The Teeth
From the off the book shines with the dark, punk, depraved tone that the Suicide Squad are now famous for. Captured during a mission the group are tortured and interrogated to the point of almost breaking. It’s violent, graphic and will turn the stomachs of most readers. The opener serves as a brutal signifier of what lays ahead, this is a no holds barred, brutal comic and you’ll love it!
Some members fall but the ones who resist come to the terrifying realisation that this has all been a test by the sinister Amanda Waller.
She needed to see which members would survive the onslaught that Task Force X demands. After separating the sick from the even sicker the villainous team is formed.
Immediately they are dispatched on a mission and after being humorously mistaken for The Justice League their true tests begin.
The Rot Virus
Initially there has been a zombie outbreak at a stadium and the Squad must murder everyone there in order to stop the virus spreading.
Instantly I fell in love with the Suicide Squad. What makes them so endearing is the fact that all of the members are expendable. You will become invested in characters only to have them ripped from your hands. There is a real sense of bleakness to the book and the opening arc is like nothing I’ve seen in a mainstream comic book story line. Prepare to have your favourites murdered in front of your eyes and for characters to have moral lapses in order to keep up the greater good.
This is the Game Of Thrones of graphic novels!
Never has a book made me question myself introspectively and the creative team have done an outstanding job of putting you in the main players shoes and asking ‘what would I do?’
From start to finish Suicide Squad will get it’s hooks in you and leave you wanting more.
Back To Normality
After murdering an entire stadium of people the squad must safe guard the cure till evacuation. They have to blend in with the citizens of a middle American town. Something that isn’t so easy when you have a 9 foot shark humanoid with you. It’s interesting to see the team in amongst the civilian population and their juxtaposition to regularity enforces that they will never be able to return to a normal life.
It’s in these down moments that we see glimpses of the real heroes beneath the masks. Diablo whilst demonic in appearance is deep down a kind hearted hero filled with a regret. Whilst his tattoos make him seem dangerous and intimidating as an audience we really get the sense that he is reformed. He regrets killing gangsters in his life and his actions are that of a saviour. Diablo often he puts himself in harms way to ensure the safety of the team and seems selfless in most of his actions, refusing to strike unless it is totally necessary. It’s great to see that even in the madness that is The Suicide Squad there is still some good.
Changing Of The Guard
Just as quickly as members are killed off they are replaced. After surviving the onslaught of the zombie plague the team are redeployed into the field with Captain Boomerang. He has been given control of the neck bombs and is the newly appointed leader in the fight against ‘Basilisk.’ A group of super villains that believe there is a war coming between regular people and super powered ones.
Basilisk capture the Squad and as Boomerang goes to detonate the neck bombs he realises the detonator is inactive. It’s a ruse. He is being handed over to Basilisk by the team in exchange for safe passage.
This signifies what the Suicide Squad does brilliantly as a comic book. It’s able to repeatedly pull the rug out from under you in new and interesting ways. Just when you think the storyline will become cliched and uninteresting, it changes tempo and offers something new and exciting. Throughout the book I was constantly kept on my toes by it’s innovation and creativity. It surpasses a lot of mainstream comics and it’s no wonder why DC were so eager to get a film adaptation of the group off the ground.
Our final arc focuses around a prison riot started by Harley Quinn in order to escape. In what they believe may be their last moments, the team really show their humanity. Deadshot thinks of his daughter, Diablo remembers all the good he’s done and Waller makes a final call home.
Of course we know that these aren’t their last moments but it really fleshes the characters out, showcasing what their true motives are for leading the life that they do.
Mirroring this we follow Harley as she retreats to Gotham looking for the Joker’s face (removed as part of the New 52 re-imagining). Not only does this section work as an origin story it also exemplifies just how far Harley has come as a character over the pat 20 years. Beginning as a mere sidekick she has truly evolved into a stand alone villainess that deserves a lot of admiration for her eventual independence.
Harley is a victim of battered housewife syndrome and it’s unique to see a character who suffers from this portrayed with such strength. I never used to really connect with the character but after this section I can certainly relate to the idolisation that she has.
We finish with her straddling Deadshot whilst he wears the Joker’s face certainly is one of the more ‘interesting’ images I’ve seen recently and it’s the perfect way to wrap up a near perfect book.
From beginning to end ‘Suicide Squad: Kicked In The Teeth’ is a joy to read. It’s the perfect introduction to the team and features all of the attitude and crass humour that you would expect from a storyline based around the group. I’m angry at myself for putting this off for so long and it far surpasses any other medium that I’ve seen the Squad involved in.
This really is balls to the wall all out fun. Whether you love action, drama, jerk neck twists or nail biting cliffhangers, there is something for you here. It is fun on the surface but also tackles deeper issues such as Black Ops and false flag attacks.
It’s rare that I enjoy a graphic novel as much as I have Kicked In The Teeth, I cannot recommend it highly enough. This NEEDS to be in your comic collection
That’s why it gets a…