Writer: John Ostrander
Artist(s): Javier Pina, Robin Riggs
Publisher: DC Comics
This book makes me feel old.
OK, maybe the fact that I’m over 30 is what should make me feel old, and I suppose it does, but this title doesn’t hurt.
First off, give the devil his due time: Ostrander has done a fine job of writing this like a modern comic rather than an ‘80s nostalgia-fest. It reads like a contemporary book, with all of the good and bad things that implies.
Let’s start with the bad because, you know, I’m old and cranky. First off, this is the THIRD issue, and so far all we have accomplished is explaining how Flag could still be alive. By the end of this issue – spoiler alert! – he’ll be alive and back home.
Nut three issues in and we have not seen the Squad in action!
Look, I know things have changed, as Bob Dylan put it, and I’ll never have another Ostrander tale with my classic Squad. Cool. But the dynamic of that squad could easily be re-created – the “good” soldier Flag and Bronze Tiger struggling to control a team of morally ambivalent ops like Deadshot and outright scumbags who only grudgingly do the right thing, and that’s only part of the time. It was superhero action with espionage and a heaping helping of ethical ambiguity. Good stuff.
But even if it says Suicide Squad on the cover – wait, let me check; yeah, it does – this isn’t a Suicide Squad story, and we’ve spent three issues now warming up to tell a Suicide Squad story.
Three issues. That’s nine dollars of my money. Plus tax. And I still haven’t gotten the Old-school-Ostrander-Squad action I’ve been craving.
See, that’s part of what makes me feel old. In my day, it would have taken one issue, if that long, to bring Flag back to life and get the new team off and running. And yeah, I know the new, decompressed style of storytelling is more realistic, but, well…
Who the hell wants realistic?!? It’s a superhero comic, folks! It isn’t supposed to be realistic! It’s supposed to be fun!
Look, a more sophisticated style of storytelling can be great in a superhero comic. Without it, we never would have had Watchmen, Daredevil: Born Again, or any number of Peter David comics. But, shocking news time, there are only so many Alan Moores, Frank Millers, and Peter Davids out there. In fact, last time I checked, there was one of each. Oh, and a bizarro Alan Moore who occupies idea space, where he has spent the last twenty years churning out Watchmen sequels and hocking Hellblazer t-shirts. He is also clean shaven. Weird but true.
But there is also only one John Ostrander, and once upon a time he wrote a kick-ass comic. This ain’t it.
Bottom line: This revival has been entertaining enough so far, and this issue is no exception. The art is terrific, the story moves at a decent clip, for 2007. You’ll get a decent read if you pick this one up because it’s a decent book.
But it isn’t Suicide Squad.
However… that next issue blurb…“Next: Enter the new Suicide Squad!”
Oh. Oh man. That just set my dork heart all a flutter. Folks, pick up issue three if you want a decent read, but, oh man, grab issue four. Do it. Dollars to frikking doughnuts it will be awesome.
Did I say this book makes me feel old? Forget it. That blurb alone has awakened my inner-fanboy.
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