We are in the midst of New 52 relaunch titles for DC Comics and whether you approve of the change or not, its definitely something to talk about among fans of all types. Today, we got a double review for you. Just picked up The Flash #1 and decided to review it alongside Suicide Squad #1. Two comics that couldn’t be more different from one another in the same post? It’s kinda how we do things around here, I think. I’m not sure. Just read it, already.
The Flash #1
Story by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Art by Francis Manapul
The story opens up with Barry Allen (The Flash) on a date with his co-worker, Patty, at a tech symposium. A display that showcased a renewable energy source catches their attention for a bit, until masked soldiers crash the party and steal the source. Barry slips away and changes into The Flash and goes after the guys, wrecking shop and falling to the ground below, the source in one hand, a soldier in the other. He throws the soldier into a glass window in the building while he falls through the street. He manages to go back to the crime scene as Barry and discovers that the guy he just threw into the building was an old friend of his, who is now dead.
Barry investigates on his own to figure out why his friend, Manuel, was part of this group of soldiers. Barry notices someone in his apartment and corners him. Turns out it was Manuel and that he was somehow still alive. He leads him out the back of the building, where they are chased by various people. Barry purposefully falls into a lake to transform into The Flash in secret and goes after Manuel. He then finds himself surrounded by a bunch of clones of Manuel. And we are left to find out what that’s all about next month.
Being rather new to the Flash comics (I’ve only read The Flash: Rebirth and random JLA comics), I was anxious to see how they would start to retell the story. Like most of the reboots so far, it doesn’t start from the origins of the character, but rather starts fairly early in their superhero career. From what I gather, this seems to be set before Crisis on Infinite Earths and before he is engaged to Iris West. So it’s a good enough place to start if you haven’t read any Flash comics. Hopefully, they will expand on his origins in later issues. If not, well, there is always trusty ol’ Wikipedia.
The pacing of the story was fairly quick (I’ll pause while you recover from the awful irony of that statement). We get a bit of exposition and jump right into the action. There isn’t as much Flash action as I had expected, but it was enough to satisfy me. The art in the issue has a fresh feel to it. It wasn’t overly detailed but it had an interesting, sleek style to it. And the coloring went from simplistic to dynamic from page to page, which I actually liked. It gave it a nice ebb and flow.
We get a nice little mystery that leads to a bit of good old investigating, though not so much since we are thrown right back into another chase. The reveal of the multiple clones is interesting. As of right now, we have no idea who sent the soldiers or why they want the source. It was mentioned that it can re-code DNA, which seems to have already been used to clone Manuel. I’m interested to see where they go with this. This will probably be one of the comics I follow regularly.
Suicide Squad #1
Story by Adam Glass
Art by Frederico Dallocchio & Ransom Getty & Scott Hanna
If you’re into torture scenes, well, that’s kinda disturbing. But, you’ll like how this issue opens, because it hits you with the image of rats eating away at the flesh of a man strapped to a table. He is known as Deadshot and is being tortured for information. We then see that there is actually a group of people being subjugated to similar types of pain. Welcome to the Suicide Squad. As we focus on each character in the torture chamber we are given a bit of their back-story and how Voltaic, El Diablo, Savant, King Shark, Black Spider, and Harley Quinn were captured and placed on death row.
As they are being pressed for information, tensions run high and King Shark proceeds to chomp off one of the torturer’s arms. Savant freaks out and decides to spill the beans. He informs his captures how they were forced to be a part of the Suicide Squad by being kidnapped out of their cells and having micro-bombs implanted into their necks. They were then set off on their first mission but were ambushed by their current captors. They proceed to rid themselves of Savant after his use is fulfilled, and once again knock out the crew. They were woken up on a chopper and hear a familiar voice. They are told that they have passed their final test and are now part of Task Force X. They are immediately instructed to kill all 60,000 people in the Megadome in Mississippi and promptly thrown off of the chopper, ending issue #1.
I heard a bit about the concept of this series a few months ago from a podcast I had listened to and thought it was intriguing. But, I didn’t think it would be this good. This is a rather dark book and it is not shy to plunge you straight into the insanity. The art style used reflects the mood that is being set in the writing perfectly with its dark tones and sharp details.
The characters show off their sinister attitudes while fending off the captors and that really made me like them more. The torture being a test to weed out the weak members of the Squad was a great touch to the overall story and indicates that this was just the tip of the iceberg. And the fact that their mission is not just to take one person out, but to take out a whole stadium full of innocent bystanders means this book could go in any direction. But, that’s the appeal of villian-focused stores. They are not bound by the “code” of the being a good guy. There’s isn’t just one way to take care of business for them. As long as they get the job done and they survive to see another day, it’s all good to them. Also, El Diablo will pose as an interesting character since he is the only one with any kind of conscience.
This comic will definitely be on my pull list for the foreseeable future. It also has convinced me to go out and buy the first volume of the original Suicide Squad books from the 80s. I hear the second volume comes out fairly soon, so that is also something to look out for. All in all, check out this book if you have a chance and want something different and dark.