New Comics: Suicide Squad and Harley Quinn

It’s Week 11 of DC: Rebirth and, in a clearly coordinated effort with this weekend’s release of the Suicide Squad movie, we get both the “zero-issue” one-shot Suicide Squad: Rebirth, as well as the debut issue of a Squad member’s solo book, Harley Quinn #1. While fans of the comic book characters have taken exception to the film’s critical response as compiled on Rotten Tomatoes, they can rest easy knowing that the new comics have a much more narrow audience. Adam Graham of The Detroit News probably hasn’t ever been in a comic shop. Russell Baillie lives in New Zealand. What could he possibly know about genre flicks? The vast majority of comic readers are already familiar with, if not fans of, Suicide Squad, and Harley in particular. They’ll appreciate these books. Besides, there isn’t a Rotten Tomatoes for comics.

But maybe there should be…

Typically we’d wait until all of the rebirthed titles have been released to tabulate and publish our rankings, as we did with Marvel’s All New All Different initiative. But in honor of this weekend’s fan revolt against the aggregated Rotten Tomatoes percentages, we’re revealing our scores for these two comics right now.

SS RT image

File_004 (7)Well, look at that. The only things more poorly received than the Suicide Squad movie, were this week’s Suicide Squad comic books. The first issue of Harley Quinn’s ongoing title is a bonafide mess, peppered with both lifeless gags and lifeless adversaries. Remember when Grant Morrison and Mark Millar cleverly addressed the Skrulls that had been hypnotized into thinking they were cows by the Fantastic Four in 1963, imagining what would happen if that cattle was butchered and consumed? No? Good, because DC is hoping you didn’t know about that either. Not even a wink and a nod by way of homage.

Lousy. There’s no nuance in the way they try to introduce Harley to new fans; it’s literally like a wikipedia article with pictures. The dialogue is lame, though you gotta hand it to DC in the character names department. “Red Tool” is another moniker in a line of color-themed winners. This book tries to be whacky with breakneck transitions from zany thing to zany thing (zombies? “cool”), but it just comes off as obnoxious. Chris Hardin’s drawings are decent, but his version of the Harley get-up is not as good as the look from Arkham that inspired it, or the original design from Batman: TAS. I would be more interested in a detailed look at the character and psychology of Harley, instead of just throwing her among a circus-load of characters that get her into a bunch of cliched primetime drama-sodes. This doesn’t do any favors to Margot Robbie in building hype up for Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad movie. – tyrannofloresrex

File_002 (10)The one-shot Suicide Squad: Rebirth issue wasn’t as terrible, but I think maybe it got some sympathy points for being just slightly better than Harley. Deadshot looks ridiculous, and his “I don’t miss” motto just underscores how boring and one-dimensional this character is. Captain Boomerang attempting to recall a drunken rugby team anthem about Genghis Khan was almost enjoyable. But that, too, goes nowhere.

The reason the Suicide Squad is famous is because of their legendary first run by John Ostrander. It was the perfect mix of deep character development, a sense of danger for every character involved, social commentary, B-C list characters and dark humor. This is not that. Amanda Waller does feel like herself again and that is nice but the team falls flat. I’m not connected, nor do I feel high stakes for anyone involved yet. I’m supposed to want these people to live through each mission and feel heartbroken when they don’t all make it back. I am actively rooting for their deaths. – MeanOldPig

All-New All-Different Marvel, Week 44
We’re rapidly approaching the end of the ANAD season, and as we pass the midway point on Marvel’s huge culminating event, Civil War II, we’re also getting more significant glimpses of Marvel’s next big publishing rollout. In this week’s Invincible Iron Man #12, Tony Stark deals with the aftermath of the Inhumans’ assault on Stark Tower. But, maybe more importantly, we get Tony’s first meeing with RiRi Williams, and the reintroduction of the supposedly benevolent and suddenly good-looking Victor Von Doom, both of whom plan to figure prominently in October’s Marvel NOW! initiative.

July 27 | New Release Highlights | August 10