Suicide Squad, Vol.1: Kicked in the Teeth by Adam Glass is the New 52’s origin tale of the Suicide Squad. It also has the storyline of when Harley Quinn is told that the Joker is dead, skinned alive in Arkham Asylum. With the upcoming excitement of the movie adaptation of this offbeat team of reluctant superheroes. This is a good time to look back at how it all began. At least according to the New 52.
It begins, like no other comic book does, with Deadshot tied down, his costume torn open and a bucket of ravenous rats pinned to him, chewing and eating his flesh. His interrogator asks him one simple question, “Who sent him?” Around Deadshot, his team is in a similar predicament. Each member of his team is being tortured and the question asked of each of them. “Who sent them?” On one side the clown princess Harley Quinn hangs, her hands tied above her as jumper cables are attached to her face…she thinks, “It hurts, but I’ve been hurt worse…” They were captured after a mission gone wrong and now they are being forced to give up who they are and who they work for. Only what they don’t know is that the mission didn’t go wrong. It went just as planned and they are being tested to see if they will give up their mission and their boss.
This is the Suicide Squad. A misfit band of criminals given the opportunity to have time shaven off their sentences, only catch is they need to do the work no one else wants to. And should they think of trying to sneak off, that little nano bomb implanted in their necks will be the difference between doing the job and getting away. No one holds them accountable, their are no rules, just get the job done.
They are recruited from prison and given their missions. The first mission comprises a team of six against 60,000 weaponized and infected people. The answer is simple, find the antidote and kill all the carriers. All 60,000 of them. Their controller is Amanda Waller, ruthless and fanatical. She is dedicated to the mission, willing to deliver whatever body count is needed, even when it is her own team.
The second mission is a bit more personal. A riot breaks out in the prison and soon Waller realizes who the main culprit is. The Suicide Squad must hunt one of their own and the chase for Harley Quinn begins!
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. Okay, this is not original. Maybe to this generation but those of us who have been around a little while, we have seen this before in multiple versions. This is the Dirty Dozen. Bad guys made to do a suicide mission, mainly because they are expendable? How about a movie called the Expendables? Little bombs injected into their necks that have timers so that if you don’t complete the mission, you go kaboom? Hmmm….can we say Snake Pliskin? Escape From New York and the totally forgettable Escape From LA?
So its not original, well this is one of the few times I say, so what. This is what DC does best in a nutshell. Damn good stories with damn good artwork. Suicide Squad is the kind of story that makes comic books fun. It creates a team while celebrating each super-villian’s individuality. Harley ends up taking up most of the page but her personality demands it. I have to believe that the movie will be somewhat the same. Deadshot is pretty powerful too and there is an incredible vulnerability to the characters that we don’t normally get a clue to. Here it takes center stage and we get a better and more satisfying picture of these characters.
Suicide Squad is a really good book that rises way above its obvious flaws. This book has done more for the character of Harley than any of the prior appearances ever could.
A really fun read.