Friday, June 9, 2017

Suicide Squad, Vol. 2: Going Sane

 Still profoundly stupid, still terribly written....yet vaguely entertaining enough to keep me coming back.

 SUICIDE SQUAD, VOL. 2: GOING SANE collects SUICIDE SQUAD #'s 5-8 and the HARLEY QUINN AND THE SUICIDE SQUAD APRIL FOOLS' SPECIAL, and continues the short lead story/short back-up story format that allows the book to maintain a bi-weekly schedule and keep Jim Lee providing some art each issue. As I said when I reviewed SUICIDE SQUAD, VOL. 1: THE BLACK VAULT, this format does not make for an especially enticing collection if you're just here for the Jim Lee art, like I am. (Writer Rob Williams continues to be atrocious, but more on that later.)

 The main story here is continued from the previous collection: The Suicide Squad has liberated "The Black Vault" from its Russian captors, and taken it back to Belle Reve Prison, where Amanda Waller plots to extract crazed Kryptonian warlord General Zod from it so she can have him for reasons. ("Rebirth" Amanda Waller seems to hate superheroes for some reason....I'm sure this will be tied to the tragic backstory that Williams hints at here, which I assume will be revealed in the Justice League/Suicide Squad crossover.)

 Oddly, Zod is depicted as being about twenty feet tall, which is explained by Williams with some dialogue along the lines of "Wow, The Black Vault made Zod about twenty feet tall!". Despite knowing that Zod is basically Superman crossed with Hitler, and made about twenty feet tall, Waller thinks that she can control him. Zod, of course, breaks loose and unleashes hell, while The Black Vault (Again, reasons.....) makes everyone in Belle Reve crazy and homicidal. (Except Harley Quinn, who it makes sane. Reasons.) Somehow, Harley, who is really just a lightweight, street-level hood with an education, is able to take down everyone in Belle Reve, from the weakest scientist to Zod himself, to save the day. (Jim Lee's art is fun, and makes all of this nonsense at least semi-palatable.) If I had the impression that this was a Harley-centric book after reading the first volume, this one hammered that point home. It's Harley's world, and the rest of the Squad, save perhaps Amanda Waller, are all just under-characterized set dressing.

 Write Rob Williams.....where do I start? For such a high-profile book, DC should have hired a heavyweight author. Considering the fact that no one but John Ostrander and Kim Yale have ever done the team right, and also considering the fact that Kim Yale has passed on, they should have hired Ostrander, who has tremendous goodwill built up among fans of the team. But, since they probably figured that Jim Lee would be enough of a draw, we got Williams, instead. Williams, who makes Captain Boomerang call people "Raw Prawns". Williams, who makes Killer Croc try to eat people while screaming "ENTRAIL RAMEN!!!", whatever that means. Williams, who christens Harley Quinn the "Quinnpin of crime"...ugh. Williams makes everyone in this book think and act as stupid as humanly possible over and over again. I doubt I'll keep going with this series once Jim Lee is done. It is truly an offense to my intelligence.

 The remainder of the book consists of the back-up stories, this time featuring The Enchantress, Hack, Killer Croc, and Killer Frost, whose solo story also serves to set the table for the aforementioned Justice League/Suicide Squad crossover. (In what world would it take The JLA more than two minutes to wipe out The Squad...? Just saying....) The stories range from eh to OK.

 We also get the HARLEY QUINN AND THE SUICIDE SQUAD APRIL FOOLS' SPECIAL, which is pretty much a regular issue of Harley's solo book, with a small Amanda Waller appearance. Unfunny comedy...not my cup of tea.

 This is a stunningly poorly written book, with some nice art that may or may not distract you from how terrible the story is.

  SUICIDE SQUAD, VOL. 2: GOING SANE earns a middling six out of ten harlequin heads:
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 DC Comics provided a review copy.