The Suicide Squad era is upon us and who can blame DC? With a hit movie and a hit character like Harley Quinn, this is the time to offer up special one-shot issues.
Suicide Squad: War Crimes Special #1 is the latest in the line of Squad-related one-shots and we ask the simple, yet necessary question: is it good?
Suicide Squad: War Crimes Special #1 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
When a retired American politician is taken to Europe and tried for alleged war crimes, the USA must recover him from an allied nation before terrible truths are revealed. Enter the Suicide Squad, who storm the Hague itself to save America from her own dark secrets. The writer who started a revolution, John Ostrander returns to the Suicide Squad for the first time in a decade to tell one of his boldest and bloodiest stories ever.
Why does this book matter?
Writer John Ostrander is back on this series and a lot of what makes Suicide Squad good is thanks to him. Google him if you don’t believe us; he’s what put this team on the map!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The setup and premise of this issue is sound and intriguing as Amanda Waller sends her squad out to stop an American politician from being tried for war crimes. The Squad is also up against a super baddy team too, which makes for a cool way of getting each of the characters’ power sets involved. The end makes a hell of a lot of sense too.
Ostrander manages to capture Harley’s essence with know-how. She’s nuts and funny at the same time which is what you need to make her work. I don’t know why, but calling Boomerang “Boomerbutt” resonated with me. There’s even a new member to the team, though you can tell right off the bat he’s going to be a red shirt casualty.
Artists Gus Vazquez and Carlos Rodriguez do a competent job with an early action scene that’s choreographed well. There’s plenty of detail throughout and Harley looks as crazy pants as ever.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Unfortunately, the narrative doesn’t hold up quite so well. This could be in part due to the art, which feels very flat at times and also hard to follow. In one sequence one of the Squad members is on a motorcycle and pulls out some guns; two panels later it looks like they’re pulling the guns out again, but also in the process of putting them back again? It’s confusing. The choice of angles and layouts are rather boring too and do nothing to make the action all that interesting. In one page a bad guy is shooting at the Suicide Squad and Harley stands right in the line of fire. On the very next panel and page Harley is 50 feet away attempting to save the politician. How she got there is beyond me. She then goes on to fight one of the main villains and does so off page which just feels lazy.
Don’t ever change Harley.
It doesn’t help the bad guys are rather bland or completely without character either. They’re somewhat introduced, but you’ll never care if they live or die or even get on with their mission. Which sort of carries over to the Suicide Squad too. The characters are once again forced into a mission, but they lack character (beyond Harley anyway) and don’t even use their powers that often. Deadshot is inexplicably taken out of the battle entirely for rather dumb reasons too.
To make matters even worse the entire story doesn’t matter at all. I won’t spoil it, but know it ends with a somewhat logical explanation for an action that pretty much makes the entire experience pointless. This is probably in part due to the lack of setting things up. The Suicide Squad had three minutes to capture the politician, but there’s not enough shown to make it feel important and too much explaining.
Is It Good?
Suicide Squad: War Crimes Special #1 is a very skippable special indeed. Harley fans will enjoy the character’s always silly panache, but the story lacks purpose, teeth, or exciting action.