Si Spurrier takes over writing duties this week on Suicide Squad which also sparks a new story arc entitled “The Chosen Juan”. Who is this Juan and, looking at the cover, is he way in over his head?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“THE CHOSEN JUAN” part one! When an apocalyptic new threat threatens the safety of Earth, the Suicide Squad is called into action–and they bring in a new member! But who is the mysterious Juan? And what are his powers? Is there more to him than meets the eye?
Why does this matter?
I’m quite excited to see what Spurrier brings to Suicide Squad, as he’s been writing in the realm of fantasy for so long it’ll be interesting to see what he can bring to a superhero title. Well, more like quasi-superhero title I suppose. This issue also aims to show the lesser-known cannon fodder characters Amanda Waller uses to her liking, further fleshing out her operations.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
What a shitty life.
This is a very well told issue that’s jam packed with character work and action. Spurrier opens with Juan, a prisoner of Amanda Waller’s who has always wanted to be a superhero and happens to have the power to unlock things. That’s a power more suited to a villain and it ends up cursing him into Waller’s watch. Spurrier uses Juan’s internal monologue (via captions) to flesh out his wants, fears, and desires as the story progresses. Spurrier also flashes back to key scenes to help flesh out this character and by the end, you’ll be rooting for him even though he’s probably dead meat.
There are also some awesome interactions with Juan and the Suicide Squad team members. Depending on the writer you might get different characterizations of these characters, from heroic to downright homicidal. Clearly, Spurrier is going for the latter in this issue and it’s pretty frightening. You’ll see how little Boomerang cares for Juan and the other foot soldiers, witness Killer Croc eating human flesh, and hear just how insane Harley Quinn is in battle. Spurrier does a good job establishing how insane this team is which puts an edge on them that has been missing at times. They aren’t heroes, but very much villains doing heroic things and Spurrier never lets you forget that.
The pencils by Fernando Pasarin, inks by Oclair Albert, and colors by Blond are highly detailed and give the book a top class look and feel. The detail is quite nice (at times I thought I was looking at the excellent work of Bryan Hitch or Rod Reis), more than capable of filling a page with multiple creatures, characters, and special effects. The gore is pretty freaking twisted too. I may never look at Killer Croc the same way again, either from his tearing alien heads off their bodies (and remarking on how it tastes like poop) or eating the flesh of Juan’s once lesser teammates. The vibe of the book, in general, has a horror styling that’s hard to miss.
Apparently Killer Croc thinks there is an “I” in team.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m on the fence as to whether the Suicide Squad serving as supporting characters in their own book is a good thing or a bad thing. On the one hand we get to see a relatable character go through the hell of being their teammate. On the other, if you read this title to get your Suicide Squad member fix you’ll be sorely disappointed. They serve more as window dressing than main characters. I enjoyed the narrative a lot, but I could see some folks scratching their head as they get very little focus on their favorites.
Is It Good?
This is a wild first issue in an arc that seems to be giving us the twisted and villainous version of the Suicide Squad we’ve all known and loved. Si Spurrier draws you in with a relatable everyman like character which further draws your attention to the horrific and scary nature of a super team made up of psychos and villains.