There’s a second-rate sorcerer in possession of a magical nuclear bomb and he is not afraid to use it! In part three of the “Sink Atlantis” crossover with Aquaman, Suicide Squad #46 finds the remaining squad members as they venture into the depths of Atlantis to find the Silent School’s Core Vault. It is only in this place of powerful magic that the bomb will make the most devastating impact and return Atlantis to the depths from which it came. Also, a lot of innocent people are going to die. One part Mission: Impossible, one part political thriller, one part superhero battle-royale, with a dash of well written dialogue — Suicide Squad #46 is an entertaining read.
“OH… Was I Saying All That Out Loud?”
A huge factor in what makes Suicide Squad so entertaining to read is Williams’ grasp of each character’s dialect. From Harley Quinn’s expository narration to heated conversations, each of the characters reads as though they have a distinct voice within the team. When so much of the entertainment relies on the interactions of the squad members, these subtle differences add depth to the characters where it could be so easy to make all of the characters sound the same.
The use of Harley Quinn to deliver expository narration remains one of my favorite aspects of the issue. Instead of feeling like a tedious rehash of the events from Aquaman #39, Harley’s narration organically interjects a bit of fun into the process. This is especially beneficial to those readers who may only be reading the Suicide Squad issues of the story. To the issue’s benefit, you never feel like you’ve missed out on a part of the story if you skipped Aquaman #39. However, I will say that the story does benefit from reading the Aquaman issues because the conclusion will take place in next week’s Aquaman #40.
“You’re Second Rate and You Know It!”
One of the largest challenges that any writer faces with a title like Suicide Squad is providing the readers with an opportunity to become invested in lesser known characters. A large part of this is because we know that franchise characters like Harley Quinn and Deadshot are never truly in danger. Certainly, the loss of Enchantress in previous story arcs is the exception to this statement. Unfortunately, characters like Master Jailer often fill the role of “red shirt” so that we can feel there is some danger to each mission.
Williams does an excellent job this issue in helping the reader invest in Master Jailer. Through grouping him with Lord Satanis, Williams is able to play the two characters off of each other. As Lord Satanis sinks further into the depths of villainy, Master Jailer provides the (often disregarded) moral compass for the group. Additionally, the character’s back story is grounded in a moral quandary that I think will resonate with most people. (Please don’t let him die!)
“There’s a lot more going on below the surface a’ most people.”
At its surface, “Sink Atlantis” is a story about United States’ government using supervillains to sink a recently risen Atlantis back into the depths of the ocean. On a (somewhat) deeper level, this story serves as a critique of our current culture and our mistrust or disdain of change and the unknown. I think there’s something to be said when our nation’s reaction to a recently risen Atlantis in fiction doesn’t seem that far removed from what might happen in reality. Although these parallels may not be subtle, it is nice to see these subjects explored in the medium.
“…Now There’s a Cold Fish.”
The combination of Jose Luis’ pencils, Jordi Tarragona’s inks, and Adriano Lucas’ colors wonderfully render each of the sequences within this issue. There is just something to their collective take on Harley Quinn that stands out. Additionally, each of the action sequences and character abilities are wonderfully illustrated.
The one downfall to this issue is that I’m left wanting more. The official summary of the issue declares that the issue will contain, “the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Killer Croc versus King Shark.” Unfortunately, this battle is only given one page with little to no true fighting. As a result, it is a little disappointing that this doesn’t live up to the perceived hype.
Ultimately, Suicide Squad #46 is an entertaining issue with great character interactions. Williams gives us the opportunity to invest in Master Jailer when he could have simply been relegated to “red shirt” status. Hopefully, next issue we’ll get to see more super powered sharks fighting crocodile men!