With Suicide Squad: Black Files’ first issue under its belt, issue two progresses the story and pushes the narrative in a focused direction. Once again, the issue benefits from allowing breathing room between the two stories, each with a unique approach to telling their respective tales. The apposition between The Revenge of Kobra and Rota Fortuna presents distinct flavors for various palates while appealing to every taste. The New Suicide Squad Black showcases an action-packed romp combining the best elements of team action, super spy betrayal, and dark magic.
Writer Mike W. Barr weaves a timeless depiction of the forms love can take. The Revenge of Kobra uses juxtaposition to compare the similarities between two couples with similar, yet distinct relationships; The indelible bond between Katan and Maseo as opposed to the twisted connection that Eve and King Kobra have. Katana’s tale is a very comic-book take on love that is endless, yet apparently can never be. Katana is cursed to forever remain in contact with her soul-trapped husband Maseo yet remains perpetually separated from ever genuinely being with him. However, in a turn of events, Katan is thrust into the soul-world within her blade, connecting once again with her husband. The catch is she cannot remain in the sword, her duty in the DC world proper compels her to find a way out.
On the other end of the spectrum, Eve uses Katana’s body to rekindle her romance with King Kobra. Their connection can best be described as “Bonnie and Clyde” meets world-dominating supervillain. One standout moment is when Eve and Kobra come together for a… let’s go with a carnal embrace. The implications of Katana’s body used in such a matter remains to be seen but expect the fallout to be equal parts histrionics and pure cringe.
Mike Barr chooses to forego thought bubbles or narrative boxes to support the story, opting instead to allow what is physically seen to direct the narrative like film. I’m unsure if this was a conscious decision but its absence is noticeable. Philippe Briones art is solid, it doesn’t make huge waves but doesn’t detract from the story as well. The issue felt like the next logical step for where the story is heading, and I’m glad to see Katana gain more face time in the Suicide Squad mythos.
In what may be a very unpopular opinion, Suicide Squad’s Black team is quickly earning my favor over the original squad. Suicide Squad Black ticks all the boxes comic book tropes has to offer, and I’m enjoying every page. Jai Nitz writing and Scot Eaton’s pencils work well to the set the foundation of what I can only hope is the beginning of the Black team’s saga.
After a first mission that bombed the team has recovered and reassembled with new members, Sebastian Faust remains at large and continues to build his army of cursed magic users. Rota Fortuna has all the makings of a good team book with espionage thrown in for good measure. The team takes on Faust’s dark army and lives to tell the tale, but the revelation that Faust teleportation ability is not what it seems leads the team to Gem World. That is one but one example of what makes the story click; the mystic nature of the book works well; magical characters and exotic locations from the DC universe are ripe for exploration and narrative inclusion.
The original issue introduced Dr. Thaumaturge and Aladdin — the Aladdin from lore. Unfortunately, once again Dr. Thaumaturge is given nothing to do; however, for fans wanting more, hints of future endeavors are introduced. A more considerable amount of attention is on Aladdin. He remains a mystery but is given enough face time to provide a glimpse into his personality. He takes out members of the squad (quick to anger maybe?) and proves to have an astute mind, seeing through Amanda Waller’s true motivations. Without a doubt, the best aspect of the story is the team dynamic and all the conflict it offers…
The chemistry and personal dynamic in any team book can make or break the narrative. Rota Fortuna does not disappoint. El Diablo is relieved of command, with Juniper taking over. Diablo remains the leader in the hearts of the team, but Juniper makes the calls. Juniper runs the take like an elite group of trained soldiers, whereas Diablo insists the team is a hodgepodge of criminals thrown together. Aladdin remains a mystery, and as is par for the course, Amanda Waller has hidden agendas under more hidden agendas.
Suicide Squad is quickly becoming a must-read for any DC fan, exploring a new side of DC’s anti-heroes. If all goes as it has been, I’m expecting more revelations and roller coaster ride of emotions for Waller’s latest team of derelicts.