Saturday, December 07, 2013


Comic Art


 So, you're a super secret government agent tasked with dealing with some situation that is simply too dirty to in the Justice League, Teen Titans, or one of the other superhero groups. Let's face it, they just do not do assassination and other such things.

Scratch that - your a comic publisher and you have a number of super-villains that seem to have taken on a life of there own. The fans are no longer content to see them merely as foils for the exploits of our heroes? What do you do?

Wait!, I know, you plant little nanotech bombs in the necks of the baddies, just to make sure they do not get a mind of their own, and then you send them off to do your dirty work. In other words you form the Suicide Squad.

The Suicide Squad did not start life as a team of baddies doing good in a bad way, but it did not take long for them to get there and I must say that the latest incarnation - the so-called "New 52" incarnation is one of the better things DC Comics has done in their otherwise troubled efforts to reboot their entire line.

It is the choice of characters that makes this so fascinating. The "star" is supposed to be a baddie by the name of Deadshot, but coming in a close second and stealing the show in my mind is Harley Quinn. For those out of the know, Harley Quinn is sort of a female "Joker, Jr." Originally the Joker's therapist in Arkham, she came under his spell, and helped him escape. He "rewarded" her by dumping her in the same vat of goo from which he crawled, turning her equally white skinned and just as mad. And yet, unlike the Joker who is evil madness incarnate, actually humanity peaks out from behind Quinn's veil of madness from time-to-time.

In the latest SS books her underlying psychiatrist personality, which let's face it had to be pretty tainted to begin with to help the Joker escape, has re-emerged and they are playing the character as a bit of multiple personality disorder. Not sure I am in favor of that - it's too convenient - I would rather see one person struggle to find sanity than a bifucated character that they can turn on and off as the story needs demand, but that is a lot of work when a character is being handed back and forth not only between writers, but media and fanbases. (The TV fanbase is quite different, and quite a bit younger than the comic base and could not begin to deal with a character this complex.)

Visually, due to her pronounced female form, Quinn is the centerpiece of the SS, no shock there. But what she represents is a real chance to explore the otherwise unfathomable mind of pure evil that is the Joker. Without, I might add, running the risk of messing about too much with on of the iconic characters in all of comicdom. This potential could make the Suicide Squad one of the most interesting books to hit comic shelves in the last several years. I am admittedly behind the time when it comes to the story line, but when I last left it, the series was shifting focus from the squad to the government agent that founded it - Amanda Waller. She too is an interesting character, but give me more Quinn.

Watching Quinn try to reach for sanity in a sea of bad would be a truly fascinating story indeed.


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