In preparation of Friday’s release of Suicide Squad, I’ve decided to introduce a semi-new feature: The Comic Spot Quick Hits. Usually, The Comic Spot covers trade paperbacks and covers them in depth. As I’ve been reading more issues in the past few months, I felt a quick review of each issue was more appropriate than full reviews.
I’ve already got my ticket to see Suicide Squad tomorrow, and since I ordered through Fandango, they sent over some digital copies of a few relevant comics, so I decided to give them a review. Please note: these are part of the New 52 continuity, NOT the Rebirth continuity. I believe both Harley Quinn and Suicide Squad came out with their first Rebirth titles this week, so if you’re interested, you should give those a read, too.
Harley Quinn: “Hot in the City” Issue #1
As we open on Harley Quinn’s solo title, she has packed up every possession she owns and has finally arrived in New York City, looking for a fresh start. It’s not long before she falls into old habits, as a road rage incident ends with Harley sending a biker’s head off the Brooklyn Bridge thanks to her giant mallet.
Harley comes to Coney Island in order to become the landlord of a building, which happens to be above a sideshow attraction. While the idea of Harley being a landlord makes no sense, the idea of Harley being a landlord to a bunch of sideshow workers makes perfect sense. In order to cover the back taxes and fees that the old owner racked up, Harley finds a job as a therapist (in full Dr. Harleen Quinzel mode) in an assisted living facility for recovering addicts, while moonlighting at a local roller derby league (which makes WAY too much sense). While it seems like she’ll be able to settle in to her new life without much of a hitch, she quickly finds out that someone has put a hit out on her.
Harley Quinn has always brought a lighter side to the Batman universe. Even in her original introduction of Batman: The Animated Series, she was hardly ever serious, even when her relationship with the Joker was an obviously toxic one. With this solo comic series, it is no different; Harley remains happy-go-lucky throughout, even when she becomes aware of the debt that she has just agreed to take on by becoming the landlord. It’s hard to imagine this character taking place in the world that Scott Snyder created for the New 52 version of Batman, which may be the reason for Harley’s move to Brooklyn.
Overall, it’s a quirky little story; those looking for a serious take on Harley should look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for alternative programming from the usual dark and brooding Batman universe, it’s a nice little time-waster.
Suicide Squad: “Kicked in the Teeth” Issue #1
Suicide Squad was given a strange treatment during DC’s New 52 era. Like all its other titles, Suicide Squad was rebooted in 2011 and is the first time Harley Quinn became a member of the squad. The team also includes Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, and Deadshot, all of whom will be featured in the feature film. Then, in 2014, the title was rebooted again as The New Suicide Squad, which added Reverse Flash, Black Manta, and Joker’s Daughter to the roster. “Kicked in the Teeth” #1 covers the team in its initial New 52.
The story opens up with members of the squad being held captive by masked men, threatening to torture them unless they give up the names of the people they are working for. The team, at this point, consists of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, El Diablo, King Shark, and Black Spider. As the torture ramps up, the story transitions to flashbacks, as we find out what got Deadshot, Harley, and El Diablo put in Belle Reeve prison, and how they all wound up being taken captive.
The story in this issue is mostly set-up. You get a sense of the characters we’re probably going to be more focused on throughout the series and we especially get a sense of how they are treated by Amanda Waller and the higher-ups. I think this is the series you should read if you want a crash course in what the movie is going to be like. Having flipped through the first volume of The New Suicide Squad, a lot of drama in that series (at least in the early goings), is revolving around characters like Joker’s Daughter, who does not feature in the new film. At least here, you get a sense of the character of El Diablo, who will be in the movie, and he seems to have an interesting backstory to go along with a pretty cool power.
How interested are you in Suicide Squad? Do you wish DC had the guts to have just given the world a Harley Quinn movie like everyone seems to have wanted?