Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Suicide Squad and My Leviathan Theory

There are so many new comics out there and the price point is so high these days that a new title has to grab me almost immediately to keep me interested. Gone are the days of me giving a book 6 months to establish a tone.

When a new book has a creator on it I trust, I will sometimes give book a little longer.

Suicide Squad #1 came out 6 months ago. I have liked the concept of the Suicide Squad since Legends way back in 1987. This new book was written by Tom Taylor, a writer whose work I loved on All New Wolverine. And Deadshot and Harley Quinn were both still on the team. This team should have had a few issues leeway.

But after the first issue I left.

This truly felt like a bold, new direction for the concept of the team and I was looking to slip into the warm bath of familiarity.

So I never picked up the second issue.

And then something funny happened. Two very good comic friends, Martin Gray, from Too Dangerous For A Girl, and Paul Hicks, from the Waiting For Doom podcast, both highly recommended the book to me. And when two comic friends you trust highly recommend something, you listen.

And Paul even hinted that there might be a little Leviathan Theory intrigue in the book. So you know I was in!

I went out and bought the next 5 issues, catching up on the title. And no surprise, Mart and Paul were right, this is a great book.

The book starts out shaking up the usual Suicide Squad ideas.

Harley and Deadshot are there. But the members surrounding them are clearly cannon fodder.

Amanda Waller, the usual 'Wall' who runs the show? She's out.

She has been replaced by Agent Lok. Lok is a jerk. He thinks of the squad as expendable assets. And he isn't against blowing up a few heads to show he means business.

Waller might have been as hard as nails. But she had some ethics.

In the first issue, the Squad stops The Revolutionaries, a super-powered group of diverse races and sexual orientations trying to right social injustice. The surviving members of the Revolutionaries are folded into the Squad.

But it turns out that the Revolutionaries wanted to be brought in and forced to join the Squad. Because they want to destroy it from the inside out. And they even convince Deadshot maybe that should happen.

One thing Taylor doesn't stay away from is the suicide nature of the book. A whole swath of characters, old and new, are killed in this book. Joining this team even as way to sneak into the system to destroy it, can be deadly.

And even Lok, who I assumed would be a long-lasting character since he was the straw stirring the drink, was killed.

And then, this bombshell.

With Lok dead, the new Suicide Squad, Deadshot, Harley, and the surviving Revolutionaries, dig up who is the power behind Lok.

And look who it is ... Ted Kord.

Now long standing fans of this site will remember that I tagged Ted Kord as being Leviathan. All the clues added up. Sure I had other theories. But I always thought it was Ted, right from the beginning:

And Kord isn't happy about his new Squad rebelling. He has powerful friends who can stop them. They should just surrender.

Maybe powerful friends like ... Leviathan?

Look, I know it isn't the same as him being Leviathan. But me thinking Kord could be a decent villain turned out to be right.

And I'll assume he is this way for the same reason I thought he would be Leviathan. Given all the reboots and relaunches and Manhattan-ness of the last years, the surviving Ted Kord knows what happened in other realities. He knows he was shot. He knows about the dark worlds that came after that. And he wants to make sure that doesn't happen even if he has to become a villain to assure order.

I'll also say that if he is working with Leviathan that I get partial credit on my Theory.

Anyways, this book is interesting. It has this freshness to it, the same way the Legends Suicide Squad revamped the original idea. These new characters have a sort of 'woke' sensibility, a true team for current times. And adding the Ted Kord angle? Gold.

So count me in.

And thanks to Mart and Paul for the tip.


Martin Gray said...

Great post, and I really think you can take big credit for Ted’s apparent heel turn - you put it out there in the zeitgeist for months, and those people on Earth One picked it up!

There’s also a Flash Annual featuring the Suicide Squad; it’s terrific, but really a showcase for Captain Boomerang by Flash writer Josh Williamson.

Anonymous said...

The Flash Annual was terrific.

Overall, I love this book. Anyone notice that for this latest issue, Redondo substantially changed the style of art he's been using? He used all the zip-o-tone (not just on faces, but lots of other places), and straightforward panel designs throughout, rather than the usual overlays and insets of the prior issues. I'm sure someone could explain if and how the style better suits the lighter tone.

It's like Derrington - very very square panels, but things he draws have an inherent humor to them. Maybe to be funny, you need a more solid backdrop, while more elaborate panel designs interfere with that.

Taylor and Redondo got the humor down perfectly. It's not easy to write, act or direct, but they work so well together.