The war for Earth-3 has come to an end and opened a new chapter for the rebel hero-villains of the Suicide Squad. Written by Dennis Hopeless, with visuals by artist Eduardo Pansica, Júlio Ferreira and Dexter Soy, colors by Jeremiah Skipper and Peter Pantazis, and lettering by Wes Abbot, suicide squad #14 ends a promising arc of a series that is usually thrilling, but with some twists. This issue, titled “Defunded – Part 1”, picks up where the last issue left off after Amanda Waller defeated the Evil Justice League of Earth-3 with the reluctant help of the Suicide Squad.
The victory, however, is short-lived. Back in their own dimension, the Squad is in ruins. Two members are killed in action, Talon dying shortly after, Culebra is left without a body, Belle Reve is destroyed, Amanda Waller is MIA, and Task Force X is disbanded. The team is left without a goal or funding, although at least they have to keep Bloodsport and his brothers. What’s a ragtag team of misfit heroes to do now? Their first mission is to meet, then they have to find new funding, at all costs. Rick Flag has some ideas on how to get it.
suicide squad is a franchise known for its reckless abandon, chaos, dark humor, and disregard for convention, matching the generic attitudes of its ragtag cast of anti-heroes, anti-villains, and misfits. Everything from wins and losses to brutal deaths and mayhem has a strong sense of comedy. Most of the time it is effective. However, suicide squad #14 does not quite correspond to this energy.
In this series, the last 13 issues have focused on the crossover event, the War for Earth-3. It was a high stakes battle with lots of bloodshed, casualties and drama that ended abruptly. This is a recurring problem for suicide squad #14. Previously constructed storylines, character arcs in development, and new story twists are all dropped abruptly and with little or no warning or resolution. Belle Reve’s destruction is sudden and seems almost aimless, doing nothing more than scattering the Squad a bit further – a problem that is resolved fairly quickly. Talon’s death is just a wave of the hand and doesn’t have the impact it might have had, despite his final tender moment with Culebra, which Ambug Bug so kindly expands on for the benefit of the audience.
This kind of irreverence is par for the course for the Suicide Squad, which reveled in its subversive take on superheroes and the conventions of DC Comics canon. However, that fails here as the issue loses much of its narrative momentum immediately afterwards, except for a few scenes which, while action-packed and fun, feel disjointed.
So far, writer Dennis Hopeless has captured the tone and pacing of Suicide Squad well; however, this issue lacks comparison as the previous arc dropped just as it was gaining momentum. suicide squad #14 feels less like another chapter in a story and more like a filler glitch between two arcs. The problem is picking up the pieces of the Earth-3 storyline and scrambling to fix the problems, which can be frustrating to read.
However, suicide squad #14 is not without a few draws. There are glimmers of that signature twisted humor that makes the series so enjoyable. Ambush Bug is the star of the cast for his carefree and naive attitude, quick wit and distinctive speech patterns. His chemistry with Peacemaker, in all its gruff and violent glory, steals the show. The visuals shine here too, with the line art having a rough, almost unfinished quality, with luscious, grimy textures in the colors.
suicide squad #14 doesn’t feel like the conclusion of an arc but more like a bridge between two stories – one that may be difficult for some readers to cross without some sense of disappointment. However, the final scene and a promising tease of Lex Luthor’s involvement in the story beckon readers to the other side.
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