In this week’s Future State from the DC Comics‘ slate of releases we get a title that could go any number of ways. Suicide Squad 1 brings up images of one of the most popular groups on the big screen. While many members rotate through the Suicide Squad rosters, the first faces that spring to mind are villains like Harley, Boomerang, Deadshot, and others. I really hoped this issue would do a good job with Harley, but guess what – she’s not in here! The rest of the popular squad is also AWOL. In fact I recognize one face and he does not belong to the Squad at all.
Before we get into the actual story I feel I need to warn you – This is one of the most messed up titles to date in Future State. It borders the DC Black Label characteristics. We have hands being chopped off, people being liquified, heads exploding. The story itself feels very messed up, but then again we are dealing with Amanda Waller. The cover to this issue does a wonderful job of showcasing the confusion within.
Suicide Squad 1 – Who Are the Good Guys Again?!
Suicide Squad always took the concept of good and evil and ignored it completely. The very nature of the team and their missions operates in the gray in-betweens of morality, and this title nails that fact. Every team seems to be a mix of both good and bad, even our so called Justice Squad.
We start off with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and Flash, but these are not the heroes we know and love, save one. William Cobb (Talon), Hypnotic Woman, Fisherman, Bolt, and a Clayface descendant wear the facades of the Justice League. Only Superman remains in the family. Conner Kent (or clone there of), formerly Superboy, wears the red and blue now.
They take on a group of villains, but in the process Flash severs Sinestro’s hand, Brainiac gets melted into goo, and did I mention Batman’s head blows up?! The team fractures. Wonder Woman talks about that’s all part of the job, while Flash fights her sense of morality with what they’ve done. Brainiac’s dying head even pleads with Conner to remember who he truly is. The Justice Squad comes up lacking in the morals department for sure.
If any of this sounds a bit familiar, it should. When they return to base, who should appear but Waller herself. A Suicide Squad by any other name…. Can the team stay together long enough to achieve Waller’s utopian plan? They better because the real Suicide Squad appears to be on their tails next issue.
The thing I love most about the first half of this issue comes from Flash and Superman. Their moral qualms and soul searching despite their actions add some nice depth and contrast to this title. Normally, the Suicide squad is bad guys being forced to do good, so their homicidal tendencies need to be reigned in. This squad as the opposite problem.
Suicide Squad 1 – The Search For Black Atom
The second story in this title features Black Atom. After so many years hearing about the Rock’s movie coming out, this story intrigued me. I know little about him, so I was curious what this story would cover.
Time jumps ahead centuries. Magic is dead in the universe. Science and technology now rule, but as with all things, when there is an imbalance, a crisis will rise up to restore the balance. The future Justice League of Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Batman (exact identities unknown) witness a magical evil rise up – the Seven Deadly Sins. Wrath, Gluttony, Envy, Pride, Greed, Sloth, Lust, and their leader, Lord of Chaos, destroy everything as they tear across the universe. When confronted by Superman Prime, they make short work of him.
The Justice League can think of no options to stop this evil, but Wonder Woman knows of someone who might be able to help. They board Voyager and travel to the planet Khandaq, but no one has been allowed to land in centuries. The planet adapts technology from across the universe and evolved into a technological refuge. Thanks to Wonder Woman the Justice League is allowed to land.
Suicide Squad 1 – A Reason To Live
They find Teth (who looks like The Rock – go figure), but now Teth embodies the peaceful ways of a monk. He turned his back on magic and now lives peacefully, but science cannot hold back the mystical evil and the seven deadly sins soon crash through the planetary defenses. The Justice League quickly becomes overwhelmed. Defeat is immanent except the Sins make one mistake. The power of the sins overwhelm the heroes, but when Wrath goes after Teth, Teth absorbs the anger and it awakens the persona he walked away from long ago. Black Atom returns.
Only Wonder Woman and Teth manage to retreat to temporary safety. Here comes the interesting part. Wonder Woman knew about Teth because they have been dating. In fact, despite being impossible, somehow Wonder Woman carries Black Atom’s child! Wonder Woman is made from a statue and Black Atom hasn’t been able to have children since Ancient Egypt. Nevertheless, a child comes and Black Atom swears he will not lose.
As the Sins and corrupted Justice League members finally crash through the door, a giant gold ship crashes into the room as well. Out steps a female decked out in blue and gold – the Gold Beetle!
Suicide Squad 1 – Above and Beyond
This title exceeded my every expectation. It started as a lesser known group of people and told two fantastic stories. Both used their characters wonderfully and gave us reasons to care about them. Normally the second story in the Future State titles only adds fluff and means little, but this time I really liked the Black Atom Story as well. It told a power story while not cutting into the narrative of the main story.
This title surprised me and ranks amongst the best of the Future State titles to date. I highly recommend this title if you have not read it yet.
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