Comic Book Review – Suicide Squad Volumes Seven and Eight

Suicide Squad: The Dragon’s Hoard (2017)
Reprints Suicide Squad #50-58
Written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale
Art by Robert Campanella, Jim Fern, Geof Isherwood, Karl Kesel, Tom Mandrake, Luke McDonnell, and Grant Miehm

Suicide Squad: The Final Mission (2019)
Reprints Suicide Squad #59-68
Written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale
Art by Geof Isherwood, Robert Campanella, and Andrew Pepoy

The opening chapter of The Dragon’s Hoard sees Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad fully operating as mercenaries for hire, breaking most ties with the US government. It was the 50th issue of the series. It’s an oversized affair that interweaves the history of Task Force X with a fight against the undead. Rick Flag is revealed to have a son that the Squad never knew about, and the child is in danger. Waller feels compelled to honor her fallen friend and protect his child. That means putting together a crew of mainstays from the run. The team ends up facing zombie-fied versions of foes they’ve encountered along the way.

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Comic Book Review – Suicide Squad Volumes Five and Six

Suicide Squad: Apokolips Now (2016)
Reprints Suicide Squad v1 #31-39
Written by John Ostrander, Kim Yale, and Robert Greenberger
Art by John K. Snyder III, Luke McDonnell, Grant Miehm, and Geof Isherwood

Suicide Squad: The Phoenix Gambit (2017)
Reprints Suicide Squad v1 #40-49
Written by John Ostrander, Kim Yale, and David M. DeVries
Art by Geof Isherwood, Luke McDonnell, and Mark Badger

Suicide Squad had an interesting conceit that allowed it to shift the narrative focus every few issues. It was also easy to drop new characters into the book and toss them out when needed, as they were primarily supervillains going through Belle Reve’s revolving door or getting killed on the missions. For the first two and half years of the title, that was how things were, but in the wake of The Janus Directive, it appeared John Ostrander was interested in dramatically shifting what the Suicide Squad would be. Before he can head off in a new direction, though, he has to wrap up loose ends from previous years.

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Comic Book Review – Suicide Squad Volumes Three & Four

Suicide Squad: Rogues (2016)
Reprints Suicide Squad v1 #17-25, Annual #1
Written by John Ostrander (with Kim Yale and Larry Ganem)
Art by Luke McDonnell, Graham Nolan, Peter Krause, Keith Giffen, and Grant Miehm

Suicide Squad: The Janus Directive (2016)
Reprints Suicide Squad v1 #26-30, Checkmate #15-18, Manhunter #14, Firestorm #86, and Captain Atom #30
Written by John Ostrander (with Paul Kupperberg, Kim Yale, Cary Bates, and Greg Weisman)
Art by Grant Miehm, Steve Erwin, Rick Hoberg, John K. Snyder III, Pablo Marcos, Doug Rice, Tom Mandrake, and Rafael Kayanan

The first year and a half of Suicide Squad had writer John Ostrander figuring out what the book would be. This means several cast members rotate in and out, never having clear arcs. By this point, the core members of the group were established. Amanda Waller. Rick Flag. Bronze Tiger. Deadshot. Nightshade. Captain Boomerang. There were recurring team members like Nemesis, Shade, Duchess, and others, but they didn’t quite reach the level of development seen in these characters. “The Nightshade Odyssey” brought some science fiction dimension-hopping to the book, but Ostrander pulled back on that quite a bit and decided to center his stories in the global political sphere.

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Comic Book Review – Suicide Squad Volumes 1 & 2

Suicide Squad: Trial by Fire (2015)
Reprints Secret Origins #14, Suicide Squad v1 #1-8
Suicide Squad: The Nightshade Odyssey (2015)
Reprints Suicide Squad v1 #9-16, Doom Patrol/Suicide Squad Special, Justice League International #13, Secret Origins #28
Written by John Ostrander (with Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Paul Kupperberg, and Robert Greenberger)
Art by Luke McDonnell, Bob Lewis, Erik Larsen, Keith Giffen, Al Gordon, and Rob Liefeld

In the wake of Crisis on the Infinite Earths, the DC Universe was changed. New doors were open, and the kinds of stories the company wanted to tell weren’t like what had come before. The 1987 mini-series Legends served as a sort of table setting, spotlighting the characters who would be central to the next two decades. Writer John Ostrander, new to DC Comics, plotted Legends and used it to introduce the Suicide Squad. This team was an old name repurposed into a new, exciting concept. Previously, the Suicide Squad were special agents sent on dangerous missions in a short-lived The Brave & The Bold run from the 1960s. Ostrander retroactively introduces a World War II-era group in the pages of Secret Origins to set the stage for the modern team’s grand debut.

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