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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Suicide Squad: Apokolips Now (Superhero) (Graphic Novel)

by John Ostrander  (Author) & various artists 

Publisher: DC Comics (December 27, 2016)

Softcover, 200 pages

Collecting issues 31-39 of the original 1980s run of the famed comic title. Revived now, over mainly the collective boners of people around the character Harley Quinn and how good Margot Robbie looks in still shots carrying a huge mallet. As much as I was bored by the film, I am happy it came out, because it spurred DC to reprint the original series. And with ten issues per book, it is reasonably priced at about 2 dollars an issue. The only downside is this run of Suicide Squad came out before Harley Quinn was conceived of as a character (especially not one that would crossover from the cartoon to the regular series). So the character does not appear in any of the stories.

In this volume, the Squad is made up of such villains as Dr. Light, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Lashina, Count Vertigo, Shade the Changing Man, etc., who are given time off their sentences in exchange for agreeing to go on dangerous missions for the U.S. governments. It is led by the Bronze Tiger and headed up by Amanda “The Wall” Waller - easily one of the most nuanced anti-heroes in the DC universe. The writing threads between internal politics of an espionage agency and superhero antics as deftly as any comic could. It’s a tribute to the intelligence of the writers back in the 80s how they really refined the essence of superhero comics and made it shine, all without dumbing down the story or dialogue. There’s a reason why all the superhero films keep plundering storylines from the 80s.

In the case of this story, Lashina (who has been going by the codename Duchess) has discovered a way to return to Apokolips and attempt to retake her place as leader of the Female Furies. To this end, she recruits and kidnaps most of the Suicide Squad and forces them to attack Granny Goodness and the Furies. Lots of death occurs. The Forever People show up, along with a number of other Kirby created characters, and engage in a free-for-all where the deaths pile up. I was surprised how many characters the writers were allowed to kill.
The fallout from the Apokolips attack leads to several of the criminals escaping and the seeming disbanding of the squad, with Amanda Waller being sentenced to prison after illegally taking out one more band of bad guys. 
  For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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