Joke, as scene in Suicide Squad: Get Joker, stands in front of TV screens with the faces of Red Hood, Harley Quinn, and Wild Dog on them. He also holds a crowbar over his head.

Suicide Squad: Get Joker! Comic Book Reviews 8/4

We get a surprise Black Label book in Suicide Squad: Get Joker, and while its certainly edgy, it’s good too. It’s nice to see a new Black Label book that’s not about Batman after more were just announced last week. Hopefully it leads to more non-Batman Black Label books, though that would be surprising considering how good the main Batman book is this week. 

In fact, there’s just a lot of good books to read. Marvel is no slouch between the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Boom! Studios represents too. No, I am not sorry to say I’m far from done reviewing their books. 

Suicide Squad: Get Joker #1

Written by: Brian Azzarello

Art by: Alex Maleev

Coloring by: Matt Hollingsworth

Lettering by: Jared K. Fletcher

I am not a huge fan of Brian Azzarello’s work, nor am I a huge fan of the Suicide Squad. So why did I take a chance on this book? Because it has the Red Hood in it, it’s that simple. Turns out, Azzarello’s writing, which I’ve only liked for Wonder Woman, works well with Jason Todd, and Jason Todd works well with the Suicide Squad.

The Red Hood’s voice is captured pretty well here. His self-deprecating internal monologue is a bit muted from what I would prefer and less sarcastic, but we’re so starved for good Red Hood content that being good enough is better than nothing. 

It’s his place as leader of the Suicide Squad that really works for me. He’s a vigilante who can roll with the worst of criminals and realistically stand above them. He knows about everybody and being a former Robin, there’s tension in every scene because of it. There’s a difference between Rick Flagg knowing someone’s dossier and an ex-superhero who puts villains in the grave.

The creative team works well to create a good team dynamic too. I don’t predict that this will be one of the best Suicide Squad rosters we’ve ever had, but it’s one of the best written. Every character has a distinct voice that meshes or rubs against other characters. I respect the creative team for taking the risks they do and letting the Red Hood and Harley Quinn be the only big-name characters.

The one weakness of this book is that the Joker is the villain. In this first issue, he feels like he could have been anyone else. The cliffhanger ending leaves a lot of potentials, but I wish that another villain could have gotten the spotlight. Suicide Squad books are so good at introducing us to D-list level characters, new and old. I fear having the Joker here will only serve to have a brand name on the book’s cover.

And if I’m being honest, I don’t usually love Azzarello’s take on the Joker, so here’s hoping there’s a twist to warrant making it about him. 

So overall, I liked this issue, it’s the Black Label Red Hood book we should have had ages ago. How did it take so long for Jason to be on the Suicide Squad anyway?

X-Men #2

The X-Men flying down towards the viewer. In order, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Synch, Rogue, Polaris, and Sunspot.
One of the best X-Men rosters we’ve had.

Written by: Gerry Duggan

Art by: Pepe Larraz

Coloring by: Marte Garcia

Lettering by: VC’s Clayton Cowles

This X-Men series very much feels like it’s trying to answer a lot of the criticism the X-books have been facing since the start of Dawn of X. Some readers feel like they’re not fighting evil enough like superheroes, but they can’t say that about this book.  

To start, the teammates are already comfortable with each other, Jean and Synch in particular. There’s drama brewing between teammates, with good rapport between all of them. There’s even another giant monster the artists draw the heck out of, letting the team combine their powers in more fun ways. 

This second issues cements that this is the book fans have been asking for. It does leave a bit of the higher concept Hickman-stuff by the wayside, but there’s hints of it coming. The villains embody a lot of what I love about Hickman’s sci-fi works, and its amazing that someone else is doing similar stuff.

If nothing else, this issue is a day in the life of a superhero team. It shows what they do when they’re not superheroes, it shows them saving the world, and shows them getting appropriately rewarded for it with respect. It almost feels too perfect, too dandy even.

I’m only getting more and more excited as I wait to see the other shoe to drop. Maybe that will be in this series, or maybe I’ll have to wait for Inferno.

Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1

The Prince of Power stands up to Hercules, whose about to punch him.
Prince of Power vs Prince of Power in this annual!

Written by: Al Ewing

Art by: Flaviano

Coloring by: Rachelle Rosenberg

Lettering by: VC’s Cory Petit

This is one of those issues that’s balls to the walls ridiculous from start to finish. This may sound off-putting but it actually ends in an almost bittersweet way. 

It’s all about the new Prince of Power who is, without a doubt, a He-Man parody. In this parody, the creative team really does have fun with the new Prince of Power and Hercules. It uses the annual format to form a special bond between them that’s a little cute, hilarious, and yet, depressing.

While it all comes off as a joke, just how immature and careless the Prince of Power is, there’s an innate sadness behind it all. The Prince of Power spends the whole book as a nobody who upon getting powers, ruins everything. The best part is that he never seems to notice, or learn a lesson. He just continues making things worse and worse, until he screws up in a way most can’t recover from. He’s completely oblivious, purposely stupid even, because its the only way to stay sane.

You’d think at the end Hercules would think he’s a madman, and the Prince of Power is his new serial killer nemesis. Instead, Hercules has compassion, recognizes the pain the Prince must be holding in, and promises to help. He figures out the Prince of Power’s schtick in a way that makes the ridiculousness of the book worth it, especially if outlandish humor isn’t your thing.

I don’t know why you would read Guardians of the Galaxy if outlandish humor wasn’t, but at the oft chance you don’t like this kind of humor, still give this book a chance. It puts the Last Annihilation crossover on pause, but makes the most of it in a way few annuals do.

Batman #111

Batman sitting in a chair, lit by red lights.
Batman’s not looking so good, but his comic is!

Written by: James Tynion IV

Art by: Jorge Jimenez

Coloring by: Tomeu Morey

Lettering by: Clayton Cowles

You know, for how much crap I talk about there being too many Batman books, it’s been a while since I’ve reviewed the main series. That’s not because it is isn’t good, it’s actually one of the best of the bat-books. It’s simply that there is an ongoing story, which hasn’t changed in quality. It’s really good, and stays that way by fleshing out new characters and showing a more empathetic side of Batman. 

This story arc may be titled “The Cowardly Lot,” but Batman has never been more sympathetic to those who are afraid. It’s great to see Batman getting down and dirty to help people down on their luck. It’s amazing to see him work to help people change their circumstance rather than fight them.

Batman doesn’t get the chance to team up and get to know the common people of Gotham. He’s always wrapped up in some murder mystery or plot by a supervillain to take it over. He finally has the chance to get to know people again, and now as the climax of the arc is coming, I get elating feelings seeing him defend them. 

With the creative team this book has, it’s been nothing but consistent Bat-goodness every month. The art style hasn’t changed since the arc started, the writer hasn’t changed, and the refreshing feeling it’s carried with each issue hasn’t either. I won’t say that this arc will be one of the best Batman stories ever told, but if this book maintains, it will be one of the best runs.

Magic #5

The three planeswalkers stand together against fire.
Planeswalkers unite! What? Do they not say that?

Written by: Jed MacKay

Art by: Ig Guara

Coloring by: Arianna Consonni

Lettering by: Ed Dukeshire

In the last three weeks I’ve gone on a Boom! Studios binge of sorts. I’ve reviewed several of their great series, but among all that they’ve published that I’ve read (five books now), this one is still my favorite. 

Maybe its because I’m a big Magic the Gathering fan. I just got back into the game in the last few months. Maybe its how much I geek out seeing the cards that kick my ass come to life on the page. Whatever it is, this series is improving on its first issue with every month. 

The characters are fun, and they stay dynamic with their constantly changing setting. This series could have been a lot blander if it wasn’t about the planeswalkers. They show a kind of multiverse that’s vastly different from Marvel and DC, one that doesn’t get wrapped around its own nonsense and constantly brings the characters to new worlds. 

Even if its just for a few moments, each new world reveals something new about the three main characters. This issue has them jumping from world to world looking for an old planeswalker, and makes sure we enjoy the journey more than the destination.

If you want a classical fantasy series to read, with only a few blemishes, this is the one to pick up.

Suicide Squad Makes a Fan Out of Me

Just in time for the movie, a new Black Label Suicide Squad book gives me a Red Hood team-up I never knew I wanted. Expect Red Hood to be on more Suicide Squad line-ups soon, he’s already leading Task Force Z. He was tailor made for these kinds of missions, and I’ve excited to see how this mini-series ends.

And that’s far from the only win this week. My pull-list was hitting nothing but net, if you can pardon the sports pun. Marvel continued to dazzle with X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy but that’s no surprise. At the same time, Batman continues to prove that DC’s not just banking on his character, they make sure his book is a quality one too. Boom! Studios even released another book for me to love after a month writing articles and videos all about Boom! Studios comic. 

There are a lot of choices for what comics to get this week, from a lot of publishers. Basically, good for the soul, bad for the wallet.

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