In the New 52 era version of Suicide Squad, government agent Amanda Waller has created a black ops group out of expendable villains to take on covert missions. The reward for success is the possibility of a shorter prison sentence, though failure or insubordination will lead to getting your head blown off. Any way you slice it, they’re pretty much screwed.
The modern squad features a largely-revolving door of villains that are forced to fight for the government, though the three principle members are field leader Deadshot, Harley Quinn and King Shark. In this first trade paperback, the squad goes on their first mission and one of the members goes AWOL.
What immediately caught me off-guard with this book is how dark everything gets. It constantly deals with more mature subject matter in a way that feels edgy without being forced. There’s a lot of death here, as well as Harley Quinn pushing the envelope farther than she ever did as the Joker’s sidekick. It’s not for everyone, but I really enjoy the approach. The dynamics that are introduced here with the crazy missions and awkward character interactions make for a compelling read that stands out from your standard-issue superhero fare.
Harley Quinn and Deadshot are the true stars of this story. Neither get to do much in the first issue, but they get better as the story here progresses. Deadshot is constantly caught up in struggles over power with Amanda or other members of the team, while Harley Quinn has proven to be a loose cannon. She holds her own in battle while her volatile nature and deep feelings for the Joker manifest themselves in interesting ways. As the story progresses, their personality traits and plot points make it increasingly difficult for them to work together.
Backed by great art, crazy stories and interesting character personalities, Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth is a fun read. The stakes are constantly high and an opportunity for Deadshot and especially Harley Quinn to shine on their own. After finishing this one up, I already made plans to carry over to Vol. 2 as soon as possible.