Extreme Makeover: Suicide Squad Edition

When Ales Kot recently announced his departure as writer of Suicide Squad, I must confess my heart sank just a bit. Kot had only written 3 issues of the series since taking over on issue #20, but his contributions were significant. What had become a poorly plotted, bland, gratuitous mess under previous writer Adam Glass (and various artists) had finally started to live up to its grand potential. During the launch of the New 52 initiative, many fans hoped Suicide Squad would be the spiritual successor to the fan favorite series Secret Six. What we got instead was a convoluted, overly violent team book filled with one dimensional characters who were randomly killed and brought back with seemingly no rhyme nor reason.

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I had pretty much given up on Suicide Squad when it was announced that Ales Kot, writer of creator-owned series Wild Children and Change would be handed the reigns to the team of miscreants along with Shadowman artist Patrick  Zircher.  Kot’s previous series were anarchic acid trips, full of youthful madness and dizzying color.  Just the thought of him doing an ongoing title for DC was exciting, if quite a bit puzzling. I picked up issue  #20 of Suicide Squad and it turned out to be all I could have hoped for. Clever, witty writing, full of deranged energy and top notch, innovative art by Zircher. Bringing James Gordon, Jr. into the fold (and having him fall for Amanda Waller) was a stunning development, and the one dimensional characters of previous issues began to  flesh out in interesting ways. But, alas, Kot’s run is over before it could even begin, with issue #24 seeing new writer Matt Kindt take his place as series writer.

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Now, I’m a huge fan of Matt Kindt’s work as well, and his issues of Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E and back-ups in Justice League of America have been some of the finest entries in the New 52 canon so far. Patrick Zircher will continue art duties on Suicide Squad as well, so I do  have hope that the quality of  the book will remain as high under Kindt’s control.  However, issues #20 through #23 will always be a reminder of what could have been, a perfect beginning to an epic run by a young writer that just wasn’t in the cards.  Here’s to hoping that the series will retain the riotous spirit of those 3 fantastic issues.

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