Review: Future State: Suicide Squad trade paperback (DC Comics)

Rounding out our Future State reviews is Future State: Suicide Squad, which variably we might call the horror-focused Future State book or the Future State book a little more on the violent heroes side.

If among these — Suicide Squad, Swamp Thing, supernatural Shazam and Black Adam — the inclusion of the Teen Titans seems unusual, look no further than new Suicide Squad writer Robbie Thompson’s recent Teen Titans run (with Adam Glass), which was among the darkest Titans runs in recent memory (yet gloriously mature and melodrama-free. You should check it out. I’ll wait). Here, Thompson deservedly has the Suicide Squad while Tim Sheridan has Teen Titans ahead of Teen Titans Academy; both of those books are now cancelled about a year in to Infinite Frontier, but I’m still eager to check out this weird interconnected corner of the DCU.

[Review contains spoilers]

Though Suicide Squad and Teen Titans Academy will eventually come together, in this collection “Suicide Squad” (and also “Swamp Thing”) are the odd miniseries out, while “Teen Titans,” “Shazam,” and “Black Adam” share threads in common (at the same time “Black Adam” was a backup story to “Suicide Squad,” so it’s all connected-ish). Though it will be Sheridan and not “Black Adam” writer Jeremy Adams who takes the reins of the “Raven Saga” that unfolds through those three books, Adams' “Black Adam” is perhaps the most consequential, unexpectedly finishing a time travel loop to connect to the here and now in the end.

[See the latest DC trade solicitations.]

Indeed, as many of you predicted, Adams' “Black Adam” story gives me much more confidence about his upcoming Flash after his less polished Future State: Superman Black Racer story. First of all, Adams has the fantastic audacity to set his Black Adam story amidst the DC One Million characters, a highly unlikely setting for Black Adam that works wonderfully; Adams even goes so far as to spotlight, and kill, the gold-plated Superman Prime of One Million, a gutsy move I couldn’t help but admire.

Second, Adams' enjoyable but mildly rote Black Adam story (poor peaceful Teth Adam is forced to take up bloody violence once again) takes a great left turn in the middle when Gold Beetle(!) shows up out of the timestream, as irreverent as her namesakes, to make a fumbling attempt to save all reality.

That the Future State writers have often trotted out unexpected characters in their stories has been among the joys of these books. Here we get not just the Justice Legion-A and Gold Beetle, but Resurrection Man, Phantom Stranger, Amethyst, Zauriel, you name it. Adams is funny, even irreverent — as when a time-tossed Black Adam disembowels Tempus Fugit — and artist Fernando Pasarin draws some “oh, brother” faces worthy of Kevin Maguire.

Between “Teen Titans” and “Shazam!,” Sheridan builds an intriguing sense of doom over whatever’s coming down the pike for the team. There’s a lot of doublespeak here, with Sheridan going to such pains to discuss the events of the past (and Red X’s identity) without actually revealing anything that some of it is hard to parse, but I’m hooked irrespective. And again, no small amount of surprises and cameos that demonstrate Sheridan’s encyclopedic knowledge of the DCU — Deadman as the Question, a Titans team with Power Girl Tanya Spears, Miss Martian, and Bunker, the Spectre and the actual JSA brownstone(!), and a range of Titans from Crush and Roundhouse to Kid Devil and Pantha.

I routinely enjoy Ram V’s work, and he wrote a Swamp Thing story in classic style over in Justice League Dark. His post-apocalyptic Future State Swamp Thing story is fine, certainly beautifully drawn by Mike Perkins, and Ram V’s botanical research here is top notch. Whether the Vertigo-esque Swamp Thing horror is quite on point here, I’m not so sure — what we’ve seen before from Ram V was perhaps a bit more chilling — but I recognize that’s what I’m looking for from the story and not necessarily what the story was meant to be. Big thumbs up, again, for bringing in Obsidian out of nowhere (when have Swamp Thing and Obsidian ever “teamed up” in a comic before?!) and the indigo plant-being that Swamp Thing creates here is a nice nod to the Alan Moore days.



Again, it’s a strange corner of the DC Universe aborning with Future State: Suicide SquadSuicide Squad is soon (trade-wise) to cross over with Teen Titans Academy, the Suicide Squad appears in Ram V’s upcoming Swamp Thing miniseries, and so on. As well, again, Suicide Squad and Teen Titans Academy are due to be cancelled, and Swamp Thing is a limited series that won’t last much longer than those. Just bad luck for all of these, or like Infinite Frontier and other seemingly intentional limited “maxiseries” these days, is this planned obsolescence ahead of something new from Robbie Thompson and Tim Sheridan? Peacemaker and the Titans Squad, anyone?

[Includes original and variant covers, character designs]


Post a Comment

To post a comment, you may need to temporarily allow "cross-site tracking" in your browser of choice.