Comics

Suicide Squad: Get Joker / Comic Book Review

DC Black Label is an imprint of DC Comics comprised of miniseries that take place outside of the regular continuity. The books are printed in Prestige Format (a term coined by DC Comics that later came into wider use), which is a square bound comic book with higher quality paper and printing that uses card stock covers. I find that they are beautifully produced.

The first series produced under DC Black Label was Batman: Damned, which was written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by the legendary Lee Bermejo, and was nothing short of excellent. Some of the subsequent books published by Black Label have been, for me, varied in their success (Superman: Year One and Wonder Woman: Death Earth were only okay, while Batman: Last Knight on Earth was quite good, though oddly not printed in the Prestige Format). However, I am looking forward to Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons—it looks beautiful!

The latest publication from Black Label is Suicide Squad: Get Joker. In this iteration of the DC Universe, the antihero, Red Hood, is arrested and is serving time for his crimes. Amanda Waller recruits him to be part of the Task Force X, also known as the Suicide Squad, to track down the Joker and assassinate him. Joker has (finally) been branded as a domestic terrorist. Interestingly, the book mentions the January 6th insurrection. Wild Dog, who is part of this iteration of the Suicide Squad, notes that he is serving time for defecating “on the Speaker of The House’s desk.”

The first issue, written by Brian Azzarello, was an excellent set up for a story that will eventually pit Red Hood against the Joker, who once killed him when he was Robin (watch the below video from Variant Comics for an excellent explanation of this). I loved the artwork by Alex Maleev, who has worked on several Batman titles; his artwork has a classic execution with a modern sensibility (it looks good on paper, which is how I read it, as well as electronically).

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I absolutely recommend this title.

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Recommended viewing:

Superman Earth-One Volume 1 Cover

Superman: Earth One (Comic Book Review)

DC comic titles employ the concept of a multiverse, which is a fictional intergalactic construct assembling the various universes where the stories take place (click here to read more on the various Earths of the DC multiverse). One recent and popular example is the second season of the hit television series, The Flash, which has recently featured The Flash of Earth 2.

The Flash of Two Worlds

The comic book cover where the multiverse was first introduced and the television series paying homage.

My favorite DC title taking place on one of the alternate Earths is Earth 2. I have long been a fan of the multiverse concept and it was one of the reasons why I purchased a copy of Superman: Earth One (Volume 1) at the 2015 New York City Comic Con.

Earth One presents Superman in a familiar way: rocketed from the doomed planet of Krypton as an infant, landing on earth to be found and raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent. What distinguishes Earth One is how wonderfully grounded it is: we see Superman congruently come to terms with his humanity and Kryptonian nature while trying to save the world from an alien invasion. If this plot seems familiar it is because the 2013 film, Man of Steel, was clearly influenced by this book (published in 2010). What makes Earth One better than Man of Steel are the never-before-seen invading aliens, whose origins were a complete surprise! Bravo to J. Michael Staczynski for brilliantly adding to the already rich Kryptonian mythology. After reading Earth One, I have to again ask: Why do Kryptonians look exactly like Earthlings?

Artist Shane Davis does an outstanding job depicting the well-known characters, Metropolis, the new aliens and all of the science fiction elements of the story. The artwork combines a modern sensibility with a classic color palette.

DC has published two more volumes of Superman: Earth One and has, to date, published two volumes of Batman: Earth One with Wonder Woman: Earth One on the horizon in 2016. If these titles are as good as Superman: Earth One I am going be enjoying some more great comic book reading in the near future.

Earth One

The Earth One versions of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.