Variant 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:

Wonder Woman, The Movie

If you loved Superman, The Movie (1978), then you are going to love Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman focuses on the horrors of war, the value of friendship and comic book heroism. The film tells Wonder Woman’s story before she was Wonder Woman — when she was Diana, Amazonian princess and warrior in training. One day, after a fierce training session, a handsome pilot named Steve Trevor crashes off the shores of her hidden homeland of Themyscira and tells of a conflict in the outside world.  Diana leaves to fight a “war to end all wars” (then known as The Great War or to us, World War I), discovering her full powers and ultimately her destiny.

Like the film that launched the superhero blockbuster nearly forty years ago, Wonder Woman sets a new standard, most notably with regards to how timely it is. When Wonder Woman is challenged with propaganda about war, her eyes see the truth in the faces of the wounded soldiers and civilian casualties. She’s horrified by the generals who simply stand back with no consideration for the loss of life. Echoes of Syria can be felt in this film where helping people in need should be placed above religion, race or politics—something Wonder Woman conveys several times in the film. The humanity this fictional character demonstrates stands in complete contrast to the draft dodging, xenophobic “reality” show tangerine Mussolini currently in the White House. As Arris Quinones of Variant Comics noted, “…it is just really an inspiring movie. It actually made me want to go out and do good in the world.” Not surprisingly, the snowflakes at Fox “News” and the New York Post belly-ached at how Wonder Woman’s costume no longer looked “patriotic.” It should be noted that the costume still has many of the recognizable symbols, but largely draws inspiration from the mythical armor that the Amazons have been wearing for centuries (which, like democracy, has roots in Greco-Roman culture). Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth is a breath of fresh air in this time of alternative facts and fake news.

Director Patty Jenkins does a remarkable job bringing the world of Wonder Woman to life. Most notable is the depiction of the Amazons: it was truly page to screen! If you look closely, some of the Amazons were wearing elements seen in different versions of Wonder Woman’s costume.

 

Gal Gadot, as I noted last year in my review for Batman v. Superman, is nothing short of wonderful. The supporting characters all stand out with kudos to Chris Pine’s portrayal of Steve Trevor. I am looking forward to seeing the Amazons in action in the forthcoming Justice League film.

Wonder Woman should have been made a long time ago, but this film is one that was worth waiting for. It is truly worth seeing, not only because it was directed by a woman and stars a woman, but because it is the best superhero film DC has produced since the Dark Knight trilogy. Like Superman, The Movie and the Dark Knight films, this one will age really well and become a metric for superhero films.

Wonder Woman, 2017.

Directed by Patty Jenkins.

Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Ewan Bremner, Lucy Davis, Eugene Brave Rock, Emily Carey, Lilly Aspell, and Saïd Taghmaoui.

RECOMMENDED VIDEOS

The History of Wonder Woman

 

Wonder Woman’s Strongest Moments

 

The Origin of Ares

 

READING RECOMMENDATIONS

 

DC has a miniseries about the Amazons, years before the birth of Diana (Wonder Woman), titled The Odyssey of the Amazons. It is the story of a group of Amazons who are traveling the ancient world to find others like them, encountering legendary creatures and beings along the way. An excellent companion would be Wonder Woman Rebirth #8. It is a year one interlude where a young Barbara Ann Minerva (before she was Cheetah and before Wonder Woman arrives) is on an exhibition to prove that the Amazons did indeed exist (an excellent story).

 

What I wore to see the film.

What I wore to see the film.

 

edwinroman.com