Two issues into “New Suicide Squad,” and the series already feels a little uneven. Parts that seemed weak in the first issue are growing in strength in “New Suicide Squad” #2, while some of the good aspects from the first issue aren’t as present here. Sean Ryan and guest artist squad Tom Denerick, Scott Hanna, Mark Irwin, Norm Rapmund, and Batt do their best, but it’s not enough to push the book up beyond the average mark.
Probably the best thing about “New Suicide Squad” #2 is where Ryan draws the differences between the two pairs of characters that at first seemed redundant: Deadshot & Deathstroke, and Harley Quinn & Joker’s Daughter. Ryan makes Deathstroke’s status as a mercenary abundantly clear here, abandoning the rest of the Squad in the blink of an eye in order to hear out a potentially stronger offer from the other side. The best part (and in fact the high point of the entire issue) is watching Harley Quinn get progressively annoyed at Joker’s Daughter, though. Having Joker’s Daughter continually mimic Harley is a minor stroke of genius, as it serves not only to drive Harley crazy but is also a knowing nod to the audience about the similarities between the two. It’s a great gag that is served by both the writing and the art, and when Joker’s Daughter even starts repeating back Harley’s words — well, who else hasn’t experienced the annoying relative that’s done something similar?
On the other hand, the bulk of the plot feels fairly standard: lots of run/fight/escape sequences, with no particular spark to make it stand out. There’s no real hook to make the Red Rockets interesting this time around, and aside from Black Manta proving to be a somewhat good leader for the team, the action with the Squad is pretty unmemorable. This isn’t a comic where much besides the Harley vs. Joker’s Daughter sequence will stand out down the line.
The art is perfectly reasonable, and remarkably consistent considering that there are four different finishers working over Denerick’s breakdowns. It does mean that it’s almost impossible to tell who did what here, though. Still, Denerick provides good panel-to-panel transitions for everyone to follow, and characters demonstrably look like themselves. Beyond that, it’s average in almost every sense of the word. Nothing stands out, but nothing seems egregiously weak either.
“New Suicide Squad” #2 is already feeling a little fizzled out; maybe it’s the lack of Jeremy Roberts’ art in the interiors? (Hopefully he’ll be back next issue.) I’ve enjoyed “Suicide Squad” since the original series’ run a whopping quarter century or so ago, and this is a title that I always want to succeed. Hopefully things will pick up next month.