Here’s the great thing about “Suicide Squad” #13: it’s been two months since #12 and its cliffhanger, and I’ll admit that not every single piece of the story was still fresh in my mind. But with “Suicide Squad” #13, Adam Glass and Cliff Richards not only hit the ground running but also bring readers up to date quickly. That’s a skill that should be prized these days.
Having left both Amanda Waller (plus her grandmother) and the rest of the Suicide Squad in bad situations, Glass quickly resolves both situations by making them worse. It’s a good tactic; dispose of the immediate threat but in doing so transform it into a larger one. More importantly, Glass does so in a genuinely funny way. Having Amanda Waller’s grandmother zap Black Spider is a riotous scene that deserves its big splash page, one that makes the character instantly shift from victim to active player. It’s a nice twist in the overall scheme of the scene, and it makes one excited for the rest of the story.
In fact, from that point on, Glass’s script does a lot of heavy lifting. As Deadshot and Harley Quinn fight their way through Basilisk’s minions and their own teammates, both characters make a lot of quick (and sometimes nasty) decisions. Some bits are clever, others are simply shocking, but it doesn’t fail to keep the interest level going even as once again we’re reminded not to grow too attached to any character in “Suicide Squad.”
Not quite as compelling is the guest art from Cliff Richards, who steps in for Fernando Dagnino. The art feels very generic and unfortunately uninspired. Deadshot’s costume has transformed into what feels like a dull spandex suit with random pieces of metal strapped to it (instead of something that always gave more of the impression of a uniform), and Deadshot himself looks facially very bland and average. There are also some strange storytelling glitches here and there. One character gets taken out in a way where we don’t see the aftermath until the round-up of bodies at the end of the issue, and there are some scenes that feel badly paced in relation to how the script syncs up with the art. It ultimately just feels a little limp, and sadly in a book that’s been saddled with a lot of problematic art over its first year, that’s not too out of the ordinary.
As for the conclusion in which one of the main characters appears to have died in a blaze of glory — well, like always, time will tell if it’s permanent. If it is, it’s a ballsy move to make in the grand scheme of things and I’d like to see how it’ll play out. If not, it’s still a moment to get you jumping and it’s a dramatic way to stop Regulus. Either way, I’m ready for issue #14 and the return of Dagnino on art to join Glass.