If “Blackest Night” does nothing else for DC, it gives them a chance to showcase some older characters and properties, like “Suicide Squad.” This issue picks up the numbering from where the series left off in 1992, despite the fact that there was another ongoing and a limited series in between. The main reason for the skip, I suppose, is the return of John Ostrander to the property he revitalized following “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” The event following “Crisis” — “Legends” — gave the Squad a chance to shine. From there, the rest is history.
That said, this issue gives a whole new generation (after all, an 18-year-old comic reader would have turned one shortly after the last issue of Ostrander’s “Squad” was published) to meet Amanda Waller, Rick Flag, Bronze Tiger, and crew. Sure the characters have made appearances throughout the DC Universe since 1992, but fans of the series always clamored for more of these characters, especially if they were written by John Ostrander. Gail Simone made those fans’ dreams come true by drafting Ostrander into service alongside her in this issue.
As fans of Ostrander’s Squad know, Deadshot was one of the major components to the Squad’s commercial and critical success. Fans of Gail Simone know that Deadshot is integral to “Secret Six.” Take two superteams, add in one character both want, and let sit for twenty-two pages. The end result is explosions, mayhem, and violence. Nobody in comics handles those three comic book mainstays with more flair and drama than John Ostrander and Gail Simone.
Calafiore’s art is lock-step in time with the story put forth. I’ve always thought of Calafiore as a capable artist, but here he really shines. This is the type of comic Calafiore needs to be drawing. As a frequent reader of the Ostrander series, I get the same vibe from Calafiore’s work here that I got from Geof Isherwood. Calafiore is equally adept at rendering Black Lanterns as he is at drawing the Squad or the Six in action. His work on this book is pitch perfect.
The Black Lantern tie-in comes through a victim of Deadshot’s, and given that there are Black Lantern rings flying through the pages of a book titled “Suicide Squad” you can bet there are more than a few new recruits to Nekron’s army of darkness. The action isn’t nicely wrapped up here, however, and it spills into next week’s “Secret Six” #17 by this same creative team. Essentially, this could be considered part one of “Blackest Night: Suicide Squad” or “Blackest Night: Secret Six.”