By Molly Jane KremerNew Suicide Squad (like Suicide Squad before it) has languished for too long in a semi-forgotten corner of the DCU, too visible and viable of a property to actually cancel, but never given the kind of creative team to actually improve it. (I’d read through issues of it every now and again, in the hopes that the book’s many creative team switches may have bumped the comic up to readable status.) And while it’s taken four and a half years (eesh, guys), it was inevitable that DC finally got this shit right. Writer Tim Seeley and artist Juan Ferreyra have breathed a new life into what was once a flagging book, just in time to ramp up its popularity before a certain major motion picture drops come August.

Seeley writes this issue as an optimal jumping on point for its potentially huge audience eager but unfamiliar with the book’s more intricate details. An unacquainted British liaison functions as a plot device to reintroduce the entire cast (and to allow for a page-long namecheck of the Victory Vs, a Grant Morrison/Yanick Paquette-created British superteam from their pre-New 52 Batman Incorporated—excellent callback, Mr. Seeley) with Harley Quinn’s balletic introductory splash incredibly reminiscent of those gorgeous Suicide Squad trailers.

NSS_17_panel detail

Courtesy of DC Comics.

Seeley has an excellent ear for dialogue—essential for a team book—and periodically injects an enjoyably goofy sense of humor. It’s a fitting tonic to the comic’s typically darker content, and Seeley harmonizes the tension in the book’s latter half effortlessly. He has a proper grasp of has each characters’ voice, and even gives Amanda Waller a few panels of insightful characterization. Juan Ferreyra’s art is breath of fresh air on the book as well, with DC having apparently rotated through their entire house-art roster, finally giving the book to someone with some actual artistry and thought going into the composition. His somewhat painterly style is a lovely contrast to the murky, less refined art that came before.

Originally, the cover to Suicide Squad #1 was the first of the New 52 first issues to really wake the “ruh roh” rumbles in my brain (mostly thanks to its positioning of poor Harley Quinn’s hideous and offensive twelve-year-old-boy’s-wet-dream of a costume front and center), but now that her costume has been much improved and the writer and artist team has finally stabilized, the resultant comic is darkly fun and thrilling with moments of introspection. This is exactly the kind of comic New Suicide Squad should be. More, please.

DC Comics/$2.99

Written by Tim Seeley.

Art by Juan Ferreyra.

Letters by Nate Piekos.

8.5 out of 10