Those behemoths of superhero comics publishers and TV and movie franchises get to go head to head once more on Free Comic Book Day. With Batman v Superman proving to be BS, can their Suicide Squad redeem them? With Civil War now heating up the box office and being one of the best Marvel films out there, will the comic run of Civil War II maintain the momentum? It’s time to find out….
Suicide Squad #1:
With the movie coming out soon, it made sense that they’d push this as a way to help promote it. Being the first issue of the New 52 run, it’s a simple tale of Task Force X being tortured into giving up information on Suicide Squad head honcho Amanda Waller, something which gives each of the characters a chance to have a flashback as to why they’re there and what their crimes were before being arrested.
That’s fine for characters like El Diablo, but if you’re unfamiliar with Harley Quinn or Deadshot then you probably haven’t been paying attention to DC at all for quite a while. It’s clear from the cover that Harley is easily the most popular with fans, and that’s fine. However, the story isn’t all that intriguing and the end is painfully obvious for anyone who knows how Amanda Waller works. Toss in the obligatory adverts for the movie, the statues of the squad, and in particular the statues of Harley, and it’s clear that the DC marketing department is working overtime.
If you’re a fan of Suicide Squad from back in the ’80s and early ’90s, you may be disappointed. If you enjoyed the Assault On Arkham animated film and are looking forward to the live action movie then you may appreciate this. However, one of the strangest things in this is that Belle Reve prison now seems to be called Belle Reeve. Whether that was a typo made several times by the writer, an oversight from the editors or a change that was made when the New 52 kicked in, it’s hard to tell from this.
As for the story, it was passable but hardly enough to drum up enough interest to want to read more.
Marvel’s Civil War II:
Being another promo, it’s no surprises that this story tries to get into the action quickly. War Machine visits Captain Marvel for a little cosy quiet time (which, amusingly, makes Black Panther want to throw up in his mask)… only for the Inhumans to show up and ruin the mood. It seems like Thanos is coming back and looking for the Cosmic Cube again, so it’s all go for the few heroes they can amass before the mad Titan arrives.
Since it’s Thanos, it’s hardly an easy battle even if it’s lightning fast, and both War Machine and She-Hulk suffer severe injuries. It’s an impressive start, but what it fails to do is explain how this starts off the second Civil War. It may be tempting to find out what happens next, but it feels like a bit of a misfire.
Thankfully, there’s a back-up story introducing the new Wasp in the All-New, All-Different Avengers. It’s a great little story despite the lack of action, and it adds a great sense of value to one of Marvel’s flagship Free Comic Book Day titles.
So which won out, Suicide Squad or Civil War II?
Neither. It’s a shame that neither of the two top-dog publishers could muster up enough of a head of steam on this one. Instead, it’s the Wasp story which is the real winner here and made the Marvel issue the one to be the better read. It offered far more value than either of the other stories, simply by telling a character-driven tale. At the end of the day, having characters the reader cares about is still more impressive than cosmic threats and predictable movie tie-ins.
It’s sad to have this somewhat dull battle decided by a back-up feature, but strangely it’s symbolic of where these two companies are right now. Both are good at putting on great spectacle, but it’s the little things Marvel’s doing which make the biggest of differences. So congratulations, Marvel. This one’s yours. You win Free Comic Book Day.