Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s new Suicide Squad aims to be a fresh start for DC’s team of villains turned heroes. That means that the series first issue is all about putting together a fresh team with some new characters, in the worst supervillain meet-cute ever.
[Ed. Note: This post contains spoilers for Suicide Squad #1.]
Suicide Squad #1 opens with an unveiling of Australia’s brand new arsenal of nuclear submarines. In other words, the perfect place for a super-villain heist. Right on cue, a team of unfamiliar characters arrives, sinking ships, insulting the Australian military industrial complex, and making off with the one ship that actually did have a nuclear weapon on board.
This is where Taylor and Redondo break with expectations, and we get our first real glimpse of who these sub-thieves actually are. Rather than plotting to end the world with their new nuke, a suitable threat for Task Force X to stop, this new band is actually more concerned with disarming the missile.
This motley crew calls themselves the Revolutionaries, and while they may be known as a terrorists, their real goal is making the world a safer place. We don’t get much time with the individual members of this new team before the Task Force X show up. The Suicide Squad is once again led by Harley Quinn and Deadshot, but just about everyone else is an unrecognizable DC deep-cut like Cavalier, a swordsman who thinks he’s a musketeer, or Magpie, a regular thief.
The two teams have a quick and brutal clash that leaves members on both sides dead, before the Revolutionaries are capture and forced into becoming the newest members of Task Force X. It’s not the first time that characters with a genuine moral compass have been press-ganged into the Suicide Squad, but now they’re the majority. And there’s one more twist for the worst team in the DC Universe. Amanda Waller is reluctantly stepping down for a new handler, the mysterious meathead, Lok.
The addition of the new Revolutionaries to Task Force X sets this latest run of Suicide Squad up for some interesting dynamics going forward. While we didn’t spend much time with the individual members — who are all new creations for this series — their goal of helping the world makes them a uniquely poor fit with the rest of the Suicide Squad, and should lead to some great friction with team mainstays like Harley Quinn and Deadshot.
And whatever the team is doing, with Lok in charge they definitely won’t be happy about it. He’s the closest thing the issue has to a villain and he achieves fun-to-hate status within just a few lines. By the end of the issue he even manages to murder one of the Revolutionaries after they’ve already been captured — and implanted with the Suicide Squad’s signature neck-exploding devices.
Taylor and Redondo’s first issue of Suicide Squad certainly keeps the series’ trademark mix of violence and humor — including a few jokes at the express of Zebra Man, a DC also-ran with a nonsense name. But more importantly, Suicide Squad #1 makes the Revolutionaries’ characters that feel worth rooting for, even if they end up at odds with the more recognizable members of Task Force X, which they almost certainly will.