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Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Trial by Fire Paperback – September 8, 2015
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About the Author
John Ostrander is a renowned comics writer who co-created the science fiction series GRIMJACK with artist Timothy Truman. With his wife, the late Kim Yale, he wrote DC's SUICIDE SQUAD. With artist Tom Mandrake, a frequent collaborator, he wrote a lengthy run of DC's THE SPECTRE. Ostrander has also written for Marvel Comics, and for Warp Graphics' ELQUEST. Recently Ostrander has been writing for Dark Horse's line of STAR WARS comics.
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Top Customer Reviews
This volume wraps up a couple of plot threads and introduces some new ones. The subplot with Captain Boomerang masquerading as Mirror Master concludes in a way that is very true to the characters. The main focus of this volume, however, is the Election '88 story. In Volume 2, the squad is blackmailed into helping a corrupt senator get reelected. Amanda Waller and Col. Rick Flag both have their own ways of handling the problem and they come into serious conflict. Waller's need for tight control and Flag's desire to be like his father put the rest of the squad in jeopardy. John Ostrander cranks up the tension in this story into one of the most memorable conclusions in comics.
I recommend reading Suicide Squad Vol. 2: The Nightshade Odyssey and Deadshot: Beginnings before reading this. Both are by John Ostrander. Deadshot: Beginnings reprints the Deadshot mini-series from 1988 which leads directly into these stories.
One of the stories is a tie-in to the Invasion crossover series that DC comics did in the fall of 1988. In this series, several alien races invade Earth to put an end to Earth's superheroes. So if you wonder why the squad is suddenly fighting aliens in Russia and Australia, that's why. You don't need to read the rest of the Invasion series to understand what's happening. John Ostrander integrates this crossover into the Suicide Squad stories very effectively.
Also introduced in this volume is some new members of the Suicide Squad: DC villains Count Vertigo, Dr. Light, Shrike, and married thieves Punch and Jewelee who have no shame about playing out their S&M games in front of the other squad members.
Twenty-nine years ago, however, it was more like DC's answer to "Mission: Impossible," as the Squad undertook high-risk covert missions with political implications on the Federal government's behalf. This is especially evident in the "Mission to Moscow" storyline collected in this volume. The team is sent behind the Iron Curtain to Moscow to free a revolutionary writer the Communist government is holding prisoner. But the mission runs into a major hitch when the Squad learns that the writer, Zoya Trigorin, doesn't want to escape.
In order to return to the States, the Squad must battle the People's Heroes, a Russian team of metahumans. And there are prices to be paid: Trigorin dies, and Nemesis-a former vigilante turned government operative-is capture by the Russians. After the Squad returns to America, team leader Amanda Waller unleashes her wrath upon the Squad's liaison to the UN Security Council, Derek Tolliver, when Tolliver tells her he just assumed Trigorin wanted to leave communist Russia.
"Trial by Fire" also includes two other Squad adventures. In the first, the Squad battles a group of super-powered terrorists from the nation of Qurac-a storyline which highlights the treacherous nature of Flash villain and Squad regular Captain Boomerang. The second is a one-issue-and-done sequel to modern Squad writer John Ostrander's "Legends" miniseries in which Darkseid sends the Female Furies to free his minion Glorious Godfrey from prison.
The collection begins with a story from DC's "Secret Origins" series in which Ostrander ties together the histories of his modern Squad and two previous groups created by writer Robert Kanigher-a Squad which was formed to fight monstrous menaces in the absence of the Justice Society of America, and which included modern Squad members Rick Flag, Jr. and Karin Grace, as well as a true "Dirty Dozen"-style group of military misfits and riffraff formed during World War II and commanded by Rick Flag, Jr.'s father. This story, in keeping with the late-eighties political climate, features a guest appearance by President Reagan, who assigns Waller to direct the new Squad because she's been too effective as an aide to a Democratic congressman who's opposed his programs.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev also appears here, though series penciller Luke McDonnell makes him look more like Lou Grant with glasses and a ketchup splotch on his forehead. (He also makes Flag, Jr. look like a particularly square-jawed version of Captain James T. Kirk-ironic, given that he began his career illustrating issues of Marvel's first Star Trek comic, an assignment he said he hated.)
Though I've made much of this Squad's similarities to the IMF, it departs from its video counterpart in a significant way: It examines the characters' lives, motivations and psychological makeups. Particularly notable in this area is the tortured relationship between Flag and Grace, because Grace believes Flag abandoned her after her nervous breakdown in the wake of the final mission of the first Squad of which both were a part. We also see the team's psychologist interviewing Boomerang and other members of the team.
It doesn't have Harley Quinn, but "Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Trial by Fire" features a blend of political thrills, melodrama, and capes-and-tights action which make it well worth reading. These early adventures of the modern Squad are highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amanda Waller wants to reactivate Suicide Squad even though it has had problems in the past with members.Read more
The squad has gone on numerous mission all over the world. Their next mission is not some far off place, but right at home, it might just be the thing to break the...Read more