I've enjoyed most of Adam Glass's "Suicide Squad" run, and I was disappointed to hear that a new writer is due to take over the title in just a couple of months. But with "Suicide Squad" #18, Glass and Henrik Jonsson's story of the Squad fighting Regulus and Basilisk feels a little familiar. Unfortunately, it's not in a good way.
It probably doesn't help that going up against a still-alive Regulus so soon after the last big battle makes "Suicide Squad" #18 come across as a bit tired. It's not just that readers have seen this villain, it's that we just saw him as part of a climactic wrap-up to a year's worth of stories. To be back again so quickly robs the previous story of its energy, and makes this new encounter feel less important.
Glass also dips once more into the "shocking death" well, and at this point it's feeling less shocking with each new reveal. Part of what made the original "Suicide Squad" so effective was that while characters could and did die, it was with no warning. Having a character or two knocked off each story (with several core members firmly in place) means that you're starting to expect it. So when a character makes the big sacrifice at the end of this issue, it's just a bit of a letdown as once again someone that we're just starting to learn more about is taken off the stage. Even a big reveal mid-issue feels a little off, perhaps because this doesn't quite sync up with other comics using the same character. (No doubt this is supposed to take place first, but it's still a little jarring.)
After drawing a back-up story in "Detective Comics" #18 earlier this month, Jonsson has next surfaced on "Suicide Squad." The art isn't downright bad, but it also isn't something to cheer for. Regulus's face appears pinched rather than threatening, for example. Red Orchid's big splash as she attacks the Squad is missing the amount of impact that it feels should be present, for that matter. (It's also missing a background, a problem that persists throughout the comic.) And unfortunately, Jonsson's reuse of the same panel art in multiple instances is hard to miss here; when we get two panels of Amanda Waller where one is above the other and they're both the same dead-eyed vacant stare, it makes you wonder why a panel that wasn't effective the first time gets to pull double duty. There's just not quite the correct amount of energy present here, and that's something sorely needed for a book like "Suicide Squad."
I'm still sorry to see Glass's run coming to an end, but I think I'm more sorry that right now it looks to be going out on a lackluster note. There's still another issue to turn thing around, but this comic feels rushed, both in story and art, like none of this was supposed to happen right now. I hope the new creative team can do well, but for now I'm going to just cross my fingers for a strong conclusion in the immediate future.