Will the unlikely duo of Deadshot and Batman reach Kobra’s lair in time to save Lawton’s daughter from a terrible fate? If you looked at the title and cover art, then you know the answer is…yes.
SUICIDE SQUAD #44 (Vol.5 2016-)
Writer: Rob Williams
Pencils: Joe Bennett, Eduardo Pansica
Inks: Vicente Cifuentes, Julio Ferreira, Mick Gray
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Cover Artists: Guilliem March, Will Quintana
What You Need to Know:
Waller has sent the Captain Cold-led Squad remnant to apprehend Batman and a refugee Deadshot. After the Dark Knight broke Lawton out of Belle Reve Penitentiary, the unlikely duo have been tracking down the location of Kobra’s lair in order to save Lawton’s daughter from becoming the next incarnation of their villainous leader. Catching up with their quarry, Harley and Boomerang recklessly charged Deadshot and Batman with a helicopter into a literal cliffhanger.
What You’ll Find Out:
To begin, everyone is headed off a cliff into a deep chasm over the water on the river side of a dam; Harley and Boomerang are in the careening helicopter and Bats and Deadshot are falling free beneath it. The chopper threatens to crush them all when they hit the water as Boomerang screams and Harley yells “WEEEE” one moment but looks terrified in every other. Batman tries to get Deadshot to arc into the river as he shoots at the cockpit, presumably to try and cap at least one of his idiot teammates before their buffoonery imminently kills him. Lamenting his recent acquisition of a minimal conscience from working with the Rogues, Captain Cold freeze-blasts the chopper, anchoring it to the dam and potentially saving four lives of people he’s not particularly fond of.
The free-falling duo hits the water and the heavy Deadshot gear drags Lawton down fast and far. His head hits the rocks hard, presumably knocking him silly enough need Batman to take his gear off (which he does), but not out enough to keep him from narrating. In the water, Bats strips off everything but Deadshot’s helmet, and they swim back up to the riverside. Batman dismisses Lawton’s expression of debt and says he did it for Zoe, then confirms that they are close to the Kobra lair.
As the aforementioned action ensued, Lawton narrated it with his existential crisis, lamenting his worthless his life as a killer and a villain, culminating with the realization that his daughter is the only reason his life has any meaning now.
Fast forward to the Kobra Lair, where Zoe Lawton is about to inhale the spirit of Jeffery Franklin Burr, the Kobra messiah. But just in time, Deadshot shoots the Koba leader, halting the ceremony, as he, Batman, Boomerang, Harley, and Cold arrive at the lair at the same time. But the Kobra leader reveals that it was a trap! All along, the kidnapping of Lawtojn’s daughter was intended to lure Deadshot to the lair and that Burr’s spirit was intended to inhabit HIM!
Boomerang bolts, screaming bloody murder about how he grew up terrified of the snake people of the Aussie Outback. Harley cranks Snakeshot a good one with the mallet, but she gets prehensile tongue-grappled and hurled into Boomerang’s back, careening them down a stairway. Snakeshot then turns to kill Zoe and Batman intervenes, pleading for Lawton to fight the consciousness of Burr and save his daughter. But Burr is too strong and he shoots Bats in the cowl, putting him out.
Thinking all threats are down, Snakeshot begins to order the Coilstrike Initiative, but suddenly a gunshot takes down the Kobra Priest! Then another hits Snakeshot in the chest! He turns around to see Zoe holding Deadshot’s cybernetic gun-arm that popped off when Burr’s reptilian body regenerated Lawton’s arm. Just when it seems that Zoe has defeated Kobra with two shots, Burr’s spirit leaves Lawton’s body and soars up the cavern towards the void. The shunned Keenum (self-proclaimed inheritor of Kobra’s leadership) offers himself and skulks away, possessed by Burr.
At Deadshot’s body, Zoe vows revenge against Kobra, but before she can declare to continue her father’s legacy as Deadshot, Batman tells her that he’s still alive and begins to stabilize him. Fast-forward to a plateau above the main entrance to the Kobra Lair, which is now occupied by Waller, Katana and Task Force X. Apparently, on his way up to this secret exit, Batman captured the Burr-possessed Kennum and has dumped him unceremoniously on the ground. Nearby is a relaxed Captain Cold, whom Batman threatens to take to Belle Reve if he doesn’t turn himself back in. At the entrance, Waller wants to know what happened, but Boomerang and Harley are too concussed to recall. Zoe claims, in earshot of her lain out father, that he rescued her, defeated Kobra all by himself and that he is a hero; not as unconscious as he looks, this brings a smile to Lawton’s lips.
What Just Happened?
Character Development: Even though this issue was graced with the presence of The Bat, had a ton of action panels (as the culmination of a story arc is meant to), it is primarily a re-hashed reminder as to why we’re supposed to like Floyd Lawton. He is a father to a rapidly growing daughter, and she inspires a deep, pure love inside him, which also means she stirs up deep conflict as well. Stating that before she was born, all he wanted to do was die, is a profound realization and acknowledgment. But we know this, right? Someone that has never read a comic book and has watched the movie or seen one Suicide Squad animated show knows this. Not to mention sociopaths can develop strong attachments to people they are close to. So it just may be that Lawton’s a sociopath, not a “hero”. Batman seems to have an affinity for Lawton as he’s had for other villains in the past (Freeze etc.), but it rubbed me the wrong way that issue 44 pretty much ignores the melee Bats and Deadshot just had over Lawton killing a mouthy Kobra soldier. Bats should’ve saved Floyd from drowning, tied him up and gone to save Zoe himself. But then they’d have to redo the premise of the issue and the cover art. Ah, manufactured dramatic tension, where would comics be without you?
Art & Lettering: The art has been consistently good since issue #39. Yeah art of issue #39, I see you…haven’t forgotten about you…
Writing Critique: I’m conflicted here since I like most of the Suicide Squad characters. I don’t like being inflammatory, excessively cynical or dismissive, but the most positive thing I can think of to say about this four-issue arc is: at least they aren’t in space anymore…and Batman. I am not a wealth of encyclopedic knowledge concerning comics, their writers, artists, and content. I know mostly about the big, critically acclaimed runs and graphic novels (Miller, Loeb, Snyder, Morrison, Bendis, Moore, etc. etc. etc.). I also have absolutely no intention to offend Suicide Squad fans (of which I am one), or the nostalgia the title incurs. But, I can only say it as I see it. On this arc’s own merits, I have absolutely no emotional attachment to the generic Kobra Cult. Captain Cold is a poor replacement for Croc and Enchantress. The pacing of this run has been breakneck and very episodic, which is not to my taste. It leaves character development, dialogue, and story much to be desired. I could nitpick forever, but instead I’ll just say that it would be nice to get an author with some vision for this title, someone that isn’t afraid to put a gun in Harley and Boomerang’s hands and keep their goofy trademark weapons as back-ups (personally, Boomerang and Cold could go away forever and I wouldn’t blink an eye). Someone that can make Waller’s threats about blowing those brain bombs carry some weight again (maybe even shake up the roster in the long term). I know they think the demographic they’re appealing to demands a balance between gritty and goofy, but there’s just no substance here. To quote Homer, “It’s just a bunch of stuff that happened.”
Final Thought: The Suicide Squad title needs better vision, from the ground up, to meaningfully move it forward.
Suicide Squad #45 on sale August 8th and Annual #1 on sale August 15th 2018!
Join our Age of Social Media Network consisting of X-Men, Marvel, DC, Superhero and Action Movies, Anime, Indie Comics, and numerous fan pages. Interested in becoming a member? Join us by clicking here and pick your favorite group!
User Review( votes)