Review: Suicide Squad: King Shark #2
Suicide Squad: King Shark #2 continues to be a funny, gory, and occasionally sexy good time from Tim Seeley, Scott Kolins, and John Kalisz. This book feels a lot like a quirky late-1980s DC comic thanks to appearances of supporting cast members from Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and of course, the titular Suicide Squad, but Seeley brings a modern sense of humor with one of the most annoying songs in recent memory acting as both a running gag and something driving the plot. The same philosophy extends to Kolins’ sturdy, almost deadpan figures that are an inch away from erupting into total violence. Kalisz also eschews the fancy digital effects and goes for bold, trippy tones especially any time mystical power or energy is involved. King Shark is a silly book, but it’s well-crafted and has some great world-building too.
Like in many of his previous DC efforts, like Nightwing and Grayson, Seeley excels at both excavating old concepts and characters from previous DC Comics as well as fleshing his own additions to this vast multiverse. The entire plot of Suicide Squad: King Shark revolves around a tournament of representatives of different species from cockroaches and sea worms to sharks and humans to see which one is the prime evolutionary force on the planet. It’s also connected to the idea of the Red and Parliament of Limbs from Jeff Lemire’s run on Animal Man, but Tim Seeley and Kolins give it a reality TV/shonen manga/pro wrestling flair. It’s fun to watch anthropomorphic animals beat the shit out of each other while King Shark and our POV character, Shawn Tsang (Aka my favorite character from Seeley’s Nightwing run.) work out their anger issues and try to stay one step ahead of Amanda Waller, who wants King Shark to kill for her not his species.
Tim Seeley, Scott Kolins, and Kalisz are quite creative with the fight scenes in Suicide Squad: King Shark #2 and make them weirder, and in many cases, grosser than your usual superhero fisticuffs. John Kalisz colors the hell out of some oozing fluids, and Seeley doesn’t make King Shark’s matchups a cake walk even if he isn’t fighting any recognizable DC characters. However, the highly problematic B’wana Beast is the host and in full sleazy drama-stirring mode. (The fact that Mr. Beast is problematic is commented on by the characters in a quick witted line from Shawn.) This combination of struggles at the tournament plus Shawn (And by extension, the reader) rooting for Man King to ensure that humanity isn’t shark or cockroach bait increases the tension as well as Amanda Waller and a team of seriously cool characters ready to retrieve King Shark from what she perceives as nonsense. Her interactions with King Shark’s divine father are seriously chilling as she doesn’t back down from a character who gets special big lettering font from Wes Abbott because he’s so powerful.
Suicide Squad: King Shark #2 is truly a delight. It’s a deep dive into some seriously underappreciated DC characters, both past and present, with a sense of humor and a brutal approach to fight scenes. Tim Seeley and Scott Kolins also find the gentle humanity in King Shark, and most of the time you’re laughing with and not at him and feeling bad at how he’s manipulated by so many forces, including his father, Amanda Waller, and Shawn Tsang. Maybe, one day he’ll find a human that he can actually trust, but it probably won’t be in this miniseries among the Real Housewives, er, Furries of the DC Multiverse.
Story: Tim Seeley Art: Scott Kolins
Colors: John Kalisz Letters: Wes Abbott
Story: 8.4 Art: 7.9 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review