Tag Archives: amanda waller

Review: Suicide Squad #25

The hella talented Rob Williams serves up another great issue of Suicide Squad as he wraps up the “Kill Your Darlings” story arc. There’s so much going on in this issue and none of it is irrelevant or unnecessary. Williams writes an amazing Harley Quinn, everyone’s favorite antiheroine, in fighting form. We see her go toe to toe with Waller, lead the squad like a boss, and serve up justice in a way that only Quinn can. The bad guys save the heroes and fight for metahuman, hero and villain, freedom in an explosive issue filled with ethical dilemmas, gray areas and a killer story line.

Giuseppe Cafaro fills the pages with a crisp and modern style that breathes visual life into an already amazing story. Each panel adds to the story and is so filled with information that they become a character on their own. From cover to cover this issue is a masterpiece that sucks you into the story and makes you feel like you’re in a movie instead of just flipping through pages.

This issue takes you through the end game of an amazing arc. It’s filled with passion, fighting, moral dilemmas and tension. With Williams words and Cafaro’s art this issue is a page turner that’s a fitting end to an amazing story arc. Williams also manages to make his epilogue a nice momentum builder for the next issue in the series as he has created a world where heroes and villains can work together to secure freedom for all. I really love Williams portrayal of his female characters, he makes them multidimensional and complex in a way that’s seldom seen in male writing of female characters. I also love that every act of violence seems logical and needed to move the story along. Overall, I found this issue a beautiful work of art that kept things interesting and engaged me at every turn. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

Story: Rob Williams Art: Giuseppe Cafaro
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Suicide Squad #12

ssquad_cv12_dsThis issue kicks off by showing us the aftermath of Amanda Waller’s shooting. Even though it’s only been two weeks it’s the comic book equivalent of who shot JR. We go from the back of an ambulance to the anarchy Rustam is causing with his prisoner release. In this part of the comic we continue the “Burning Down the House” story line and, the Suicide Squads vacation gets cut short as they are called into action to aid stopping the escape. In “Those Left Behind we find out more about the death of Waller as the whole squad is hauled in for questioning.

Rob Williams as usual tells a great story complete with intrigue, emotion and a story line that slays. He wrote both stories in this issue and made sure that they worked as stand alone stories and meshed well enough to be a part of something bigger. There’s a sense of tension and wonder present that pulls the reader in and leaves you on the edge of your seat.

John Romita Jr. gives great graphics in the “Burning Down the House” part of the story. It’s clean, detailed and, has a harshness that matches the story being told. Everything down to the facial expressions relays the dark town and comic noir style of the story. Cody Barrows doesn’t miss a beat with his art for “Those Left Behind,” it’s a different style from Romita’s but, it flows well into issue. There’s a nice vintage quality to his work, it seems nostalgic with a hint of modern.

Overall this issue was exactly what it needed to be. We got the end of one major characters life fused with a rogue former squad members evil plan coming to fruition, an act that can propel the story even further. The stories are self contained enough to stand alone at their respective short lengths but, nice to see together in one issue. There’s enough catalysts in these two stories to tell a ton of stories and keep these arcs going for many issues to come.

Story: Rob Williams Art: John Romita Jr. and Cody Barrows
Story: 9.3 Art : 8.8 Overall:9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Writer Vita Ayala Discusses Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad LIVE This Monday

stl029756DC ComicsSuicide Squad has some of the world’s most dangerous criminals as its members, but when it comes to the Suicide Squad its leader and manipulator Amanda Waller might be the scariest. In Suicide Squad Most Wanted DC Comics is highlighting the members of the team and writer Vita Ayala is tackling “The Wall,” Amanda Waller. Ayala joins Graphic Policy Radio this Monday to talk Waller and more!

The show airs LIVE this Monday at 9pm ET.

Vita Ayala is a writer based out of New York City. They penned their first piece of fiction at the tender age of ten, and never looked back. Though traditionally a prose writer, they have had work published by DC Comics (DC New Talent Showcase #1, DC Holiday Special 2016, Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo & Amanda Waller #5). They also have a few soon-to-be-released comics projects in the works–including Our Work Fills The Pews through the publisher Black Mask Studios. When they are not actively writing, Vita spends their time scheming ways to get tickets to see Hamilton and cultivating an appreciation for New York’s finest cheap pizza.

Listen and get the scoop on Amanda Waller and their upcoming comic project this Monday on a brand new episode!

Have questions? Tweet them to us @graphicpolicy

Review: Suicide Squad #1

SuicideSquad1CoverSuicide Squad #1 is really the tale of two (half) comics written by Rob Williams . The first is a highly decompressed, threadbare plotted Suicide Squad story that is basically the first few minutes of the Suicide Squad movie without the flashy music and intros. Amanda Waller assembles the team, gives them a mission to retrieve a MacGuffin, and then they get dropped out of space. And that’s the entire plot, and superstar penciler Jim Lee and inker Scott Williams are relegated to drawing Harley Quinn playing a copyright friendly version of Pokemon Go, and Killer Croc puking in his space helmet. It’s really a boring read: a gorgeous double page Lee splash of Amanda Waller’s helicopter swooping into Belle Reve notwithstanding.

But what takes this comic from the “pass” to “read” zone is a stellar ten page backup story starring Deadshot and drawn and colored by Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson respectively. Fabok has an art style that is similar to Jim Lee’s recent DC work, but he brings more power and motion to the table, which is perfect for a quick fire action story that features Deadshot teaming up with Batman of all people to rescue his daughter Zoe from Kobra. This story defines the essence of Deadshot as a character while still having a thrilling plot as he wants to be a hero, but isn’t afraid to kill to protect his daughter or get a paycheck. His nihilist approach to living is told through Waller’s exposition, but Fabok’s art captures his love for Zoe as he immediately switches to live fire when he sees her in danger and immediately turns himself into Batman.

However, the vigor and emotion of the Deadshot doesn’t translate to the lead Suicide Squad story, which doesn’t even feel like a trailer, but a teaser for a trailer. It makes sense to have the lead stories more focused on action and fighting with the backups delving into the character’s personalities, but this lead story doesn’t even have action. It’s 11 pages of Amanda Waller narrating about how she doesn’t care of while the Suicide Squad members say a couple lines of dialogue having to do with the most cliched aspects of their personality. The story gives us no reason why we should care for these people except that they appeared in a movie earlier this month, and it has the vibe of a media tie-in instead of being its own entity. (Except Deadshot is white.) Alex Sinclair does do a decent job on the coloring front using a burnt orange palette when the Suicide Squad plunges to Earth that makes it feel like they might actually catch on fire upon re-entry.  Lee and Williams are stuck doing talking heads, but make Waller look sufficiently menacing as her presence is the only interesting part of this entirely run of the mill comic.

Suicide Squad #1 has one solid Deadshot and one utterly unstimulating Suicide Squad story, and it’s worth passing on unless you’re a huge Deadshot and want to see Jason Fabok draw him teaming up with Batman.

Story: Rob Williams Pencils: Jim Lee Inks: Scott Williams Colors: Alex Sinclair Backup Art: Jason Fabok Backup Colors: Brad Anderson
Story: 5 Art: 6 Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Around the Tubes

Transformers-movieposter-westIt’s new comic book tomorrow! What are folks looking forward to? Sound off in the comments below. We’ll have our picks in a few hours.

Until then, here’s some comic news from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

The Beat – Sean Gordon Murphy to Exclusively Draw Batman for the Next Two Years – Yes please!

The Comichron – July 2016 comics sales estimates: 16 issues top 100,000 copies sold, DC takes 30 of Top 40  – Congrats to DC!

iO9 – The 10 Most Overly-Specific Supervillains in Comics – Agree? Disagree?

Comics Bulletin – Amanda Waller: DC’s Most Terrifying Woman – Yes. Yes she is.

Kotaku – Women Sported Some Killer Overwatch Cosplay At Baltimore’s Otakon – Some awesome cosplay.

Kotaku – Lego Is About As Fun As The U.S. Capitol Building Is Going To Get – Want!

Black Nerds – 30 Years Ago the World Lost Optimus Prime (And Everything It Meant to Me) – Admit it, you cried too!

 

Review: Midnighter #12

Midnighter12CoverAll excellent things must eventually wrap up, and this includes Midnighter, one of two mainstream comics with an LGBT male lead, and one that also happened to be a monthly exercise in writer Steve Orlando writing clever and occasionally tear jerking dialogue while weaving together action thriller plots that artists Aco and Hugo Petrus and colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr. turned into exercises in brutality. In Midnighter #12, Apollo and Midnighter with the kind of, sort of help of Spyral and Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad fight the Unified, a superhuman with the abilities of both Apollo and Midnighter, who was crafted by Midnighter’s “father” Bendix to be the ultimate soldier only dedicated to the mission and not caring about civilian casualties. A character who has both Midnighter’s fight computer and is on the same power level seems insurmountable, but Orlando, Aco, and Petrus show the truth behind Sidney Prescott’s anti-remake quote from Scream 4, “Don’t fuck with the originals.” as Midnighter comes to a close.

The much anticipated team up between Apollo and Midnighter that was set up in the previous gets a scintillating payoff thanks to the efforts of the art team of Aco, Petrus, and Fajardo. They draw Apollo as a pure powerhouse with power that can’t really be fathomed as Fajardo uses plenty of yellow to show all culminating in a huge solar blast before Petrus/Apollo send the Unified off to Aco/Midnighter for one last four page battle royale of layouts, one-liners, and bone rattling sound effects.

In the tradition of Batman vs. Superman in The Dark Knight Returns and other battles between basically gods and superheroes, Midnighter uses a sonic device to get the drop on the Unified, and Aco depicts this in his art by having his usual grid set-up woozily wobble before cutting to his trademark “X-ray panels” (Think Mortal Kombat) of the effect that it’s having on the Unified’s non-empathy having, soldier brain. And the killing blow is spectacular as Aco and Fajardo turn gore into poetry by turning the Unified’s brain matter into a sound effect. One of the highlights of Midnighter as a whole was its creative, no holds barred fight sequences, and Aco makes sure that issue 12’s big battle is worthy of its predecessors while Orlando keeps Midnighter’s character consistent.

TheUnified

Midnighter hates the Unified so much because he is hurting innocent civilians in some misguided crusade to provide retribution for a terrorist attack on American soil. He might be a killer, but he’s not a cold-blooded one like the Unified, who is the metahuman embodiment of destruction porn in the first few pages of the comics. For example, Midnighter takes a break from beating up various Multiplexes to help a Modoran child find shelter and safety when a Modoran soldier points a gun at the kid and calls him a coward. Even in his most violent moments, Midnighter is always there to protect those being exploited by powerful forces just like he was with the Gardener.

PostBattleApolloMidnighter

This is because he is a human being and not a weapon or a lab experiment, and Orlando, Aco, and Petrus spend plenty of time at the end of the issue reinforcing that with his friends in Boston throwing him a nice party after he tells Gardener about Bendix’s return because that relationship is always going to be super complicated. Even though he was betrayed by Prometheus, Midnighter has come to trust some people, and he even begins to repair his relationship with Apollo. Along with their skill laying out action sequences, Aco and Petrus draw really sexy men, which makes Apollo and Midnighter’s flirty banter and make-outs extra flaming hot. But Orlando wisely keeps their relationship ambiguous with dialogue like “Who said he’s my man?” even though it’s clear from their body language that they still love each other. However, their kiss and makeup scene is a huge progression from the beginning of the series when they wanted nothing to do with each other.

Another relationship that Orlando leaves open for other writers to explore in the future (Hopefully, Rob Williams in Suicide Squad and definitely Tim Seeley in Nightwing.) is Midnighter’s place in the black ops, espionage world of the DC Universe. Spinning out of his work with them in Grayson, Midnighter started by backing Helena Bertinelli and Spyral, but by the end of Midnighter #12, it seems like he’s more on Amanda Waller’s side, especially when she tells him that Bertinelli is reverse engineering Afterthought, a superhuman with precognitive power that beat Midnighter up a few issues back. And even if they never meet again, Orlando gives them a relationship of mutual respect as Waller isn’t afraid to correct her mistakes, like the Unified, or get her hands dirty. (She throws down with Bendix a little bit.) Midnighter definitely sees her as a worthy opponent, who can occasionally get the drop on him with her brilliant tactical mind, despite her not having any special powers or abilities.

Midnighter #12 is a wonderful capper on Steve Orlando, Aco, Hugo Petrus, Romulo Fajardo, and other wonderful artists’ story of a man trying to maneuver through the world and find his identity as both an open gay man and science experiment turned violent, yet altruistic anti-hero. The final two pages of him kissing and talking to Apollo about his uncertainty for the future and leaping into action perfectly encapsulate the character of Midnighter, who is a total badass that struggles to navigate the minefields of romantic relationships.

Story: Steve Orlando Art: Aco and Hugo Petrus Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Midnighter #10

5077335-midn_cv10_dsIn Midnighter #10, we finally get the long awaited showdown between Midnighter and the Suicide Squad as artist ACO provides some of his most fun layouts yet channeling late-90s bullet time as Deadshot and Midnighter match up. The issue isn’t all punching, kicking, shooting, and trash talk. (Steve Orlando’s dialogue is 90% various anti-heroes and villains trying to roast each other though, and it’s very entertaining.) There are also connections made between Midnighter and Amanda Waller, who admires her ability to turn terrible criminals for weapons to do something good and is especially impressed by the special nano collar that she uses for the Suicide Squad. By the end of the issue, Midnighter has truly proven himself to be the ultimate wildcard in a black ops war fought between Spyral, Task Force X, and even the God Garden for a chance to control the world’s superhumans. This is definitely the skeevy side of the DC Universe, and Midnighter is right at home along with his creative team of Orlando, ACO, Hugo Petrus (who takes penciler duties for half an issue), and colorist Romulo Fajardo, who brings the brutality with his reds.

Orlando makes a case for becoming the writer of the main Suicide Squad series once DC Rebirth rolls around in his writing of Amanda Waller’s character. She’s the queen of all opportunists, and her dressing down of Deadshot citing his low mission performance rate compared to the pre-cog Afterthought may be her finest moment in the New 52. Waller and Midnighter are definitely the proverbial irresistible force and immovable object. Even though he does bust out of her restraints, the so-called Suicide Squad B-team ends up being a better match for him, mostly thanks to Parasite’s absorbing/draining ability and Harley Quinn’s sheer craziness. However, Orlando and ACO give Midnighter a chance for payback for the blowhard Deadshot with his completely logical way of taking him out in the most painful way Midnighter10Interiorpossible. (Hint: It has to do with the “tools” he uses to play with his favorite toy. Everything is a double entendre with Midnighter.)

Deadshot’s reliance on firearms instead of hand to hand fighting or martial arts moves lets ACO play around with different grids and double page spreads in Midnighter #10. He creates a kind of “bullet time” effect with shots spraying in a pair of eight panel grids on the side of the page while Deadshot faces up against Midnighter and continues to insult him calling him an off-brand Batman even if only one of his rounds hits Midnighter. Letterer Tom Napolitano is truly the secret weapon on this issue, which is filled with shots blasting, bones cracking and even some hammer cracking once Harley Quinn joins the fray. His sound effects are emphatic and draw you into the action while complementing Fajardo’s colors, like orange for gunshots or yellow for hand to hand and finally red for the really painful stuff. If Midnighter was a film, Napolitano would be the sound editor and sound mixer, and he deserves an Oscar/Eisner for his work here.

Midnighter #10 puts the anti-hero in the middle of a kind of superhuman Cold War, and he must weigh his options in working for a variety of morally ambiguous or downright amoral organizations. He picks Spyral for now because they are his employer even if he lines up more ideologically with Amanda Waller. Just like Waller uses supervillains to accomplish good things in messy ways, Midnighter uses his God Garden enhancements to help people in extremely violent ways. Throw in some great humor from Midnighter and the Suicide Squad members, an intersecting narrative involving DC Universe black ops organization and a superhuman arms race, and detail studded pages from ACO and Hugo Petrus, and Midnighter #10 is a shining example of why this title is one of the best comics in the action genre. And it literally goes out with an orange bang courtesy of colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Story: Steve Orlando Art: ACO and Hugo Petrus Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr. Letters: Tom Napolitano
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman: Assault on Arkham – Task Force X Clip

Check out an all-new clip from Batman: Assault on Arkham, the next entry in the popular DC Universe Original Movie series. The film is now available to own via Digital HD, and will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on August 12.

The clip features Amanda Waller giving her initial “pep talk” to the Suicide Squad. CCH Pounder (The Shield, Warehouse 13) reprises her Justice League television series role as the voice of Amanda Waller.

 

52 Reviews, Part 2

So, for the fun of it, I’m going to be collecting all 52 DC #1 issues. And I’m going to review them all. Keep in mind, though, that I’m generally a Marvel fan and, while I’m working may way through DC’s recent big events, I’m only up through the middle of Countdown and I haven’t read any of DC’s non-event comics in a long time, so I’m coming at these stories with a bit of a disadvantage in terms of chronology and character knowledge. Since DC is certainly trying to attract new readers, though, this makes me come at them with a perspective similar to their hypothetical new fans…

Batman and Robin #1 (DC) – This one starts and ends with heavy action and has a good amount of character development in between. It all works. I’m in.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

Batwoman #1 (DC) – I’m relatively new to the character of Kate Kane, but I have to say I like what I see so far. The creative team on this one appears to be top-notch and this is a comic I’ll definitely keep reading.

Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5

Deathstroke #1 (DC) – I’m pretty conflicted about this one. It looks great and the story does a good job of establishing the horrible person that Deathstroke is while also showing that he’s a total badass. But there aren’t any characters here I want to root for (well, at least not by the last page) and I’m not enough of a fan of the character to follow him along as bad as he is here. The comic is well-done, it’s just not my type of thing. I’ll probably read issue #2, though, because of the quality of this issue.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Demon Knights #1 (DC) – I’m really not a fan of the fantasy premise behind this one. It’s not a bad premise, it’s just not one I want to read a lot of. I won’t read any more of this series, but it’s not because of a lack of quality.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 (DC) – I was totally unprepared for how much I liked this story. It is totally not at all the type of thing I would have expected to like and yet it was one of my favorite reads of week 2 of the New 52. It doesn’t break any new ground and it is incredibly similar to the recent Frankencastle run in Punisher or Hellboy, but the execution is so good, it’s a great comic. I’m definitely coming back for more.

Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.25

Green Lantern #1 (DC) – There is a reason why Geoff Johns is where he is today and this issue is a great example of his success. The story is entertaining, including action, intrigue and humor in a perfect balance. You have compelling characters and plotlines that require the reader to tune in next month, which I will definitely do.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9

Grifter #1 (DC) – Not knowing anything about this character before this issue, I’m not sure what the point is. I don’t particularly like him after reading this comic and nothing here made me interested in finding out more.

Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

Legion Lost #1 (DC) – This comic does a good job of juggling a big cast without making them all clones and while getting across a story that is intriguing. I’m not completely sold on the comic or the concept, and I don’t like the cartoonish art much, but I’m at least coming back for the next few issues.

Story: 8.5 Art: 6 Overall: 7.5

Mr. Terrific #1 (DC) – I had high hopes for this book, having recently discovered the character and liking him quite a bit, but I felt this was a bit of a letdown. The art wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great, despite some great sequences. The story also starts out solid before going off on a strange tangent at the end that didn’t seem to fit. Some of the things going on were a bit confusing, too. Hopefully future issues will perfect it. I’ll hang around to find out.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Red Lanterns #1 (DC) – This is my first time reading any of the extended Laterns material and I’m going to say that it grabbed me. The art is at times brilliant and the story maintained a good balance of exposition and action that I liked a lot. It had some ridiculous moments, most notably with a cat, but I can let that slide.

Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5

Resurrection Man #1 (DC) – Not a great comic, this one was just good enough that I’ll check out #2, but I’m skeptical. The art was pretty weak in places and I just didn’t get enough from the story that’d hook me. The premise is one I like though, so I might hang around to see where it goes.

Story: 7.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 7

Suicide Squad #1 (DC) – Reading this issue as a noob, I loved it. The villains and the scenario were great, the horror of it was engrossing, the characters were varied and I wanted to know more about them. It was both violent and funny and the ending was a nice little shocker. I’ve never heard of Amanda Waller before, though, and was unfamiliar with the character. It seems she used to be a much larger and more reserved woman and she’s been slimmed down and sexualized. That’s a shame because that one arbitrary panel brings down an otherwise excellent issue.

Story: 10 Art: 9 Overall: 9.5

Superboy #1 (DC) – Another comic I really like. This is very different than your usual Superman comics. You don’t really know who is good or bad or what they are capable and it’s very difficult to predict what is going to happen next. That’s all great and on top of that, you get some very good art.

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9

Where is Amanda Waller?!

Oh Amanda!

Suicide Squad #1 had a few good points (mostly involving King Shark) but one major problem is on EVERYONE’s lips: Where Is Amanda Waller?!
The REAL Amanda Waller.

She is the only middle-aged, African-American, woman of size in comics. Actually she is one of the few characters who is any one of those things. What is gained by representing even fewer types of people in comics? What is gained by diluting her iconic presence?

Waller is one of those characters who you can’t help but remember and be impressed by. Sure, in the real world as someone who believes in the Constitution and human rights, I would be disgusted by her politics– she makes even Cheney, Kissinger and their war criminal cronies look moral. But no-one can doubt her power as a character and all she has overcome to get where she is.

DC mentioned one of the reasons for the relaunch was to impart some realism to comics (not sure if that’s what they need but let’s follow that path).

Realistically, women working in male dominated government agencies don’t wear their shirts unbuttoned so low their bra hangs out (heck, even I don’t do that and I work in a liberal workplace). As the daughter of two federal employees growing up in the DC suburbs I was surrounded by powerful women (like my Mom) who worked for the federal government. They don’t dress like fake Amanda Waller.  They dressed like real Amanda Waller (and in the 80s they even wore those awkward floppy ties). They are also a range of ages and sizes. Amanda was one of the most realistic-looking characters in comics (don’t get me started on hobby horse about grown women characters wearing crop-tops out and about during the daytime like they’re going to a 80s dance party).

One of the other reasons for the relaunch is to appeal to more readers. Well, DC just told middle aged women and women of size that they don’t exist. They don’t wield power. Does that move comics?

And if all it takes to move comics is t&a they’d be selling a lot more books than they are today. So lack of t&a isn’t whats’ hurting the industry.

Bring back Amanda Waller.

Sign the petition and Tweet a message to DC to bring The Wall back!