Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot and Katana #1

With the Suicide Squad Movie looming over the public, DC stands ready to knock the 8-ball into the proverbial pocket. For uninitiated readers, while the ongoing Suicide Squad comic may be as unapproachable as some of its rough, love-to-hate-them characters, a 6-issue mini-series starring two Squad staples (who will debut on the silver screen shortly) is just the ammunition to blast through the walls of this lawless wasteland of canon that is the DC Universe.

Our first issue of Most Wanted is jumbo-sized and contains two stories by different creative teams. Firstly, we are acquainted with Floyd Lawton (AKA Deadshot). Writer Brian Buccellato treats us to an impressive opening to an ongoing mission that Lawton has been given by Amanda Waller: take down a cartel lord. Things get dicey when Lawton is forced to face one of his most hated enemies: teamwork.

Will Evans looks like he’s popped right out of an 80’s action sci-fi movie with guns loaded and a vague sense of duty driving him to join the ranks of the Suicide Squad. What’s worse is that he has all the boxes checked to be Deadshot’s inevitable replacement. Knowing Amanda Waller, there’s more to this team-up than we have the leverage to solve.

After a single issue, it may be safe to assume we’re witnessing a Deadshot classic. Lawton is written with his traditional scummy charm and fearlessness, but isn’t left completely cold. Information surfacing of a figure from Lawton’s past drives him AWOL, where we might get a little more insight into the cunning, desolate man. If you’re not one for the soap opera subplot; just sit back and enjoy the carnage. The fiery, bullet-riddled action of this story is brought to life by artist Viktor Bogdanovic, with notable contributions by colorist Michael Spicer, who keeps the art from remaining too gritty and bleak with tastefully periodic splashes of color.

Part two of Most Wanted focuses on Katana, whose rich history includes being a Squad member as well as a member of the Justice League of America. New readers may want a bit more exposition, but need not fear; the only thing you need to know for this issue is that Katana is on a mission. This mission involves saving one person from Kobra, DC’s go-to cult that is definitely deserving of the parallels with a certain GI-Joe organization. When saving one person becomes saving a town full of desperate admirers, Katana is left with fighting a war with nothing but a her sword, her wit and a damaged ship that couldn’t possibly escape Kobra. This is where writer Mike W. Barr treats us to exactly how worthy Katana is of her accolades and how formidable she can be against an army.

While Kobra itself can be a turn-off for some readers, this incarnation may be one of the more interesting ones in recent memory. Our latest incarnation of King shares leadership with his Queen, a nunchaku-wielding badass in her own right who isn’t afraid of handling executions. Kobra being more inclusive (a female grunt in particular serves as a key connector in this plot) than we’ve seen may not have any real effect on how seriously they can be taken, but the very presence of change in both leadership and followership shows that Kobra might finally be a bit less predictable.

Artist Diogenes Neves handles action and motion expertly. There’s not a single unclear panel in this book, and that is a great service to any reader who desires immersion.

In summary: read this book! Issue one is a real treasure in its two equally attractive stories that promise a whole lot to come in this palatable and approachable six-issue mini-series. Fans of Deadshot and Katana will love the spotlights while new readers will have no problem starting to learn more about two characters from this summer’s blockbuster.

Pros:
Two action stories in one
Deadshot’s guarded depth
Katana’s warrior spirit
Both creative teams harmonize
Kobra’s new Queen

Cons:
Unclear story connection
Katana under-summarized
Kobra different but still hokey
Lack of fun codename for Will Evans

Final Judgement:
9

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