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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 185

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at one of the most notable Suicide Squad storylines – their trip to Apokolips, by John Ostrander, Kim Yale, John Snyder, Geoff Isherwood and Luke McDonnell!!


Okay, so early on in the series, the Suicide Squad (a government task force run by Amanda Waller which consisted of super-villains trying to get their sentences reduced and tarnished superheroes) encountered the Female Furies. Lashina, the head of the group, was usurped. Soon after, a mysterious strong woman showed up and joined the Squad. Dubbed “Duchess” (because she was a female John Wayne), she served with the Squad for a time until she revealed that SHE was Lashina (Waller knew this, of course, she just thought it best to keep her close where she could keep an eye on her – a strategy that did not turn out so well).

Now that Duchess remembered her past, she decides to take a bunch of Squad members with her to Apokolips to serve as cannon fodder on her journey to get her position back. She promises Shade the Changing Man that she will help him return home if he aids her (he figures he can get around their deal – he also did not plan HIS strategy well, either).

Duchess takes advantage of the naivatee of Flo, the support staff member who is the daughter of Waller’s cousin, and therefore has been promised by Waller to never go into combat. Flo has a crush on Bronze Tiger and she thinks proving herself in the field will impress him (her strategy, too, is a flawed one).

Flo realizes too late what a mistake she made…

So a group of the Squad is off to Apokolips, with Bronze Tiger and a few remaining members of the team left behind and stuck with the task of figuring out a way to Apokolips.

Meanwhile, Shade’s conscious gets the best of him while on Apokolips…

Isn’t that a really well-handled scene by Ostrander?

Meanwhile, on Apokolips, the Squad members don’t want to help Lashina, but that is all put aside when they get attacked by a pack of Parademons!!!

Back on Earth, Oracle (in one of her early appearances – not in person, of course) helps put the leftover members of the Squad into contact with the Forever People…

On Apokolips, after dealing with the Parademons, the Squad now has to face Darkseid’s top minions…

Lashina succeeds in defeating the usurper to her title, and is welcomed back by Granny Goodness. When Granny asks what to do with the Squad members, Lashina suggests killing them.

This leads into a brilliant sequence….

How awesome is that?

I won’t tell you how it all ends, but I will say that it is fairly depressing (as was a lot of Suicide Squad).

But really, really well done. John Snyder and Geoff Isherwood did the art for 3 of the 4 issues, with Luke McDonnell doing the 3rd part.

Go find these issues in back issues! They should be available cheap!


As I’ve said about 100 times, the Squad NEEDS to be collected in trades. Also, I’ve loved this title forever, so any articles where it gets respect makes me happy.

The Crazed Spruce

July 5, 2010 at 4:54 am

The drugstore around the corner from my house stopped carrying Suicide Squad just a few issues before this arc. I heard about this story, but I never did actully read it.

I have GOT to get my hands on a copy one of these days….

If only the art had been better.

I am not dogging on the artists, I am just saying that the stories were great and a higher profile art team might have made it sell better and stick around longer.

It was a great arc in an already great series. Everyone had a moment to shine in this one, even Major Victory. And of course, the Dr. Light sequence was hilarious.


July 5, 2010 at 6:38 am

Amazon keeps teasing me with release dates for the SS Showcase and then taking them back. Guess I’ll just have to keep going back to the antique store and hope there are more issues that I don’t have yet.

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 5, 2010 at 7:23 am

The whole of the Suicide Squad by Ostrander and Yale is a classic.

I miss those days.

Matthew Johnson

July 5, 2010 at 7:40 am

Actually, I think this was the highpoint of the series in terms of the art as well as the story. Dr.3 and Isherwood were a great team, and produced a book that really stood out on the stands.

They posted a solicit for a Suicide Squad trade: http://www.tradereadingorder.com/comics/unplaced-books/suicide-squad-trial-by-fire/

So maybe they will finally collect it?

It was in the Previews a few months ago, but then it got canceled. I don’t know if will be resolicited.

was hoping the Squad would show up on this list . but did not expect it to be the showdown on Apokolopis and the face down of Amanda and Granny. not to mention Oracle being part of the team at the time though not seen yet. nice seeing the squad again on this list.

Really? It’s still got a Feb date on amazon. I know the Showcase got canceled and re-solicited a couple times, but I thought the color volume was a go.

I think the art is actually good and fit the tone of the series. I will also echo that they should put this in a trade. The grocery store that I would buy this from stopped carrying it right before the “janus Directive” or something like that.

So what issues did this story run in?


A great pick, Brian. Ostrander is nearly always a solid writer, seldom disappointing. For a future Ostrander pick, how about his great work with Manco on BLAZE OF GLORY, a fantastic revisionist western?

The Count Vertigo sequence is one of my all-time favorites!

However, no thanks to the art. Let’s not mince words here, the art on Suicide Squad was, on the very least, unattractive and, at its worst moments, terrible. That’s certainly the reason why the book was never a sales sucess, since the writing was consistently great.

Its more sucessful contemporary, the JLI series, had art by guys like Kevin Maguire or Adam Hughes (still at an early stage on his career, but already a good artist). If you saw the two books side by side and skimmed them quickly, you would certainly buy the JLI one, thanks to its more appealing art. That DOES make a difference!

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Minor nitpick, shouldn’t it say Shade’s “Conscience” gets the better of him?

Seriously people, if you consider yourself a DC fan, or a comic fan for that matter, just pick up the 66 issue run (and the books that tie in with the Janus Directive: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janus_Directive) and start reading. Don’t waste time waiting for trades.

Luke McDonnel was the first Suicide Squad penciler (in this volume, that is) and he was a far superior artist than either his contemporaries at JLI (Kevin Maguire, mainly) or the team that was in place at the time of this story arc.

Come to think of it, yes, it is strange that the art in SS was generally so poor. And for that matter, that it hasn’t been collected yet.

Luke McDonnell superior to Kevin Maguire?

Uh… no…

A damn fine story in a damn fine book, but unfortunately these cool comics cost me Briscoe and Sheba and I still miss them terribly.

Does Maguire have such strong appreciation? Really?

It’s the second time that people tell me he is better than McDonnell. I’m puzzled. Truth be told, I find Luke McDonnel a fine penciler, and Kevin Maguire a rather pedestrian and limited one.

Does Maguire have such strong appreciation? Really?

For your answer, check this out.

Different strokes and all that, I suppose. Still… I’m flabbergasted.


July 6, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I find Maguire to be a much better penciler. He’s not even in my top 20 favorite artist, but I’d take him any day over McDonnell. McDonnell’s pencils always seemed stiff and odd to me. Maguire’s pencils started out pretty stiff as well but he loosened up over time. I appreciate that McDonnell was going for the sparse “less is more” approach which I favor, but often it came off looking lifeless. But like you said it’s different strokes for different folks.

I was a huge Marvel fan but SS got me started on DC comics. I have the whole run and it is one of my favorite series.

The part that always gets me is when Tiger comes in, Flo is joyful but Tiger yells out “MARI” as he leaps forward and Flo just stares tearfully as she sees the man she loves going for Vixen…unaware of a parademon coming behind her. Powerful stuff there.

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