Continuing “The Edge” group of DC’s New 52:
The high concept for this book is something like The Dirty Dozen with psychotic supervillains instead of psychotic soldiers. In other words, join the Suicide Squad for impossible, covert missions, or rot in prison. This version of the Suicide Squad features Deadshot (super-assassin) and a tarted-up version of Harley Quinn (Joker’s long-suffering “girlfriend”), with C-listers like El Diablo (fire powers), King Shark (a man with a shark head and big teeth), Savant (unknown powers; he’s a red shirt), Voltaic (electrical powers), and Black Spider (unknown powers; he’s only in a couple of panels).
Writer Adam Glass and artists Federico Dallocchio, Ransom Getty, and Scott Hanna bring us twenty pages of torture porn interspersed with a few short flashbacks of the protagonists’ backgrounds. It turns out that Amanda Waller, the government agent who is the brains behind the team, is conducting this enhanced interrogation drill to weed out the members who are not 100% committed to its success. So, not a sympathetic soul in sight. Nevertheless, despite the unrelenting depravity, Suicide Squad is more interesting than some of the generic superhero titles like Green Arrow. Not interesting enough to keep reading, but at least DC is trying.
Jonah Hex, the surly and disfigured post-Civil War bounty hunter, is the featured character of All Star Western. Hex has been around since the early 1970s and has a strong, established cult following, perhaps because of his unwavering personal code of honor to defend the innocent and punish the guilty. Previous stories have taken place almost exclusively in the Old West, but this set of adventures sees Hex summoned to rough and tumble Gotham City to help solve the mystery of a sadistic serial killer. His investigation leads to interactions with businessman Alan Wayne and Mayor Cobblepot (ancestors of Batman and the Penguin, of course), along with Amadeus Arkham, founder of infamous Arkham Asylum.
Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray pen a violent, yet engaging mystery with echoes of the Jack the Ripper case. Moritat’s clean, compelling artwork is alone worth buying the book. Forget about the lamentable movie with Josh Brolin—pick up All Star Western for a great looking, well written police procedural starring a ferocious, yet charismatic tough guy.