As long time readers of I’m So Glad My Suffering Amuses You (pushing the boundaries of sociopathic behavior since 2013) know about me, I am at heart a DC Comics guy. But its been hard being a DC guy, especially when it concerns DC forays into movies. I gotta call it as I see it: Marvel’s slate of movies have been far superior to DC’s.
Meanwhile, DC movies, under the ham-fisted guidance of Zack Snyder, have been a dreary mess to slog through. This past spring’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice epitomized everything wrong with trying to shove DC heroes into a cinematic universe that Marvel by contrast took time to build. BVS was dark, oppressive, totally lacking in any internal logic and placed longtime super hero icons in questionable characterizations.
One defender of the Suicide Squad the movie was John Ostrander, writer of the seminal 1980's Suicide Squad comic book on which much of this movie is based. But even Ostrander's praise for the movie was dulled by a blunt assessment of its shortcomings in story and structure. Essentially, if you want to see DC Comics bad guys blow crap up, you will enjoy this movie. Otherwise...
Speaking of Ostrander's Suicide Squad, I followed that series back in the day. It was a strange and different beast from everything else in the DC line up. Morality was not quite as clear cut as it was in Superman or Justice League. The squad had its bad guys doing relatively good things for a bad reason but there were also flawed heroes, forced to do bad things for a "good" cause.
|Promotional art for Suicide Squad by Luke McDonnell & Karl Kesel|
Nobody fit easily into any preconceived modes of behavior. John Ostrander with his wife and writing partner Kim Yale produced a series that took on good vs. evil and blurred the lines like no one else in a mainstream comic book.
The standout in this run of Suicide Squad was Deadshot. A one off villain from the golden age of Batman comics, Deadshot was revived in the 1970's by Steve Engelhart and Marshall Rogers with a design and attitude that made him unique among Batman's foes.
|From Deadshot's first (and for 20+ years only) appearance. |
Art by Bob Kane, Lew Ayres Schwartz & Sheldon Moldoff
|From the cover of Deadshot's return in the 1970's. Art by Marshal Rogers and Terry Austin.|
|More art by Rogers and Austin. Script by Steve Englehart|
But not much had been done with him since that makeover until he wound up as a member of the Suicide Squad. It was in Suicide Squad that Deadshot became a player in the DC Universe and an interesting enough character to lure no less an actor than Will Smith to play him in the movie. Deadshot, aka Floyd Lawton, was a nihilist in the extreme but still forced to occasionally against his better judgment give a damn about something.
|Batman & Deadshot meet up in the pages of Suicide Squad.|
Art by Luke McDonnell & Bob Lewis. Script by John Ostrander.
Reading those classic stories in that run of Suicide Squad, it's easy to see how seductive this kind of storytelling would be to adapt to a movie. But what seduces you in the evening isn't always what you wake up with in the morning. And from all accounts, Suicide Squad the movie does not live up to is comic book roots. Maybe I will feel differently if I ever actually see the thing. But if I do, I'm not going to have a lot of company.
Thanks for dropping by. There's a new post on some damn thing or another coming up tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another.