Monday, 3 June 2013

Monday Memories #22 - Suicide Squad #4

Each Monday this year I'll be taking a look back at a random comic, prestige format issue, graphic novel or collection of reprints from amongst my 3,000 or so comics that date from 1962 to 2003 - I figured anything in the last ten years would be too recent to hark back to.

The comics are chosen completely at random and apart from a four week lead-in period, even I don't know what I'll be looking at in the weeks to come!

SUICIDE SQUAD #4 - February 2002

In a flashback to the end of World War II, we find the Unknown Soldier - initially masquerading as Sureshot until Sgt Frank Rock sees through his disguise - approach Rock for his assistance in a hush hush mission. With the war in Europe over, an old enemy of Rock's has made his way to the ostensibly neutral Argentina, taking with him some information that he plans to sell, information that the US government want for themselves. The old enemy?

As he's hiding in Argentina, the US government can't just simply walk in and take his goods, so Rock is conscripted to put together a team of criminals and expendables - including his old Easy Company comrade, Wildman - to launch an attack. Unfortunately, the Iron Major knows they're coming and arranges for a welcoming committee and by the time they get to the Major's hide out, there's just Rock and Wildman left.

After retrieving the information on the Nazi's atomic weapons research, there's a final showdown between Rock and the Major before the mission wraps up.

The story's a flashback, framed by the present day Rock and his new Squad coordinator, Havana, hanging out in a restaurant where they're getting on famously:

The short lived series (it lasted 12 issues) wasn't that successful as far as sales goes but for me, I enjoyed it, principally for Giffen's writing. Throughout the series, he never takes the easy option with his dialogue - there's no exposition, no awkward name dropping to introduce characters, it's just wonderfully natural and economical. The art was principally by Paco Medina and Joe Sanchez with the flashbacks illustrated by other artists and while it might look a little cartoony at times, I liked it - Medina's command of facial expressions is easily equal to that of Amanda Conner or Kevin Maguire.

The series was wrapped up with plenty of threads dangling, sad to say, not least of which was the apparent discovery in the last issue that neither Frank Rock nor his colleague Bulldozer were actually who they'd been portrayed as for the entire run. I guess we'll never find out what Giffen had planned for them now.

As I said, a quirky little series but one I enjoyed.


  1. Glad to know that I wasn't the only one that found this iteration of the Squad to be better than everyone else seemed to think.

    I enjoyed it, and kinda liked that things were left dangling. Lots for the imagination to play with.

    1. You certainly weren't alone, Dave - I thoroughly enjoyed this series and would have been happy for Giffen to carry on for some time. Like you say, though, the end leaves lots to the imagination.


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