OK, normally I review only one issue at a time for the most part, but when I finally read #2 in this Black Label series and saw I had access to the third (and I presume, final) issue, I really wanted to see how this one ended.
So yeah, I went ahead and read both issues even though I usually hold off on reading the next issue of anything until after I have written up the previous issue.
Issues: Suicide Squad: Blaze #2 and 3, April and June 2022
Writer: Simon Spurier
Artist: Aaron Campbell
The Plot: Waller demands her new team take down the killer, but can they do so when even the Justice League can’t?
Commentary: So, I read something like this, and I think it could be set in the regular DC Universe only with more mature themes. But then I see the cover and start the issue and realize…nope! This is not the regular DC Universe. The Suicide Squad, originally Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn, and King Shark, seem to be the only members, and Amanda Waller is new levels of awful here, seen criticizing the world’s more public heroes as fools that don’t really know what they’re doing. But that’s not what told me this is basically an R-rated Elseworld.
No, that would be when Superman is basically killed by the nameless bad guy.
Yeah, early in the second issue, Waller gives Superman a location for this superhuman serial killer, a thing that is eventually revealed to be another alien with Superman-like powers, but without any sort of weakness like kryptonite. And sure, Superman finds the guy and tries to talk to him.
That would be when the killer basically beats Superman to such severe brain damage that, if he isn’t dead, he might as well be. And the Justice League not only won’t stand for that, but they won’t last too long when they take the guy on themselves later in a fight that largely happens in the background.
Basically, this killer, again never named, is the product of experiments by Waller’s people, and he has a type. The Blaze is really a parasite, found in the mystery alien before he got loose, and then divided into different pieces. The newcomers got a portion, and each time one dies, the portion gets divided up between the others, and their bodies will eventually burn out.
The series narrator Michael, one of five prisoners who took the parasite without really knowing what it would do, only seemed to get invisible arms for superpowers, but after the first issue showed him as basically something of a sad sack loser who fell for the wrong woman, once he figures out what’s going on and sees what the killer sees (starting with the Superman death), it becomes clear that no one really has the power to stop this guy. Not yet anyway.
Man, I really dug this. It’s alternately depressing and even kinda funny. King Shark keeps timidly asking if he can call his mom while Peacemaker will cheer on when he gets a piece of the killer in the most triumphant idiocy possible. But if this story will kill the Justice League, the Suicide Squad won’t stand much of a chance either. The series has a lot of downer moments. Superman’s death, early in issue #2, is a brutal thing that takes place over two issues, and it looks like this is going to be a story about the death of the world as told by a dying Michael. Still, there are moments of triumph, most notably when Harley, the most helpful member of the Squad (which isn’t saying much), decides to do something about Waller. Ending on a creepy note, this is a Suicide Squad story if everyone is expendable, and that includes the Justice League.
Yeah, I dug the hell out of this one.