100 All-Time Greatest Comics… Improved: Part XVIII

Of course I’m not dead… why do you ask? Anyway, here’s a double feature, for absolutely no reason other than I’m so nice.

Secret Six: Six Degrees of Devastation

s-six-book-2

Go on, guess what I’m about to say. That’s right… “It’s good, but not great”. And please believe me when I say that Gail Simone’s Secret Six is damn good (although why the second trade paperback was recommended is beyond me). I suspect Uncanny Comics included this because they remembered something they’d read a while back that they quite liked.

All very well if you’re going to make a recommendation, but DC’s been doing quality comics for a lot longer…

The Replacement… Suicide Squad: Trial By Fire

s-squad-book-1

Oh, as if I was going to pick anything else.

The original Suicide Squad did a lot for comics that are taken for granted; namely, taking c-list characters and actually acknowledging that they’re a bit stupid (nobody gave two shits about Deadshot until John Ostrander wrote him. Fact.) and engaging with politics in a genuinely mature and balanced way (a far cry from the sincere yet bombastic Green Lantern/Green Arrow, or the gonzo alt-history take by Watchmen and TDKR).

The fact that it did so whilst juggling a variety of interesting and unique characters by giving them all a unique voice (always a struggle even for the best team books) and maintaining a rich vein of black humour just makes it that much better. The best part of the new movie is that it’s reminded DC that they only reprinted the first 6 issues back in 2011, and now they’re publishing trades of the entire run.


Catwoman: Relentless

relentless

Aside from suggesting the third trade in the series (why?) and ignoring the fact that Selina’s Big Score is actually the best in the series, there’s not much to fault Uncanny Comics on this time. However, if you want a truly great story starring a much-loved female from Batman’s Rogues’ Gallery…

The Replacement… Mad Love

mad-love

… Opportunistic little bugger, aren’t I?

Mad Love isn’t just based on one of the best adaptations of Batman, it’s also one of the best stories to truly examine what kind of people would willingly get into the insanity that is Gotham’s criminal world. Batman himself is almost incidental to the whole thing, and that’s fine, as it gives more room for the tragicomedy that is Harleen Quinzel’s descent into The Joker’s clutches.

When writing The Joker, some writers find it very hard to get the balance between silly and menacing. Fortunately, that problem never happened when Timm & Dini were at the helm. They managed to make Harley’s fall from grace not only inevitable, but understandable.

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