Friday, August 31, 2007

Trial By Fire (DC comics)
Suicide Squad #2 When: June 1987
Why: John Ostrander How: Luke McDonnell

The story so far...
They're a group of despicable, ruthless, back-stabbing criminals -- and they're going to save the world in ways the heroes wouldn't touch. Or at least, that's the plan, when this ragtag group are sent into situations best described as: suicidal.

Headed up by Amanda Waller; the team are sent into the field for their first mission to infiltrate the headquarters of the terrorist group aptly named The Jihad, and use the intelligence gathered to systematically take them apart -- by any means.

The only problem with this team is that they're expendable, untrustworthy, and all too aware of their situation. Heading into Northern Qurac, there's a traitor in their midsts, and they'll gladly sell the team out if it means surviving!

Previous Form:
Deadshot, Manticore: Both making their Infinite Wars debut.

Tale of the tape...
Mmm, eighties hair!Strength: Manticore 5 (Super Strength)
Intelligence: Deadshot 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Manticore 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Manticore 5 (Marathon Man)
Agility: Draw 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting Ability: Deadshot 4 (Trained Fighter)
Energy Powers: Deadshot 3 (Explosives)

It might come as a shock, but this is actually the only issue of Suicide Squad I knowingly own. It's something of an abberation in my humble collection, and Captain Boomerang, Deadshot and Bronze King aside, I have little or no knowledge or affiliation for these characters.

That probably isn't such a big problem in the case of Manticore, as, well, put bluntly, he isn't long for this world. That might constitute a spoiler in other parts of the world, but if you haven't noticed, we're not usually terribly concerned by things that trivial. That, and I don't really care about dwelling or savoring details concerning the Suicide Squad.

So, Deadshot is an expert marksman and wears a funky costume that has in-built metallic underpants. He probably doesn't have the greatest depth perception when it comes to moving around a room, but if you point him in the right direction, that scopey thing (over the eye that isn't covered by metal mask) probably gives him the ultimate edge for sharp-shooting.

Manticore is a heavily armored cybernetic crazy man-monster.
Thinking back to the monsters and mythology I absorbed as a youngster during the very period this comic entered my posession, I dare say he has a tail, probably ready to do all kinds of nasty things.

The stats are open to interpretation, as these are two very different specimens.
On the one hand, Deadshot represents the consumate assassin, literally making his name on accuracy. If there's a weakness, he should be able to hit it.

On the other hand, Manticore is everything Deadshot isn't.
Strong, fast, brutal, powerful, Greek... He's got all the tools to take a Deadshot down, barring perhaps grasp of the tactical. Which is what will lead us to suggest Deadshot is the logical victor. As is the case in this issue, he would presumably opt for some sort of ambush or sneak attack, coming equipped well enough to fend off any misfortunes.

The Math: A draw
The Pick: Deadshot (There's a reason you don't know who Manticore is)

What went down...
With extensive intelligence on the threat and habits of The Jihad's members; Deadshot is practically spoon fed his opponent, with a direct teleport link to Manticore's elevator shaft lair.

The sleeping Manticore's keen senses detect the presence of the wall-clinging assassin. Deadshot tests the waters, flicking stones down at his unwitting, super-enhanced target.

Springing to life, Manticore makes eye-contact with the red-garbed Suicide Squader. Approaching the situation with a non-chalant tact, Deadshot ponders what holds an elevator in place -- finding the suitable cable to shoot out to turn the device from practical mode of vertical transporation into a plummeting weight of death!

Working against plan, Manticore leaps to meet the descending weight, using his reinforced super-body to smash through the base of the elevator, emerging through the top with a graceful flip.

Enticed by the challenge, Deadshot descends to meet his target head-on.

Deadshot fires off a few rounds from his wrist-mount gun with little or no effect to the menacing, man-beast. As Manticore continues to stalk through the fire, Deadshot ups the anti, firing rounds from both wrists.

Manticore's armour holds up, allowing him to stalk right up to Deadshot and take him down with a brutish strangling grip.
His superior strength pins Deadshot to the ground, prompting him to test whether or not the terror soldier's face is armoured.

It is not.

Despite a close call, Deadshot proves the validity of his name.
Not that Manticore is unworthy of the name, he's just... dead.

The hammer...
Your "win" in his debut appearance -- Deadshot!
I'm sure, once upon a time, I had some kind of varying quip to make the above declaration, but somewhere amidst all the stat-droning and ranting, it's been lost. If you happen to stumble across it, maybe you could let me know. It was last seen heading toward India with a lady in a red hat and matching trenchcoat. Like Scotsmen, no one is certain whether she's wearing anything under there, or not.

Some house keeping first up: Mugshots.
To add a bit of colour to the site we have those cute little avatars for all the characters that help you identify those you don't know by name, and instantly find out who won the fight when you scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Unlike the covers and panels, which are almost exclusively hand selected and scanned by my goodself; the mugshots are usually pinched from the internet.
Of course, these days that's easier said than done, today case-in-point.

Manticore you can forgive. Alive or dead, he isn't making any major appearances today, or any time soon, I imagine. No one expects to be able to find pin-ups, covers or scans out there that give us a clear look at his adorable little face.
Deadshot, on the other hand, has headed up series, including recent starring roles in Villains United and Secret Six series, written by the inimitable Gail "Fridge Suit Iron Man is HOT" Simone.

Yet, somehow, by some bizarre twist of fate, the best I can google up is tiny little images of a first issue cover so small: you couldn't even wallpaper Hank Pym's luxury condo, built out of lint and splinters from Wasp's underwear draw (which is incidentally also the condo's location).

If I can get any message out there, it's that you people need to start investing more time in artwork that reads like a character model. I want to see cheekbones, people. Cheekbones!

It's been a long month. I'm kinda tired. I did mention I'm not terribly connected to Suicide Squad, so there's a minimal amount of discussion here. As much a fan as I have been of Checkmate, the Suicide Squad and their appearances didn't exactly turn them into world wide phenomenons.

I've never really been into the self-aware fandom that I think has surrounded the property. It's legitimate enough not to be tongue-in-cheek, but there's something inherently silly about the approach of it all, that just doesn't quite sell as solidly as some other premises built around basic political concepts.

So, why include it? I think there was something I wanted to talk about, but after a month of some of the most lengthy and regular posts -- and continued work on writing/lettering/designing/sketching comics -- I'm tired and forgetful. Also, I cut my dirty golden locks, so I may have lost some of my powers...

Hopefully I'll snap out of it in time for tomorrow's punch-up!
Maybe Bahlactus will be the one to help me out of the fog of exhaustian, because he's bringing a twenty-hit combo of links to blogs featuring all things smackdown. Plenty of stuff in there, and even the occasional discussion!

And don't forget to check out the Broken Frontier review of The Kirby Martin Inquest #1. Once you're done with that, you can scoot over to Nite Lite Theatre dot com, and buy yourself a copy for the utterly affordable price of $2.99 -- it is a full-sized regular comic (not a mini-comic), so it's well worth the money!

The series is drawn by the ever-patient Pedro Cruz, who has a blog where I'm posting his art for him while he's away on a dangerous crusade on the planet Richard-97. You should check out his doodles and let him know what you think.

I've got to go tally up all the new stats from this month, and maybe even get some sleep some time. I've also been commissioned to assassinate Norman Osborn, but don't worry guys, I've got priorities.

The Fight: 3 The Issue: 4.5
[A solid story with an intriguing premise, but for some reason, a book I've just never been hooked on. Great seeing a criminal element treated to a developing agenda, but not the most intriguing new villains to hit 1987.]


Bahlactus said...

Discussion is overrated. Enjoy the panels while they act like instruments of destruction. Bahlactus has spoken.

Mike Haseloff said...

If a picture's worth a thousand words, I figure I've got enough to buy at least a dozen of y'all!