DC Comics’ Suicide Squad #7, written by Tom Taylor, with pencils by Daniel Sampere, inks by Juan Albarran, colors by Adriano Lucas and letters by Wes Abbott, is an issue that flips the series formula on its head. What has so far been a punchy, fast-moving, funny series, takes a little timeout to raise the stakes. This issue’s tone flies in the face of every issue so far, but still strikes a perfect balance.
Taylor’s scripts are always pretty funny. Suicide Squad #7 still has some great jokes thrown in, but it’s not as raucous as a typical Taylor script. With Deadshot going home to see his wife and daughter, Taylor slows down the pace and allows things to get serious. It’s in this issue that we see how much Floyd loves his family. How scared he is of losing them. And even in the midst of all the fear, Taylor fills the most terrifying moments with hope. With Zoe being happy to see her father, and Michelle already back to teasing Floyd, Taylor provides a dream for Deadshot. We now know why we want Deadshot to survive this series. Floyd is no longer just “trying to get home.” His home now has a face and a name, and we want him to get back there as much as he does.
There is always a feeling of whiplash when one artist takes the wheel from another in a series. But Sampere and Albarran give us a new layer to these characters. The Floyd Lawton that comes home to his family isn’t the one we saw in the last issue. He has lines on his face. He looks tired. So while it feels strange on some level that Redondo isn’t drawing this issue, the strangeness adds to the experience. It highlights the difference in their styles, and Sampere and Albarran’s version of the characters look a little more worn out. And a lot more pissed off. In most of the depictions of the Suicide Squad, we don’t see their eyes. It’s their eyebrows, knit in anger, that cast a shadow over their eyes. Sampere and Albarran’s Suicide Squad is out for blood.
Lucas shows with his coloring that he wants Floyd Lawton to stay home. When Floyd is outside, it almost hurts your eyes to look at the page. Lucas’ depiction of the bright sunlight feels too real not to squint at. But when Floyd enters his house, we get the cool blues of the interior. It makes it feel safe, calm, and welcoming. We see this especially when contrasted with Deadshot leaving the house and being incapacitated by a bunch of soldiers. As he’s held against the ground, the light shines over him and into our eyes. The Suicide Squad enters the fray soon after, accompanied by a cooling in the colors. But as it gets mingled with a ray of sunshine, and later the glare of headlights, it leaves one wondering: is the Suicide Squad bringing the cool blues of safety or is this the beginning of Deadshot’s twilight?
Abbott creates the tension in this issue. It’s all great that Floyd is back home, but will his family want to see him after all his years in the Suicide Squad? We see Floyd at the door of his home, waiting to have to give a defense. He wants to be back with his family, but he figures he’s got some explaining to do. The silence is palpable. The sound of him knocking on the door is dwarfed by his fist. His lettering is small, and even after his daughter has jumped into his arms, he doesn’t have much to say. His word balloons stay close to his face as if he’s scared to speak. This is what makes Floyd’s character so brilliant in this issue. Even when things seem to be going well, he’s used to pain, and he’s scared of screwing up. He loves his daughter and won’t say anything confidently until he’s sure he won’t hurt her.
DC Comics’ Suicide Squad #7 might be a change in pace, but it’s the perfect intro to Deadshot’s family life. We’re no longer talking in hypotheticals here. We know what Deadshot is risking every time he heads out with Task Force X. This quiet issue (for this series, there’s still plenty of fighting) brilliantly raises the stakes. Pick up DC Comics’ Suicide Squad #7 July 28th at a comic book shop near you!