D.C.U.A.O.M. Bonus: Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay

Hello, my friends.  Despite the lethal road trip that took us to the point of oblivion and back, we’re still not done with this particular venture yet.  As such, I welcome you back to another entry of my signature companion series known as…

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Even though our favorite team of super delinquents managed to accomplish their task (with some blood and death occurring along the way), they’re not even remotely being done with delving into the supernatural.  As such, we’ll be looking at the sequel comic to…

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Released on a weekly basis from March 21 to June 7, 2018, this 12-issue digital-only series was writted by Jeff Parker, drawn by Matthew Dow Smith (Issues 1-2, 6-12), Agustin Padilla (Issue 3), Stefano Raffaele (Issue 4) & Cat Staggs (Issue 5) and colored by Tony Aviña.  Because this is the follow-up to the DCUAOM’s 31st film of the same name, here’s a quick premise of the movie.  It had six imprisoned criminals assigned to help their boss acquire a magical card.  However, two opposing sides were also after said item for their own purpose as our super-felons had to go through brutal and blood-spilling lengths to fulfill their mission.  If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out the movie and my review in order to get caught up.  For everyone else, let’s dive in and once again tempt fate.

We open on a rainy night in New Orleans as we learn that Amanda Waller is meeting an occult expert while informing an associate via cell phone to prep her list of potential teammates for the next mission.  She arrives at the abode of Jason Blood (who’s surprisingly alive despite the events of “Justice League Dark”) and lets him examine her newly-acquired “Get Out Of Hell Free Card”.  Unfortunately for her, he says that it’s been used up.  When he asks how she got the card, she only states that it’s “confidential and it was very messy”.  Fortunately for Jason, he gets his answer from his female assistant Xan as she explains that Waller sent in a team to acquire the card and that half of them died.  Not only that, but two opposing figures in Vandal Savage & Reverse-Flash were involved as well and both wound up deceased.  Amanda then mentions that she’s aware of his connection to Etrigan and that they’re bound by Merlin as she demands to know why the card no longer works.

Xan develops some mystic smoke to explain that Deadshot and Bronze Tiger were the last ones to possess it as Waller realizes that Floyd allowed Ben to use the card.  Jason then states that there’s no way that it can be reactivated, nor does he know where another one can be located.  As Madame Xanadu tells him that Amanda is terminally ill, she discards her robe and asks if a sorcerer will be needed for her upcoming team.  When Waller says that she doesn’t need one at all, Blood mentions his awareness of her un-trustworthiness towards “magic users” (even oddly referencing the 2016 “Suicide Squad” film) but are needed since “science can’t solve everything”.  Amanda then informs him that she’s been seeing a white figure a lot recently and that it’s become vital.

After exclaiming that it’s neither the heroic Deadman nor the villainous Gentleman Ghost, Jason has Xan magically scan Waller’s recent memory to see what she saw.  She then gets a shocking realization as she discovers that Amanda is “marked by the Spectre” before explaining that he’s an avenging spirit who pursues wicked individuals and personally makes those guilty parties suffer.  She also tells Waller that now that she’s seen him, her own demise is drawing nearer.

Jason wonders why she keeps seeing the Spectre since it never takes the vicious spirit this long to claim his victim, yet is impressed with Amanda’s attempts to stay alive by sending her squad to take out evil oppressors.  As Xan strips him of his clothes, Amanda demands to know if there’s any way to prevent the Spectre from claiming her.  When Jason says that there isn’t, she starts to take her leave.  Just then, he remembers something that could possibly help her.  He speaks of a relic called the Amaurex Key that’ll keep the user away from going to Hell just like the card, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the deceased user will get to go the Heaven.

Waller asks him where she could possibly find it, to which Jason explains that Vandal Savage commissioned the artifact but went after the card instead since he didn’t believe that he could recover it.  As such, he tells Amanda to start with his underground society.  As such, Issue 1 ends with her taking her leave as the Spectre continues to loom over her.

Issue 2 opens at Belle Reve Penitentiary in Terrebone Parish, Louisiana as a prisoner named Bo tells a fellow imprisoned criminal that Waller has returned.  He then says that he’s heard about her “deep-state volunteer” program where “hard cases” are recruited but not all of them return.  Bo then explains that he learned all of this from a nearby cellmate who speaks of this in his sleep.  That person just so happens to be George Harkness a.k.a. Captain Boomerang who gets woken up by a guard tossing some water onto him.  He’s then greeted by Amanda who recruits him in exchange for another 10 years off of his prison sentence.  In her observation report, George is her new top marksman now that Floyd Lawton a.k.a. Deadshot has become a free man (because of the events from the film) and that he still has the implanted explosive in his neck from the last mission.

As Waller, Harkness and a fellow guard enter the plexiglass wing, they see a official inside a cell yelling to be let out since he was tricked by the prisoner and escaped.  Once the doors open however, Amanda punches him and says that she’s not falling for it.  It turns out that she was right as the fake guard transforms back into her actual form: Ms. Clay.  According to Waller’s report, she’s an offshoot of Clayface that’s developed her own personality (and even decided to be a woman).  Arkham doctors were unable to merge her back with Clayface and Amanda managed to get her transferred to her prison.

Next up, they visit a special pen to acquire their next teammate: an mutated El Paso man named Coyote.  He tries to attack, but the guard manages to shock him just enough in leave him temporarily dazed.  This allows Waller to inject a sedative in order to bring him down “to a listening level” as they continue on their way.

They then come across someone that Amanda hasn’t recruited yet: Neal Emerson a.k.a. Doctor Polaris.  According to her report, he manipulates magnetic fields but is also a massive druggie.  She fends off his pleas for various drugs as she takes her team to their next teammate.

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It turns out the be the back-breaking behemoth himself: Bane.  In Waller’s report, he turned down the offer to get his signature venom injection tubes.  She also states that she’s going more power-heavy with her team selection due to the nature of the upcoming mission as she hopes that this pays off.

They then make their way towards the facility’s hidden tank which contains a mutated amphibian named Jed Coombs a.k.a. Chimera a.k.a. Creature King.  The report states that he was critically injured before becoming who he is by Dr. Orson.  His abilities involves metamorphosis, enhanced biological adaptation and superhuman strength just to name a few.  Like Bane, he willing accepts Amanda’s offer and joins the team.

Finally, the team gets introduced to their final member (and someone whom she’s the least thrilled about): Dr. Harleen Quinzel a.k.a. Harley Quinn.  She wonders if she’s going to be the team leader, but Waller instantly shoots that request down.

Afterwards, she takes her newly-formed team out to the training yard and expects them to get used to working with each other.  As she notices the Spectre lurking within the shadow, Issue 2 ends with her telling her squad that they have three days to function as a team or else.

Issue 3 opens in the middle of an non-descriptive ocean as a hospital ship sails on it.  Inside, Scandal Savage is with her critically-injured lover Knockout as she hopes that her girlfriend gets a full recovery and looks to kill her father (unaware that he’s already dead) so that they can live together.  Meanwhile, the Suicide Squad is making its way to the ship via helicopter as Waller is alongside her newly-formed team in order to give them proper guidance.

As she mentions in her last-minute mission briefing, it turns out that Scandal paid for the entire ship, medical staff and crew in order to get Knockout some much-needed treatment.  Because she’s the heir to her father’s underground global empire and because he’s finally dead, all of his former captains are looking to kill her in order to take possession.  It turns out that they’re going to rescue her in order to know about any “long-hidden threats” and prevent her father’s long-built armada from completely breaking off on their own.  As such, Amanda want her squad to keep Scandal, Knockout and as many medical staff & crew men as they can alive.  Suddenly, the medical ship is under attack by an invading group.  Scandal is shocked that an enemy group has found the vessel as she preps her wrist-mounted blades for the upcoming fight.

Because of the pirates’ weaponry, Waller explains that she recruited Doctor Polaris in order to protect the team from enemy gunfire.  As such, she tells Chimera to sink as many enemy ships as he can before they land.  Jed proceeds to dive in and instead attempts to escape, but Amanda expected this.  Because he has regenerative cells and could recover from a single microbomb, she implanted him with several of them while he was under.  Not only that, but they’re specialized with a small disruption field as Coombs is racked with pain before being ordered to carry out his task.

Back aboard the medical ship, the invaders’ field leader tells his team to look for Scandal up in the patient’s rooms while they kill the vessel’s staff and crew.  Just then, the Suicide Squad jumps aboard to confront them.  As expected, Doctor Polaris uses his magnetic field to stop the opposing gunfire and send it back at their attackers.  He wonders why Waller isn’t restraining to him to which she replies by the fact that she’s armed with non-metallic bullets.  As such, he unleashes his power on the opposing pirates.

The field leader tells his men to try and take the delinquents down with only their bare hands since they greatly outnumber them, but Bane, Coyote, Harley and Ms. Clay are more than capable of fighting back.

Meanwhile, a pair of assassins are climbing their way up the side of the ship as they continue their search.  Suddenly, Scandal smashes through the porthole and stabs one of the them.  The other assailant takes out his gun in order to strike, but Issue 3 ends with Amanda arriving in time to shoot him down as Scandal is shocked to see who saved her.

Issue 4 opens with the Suicide Squad continuing to smite the opposing assassins as Captain Boomerang serves up some decapitating boomerangs, Bane delivers his signature back-breaking technique and Coyote manages to save Harley from enemy strangulation.  While Ms. Clay continues with her contribution, Doctor Polaris heads into what he thinks is the patient’s room.  However, it turns out that he’s come across the supply chamber where various pills are stored as his past craving re-emerges.

Down below, the opposing assailants decide to switch up their strategy by wielding weapons made out of brass and wood.  However, Creature King manages to attack them before they even start to climb up as he sends an army of predatory sea life after them.  Back aboard, the devious group tells a fellow female compatriot named Zuel to step in and help.  Ms. Clay wonders why the name sounds familiar as the rest of the team head in to attack, but it turns out that she’s Dr. Doris Zuel a.k.a. Giganta as she grows to titanic size.

She easily handles both Bane and Coyote, but runs into a minor nuisance as Harley manages to strike a tendon in her heel with enough force to bleed.  Ms. Clay tries telling Quinn to lure their foe towards her so that she can strike a weak spot, but Doris steps on her as Harley requests for backup from her superior.

However, Waller is unable to assist since she’s joined the fight in order to help out Scandal before letting her know that her father is dead and that his numerous lieutenants & underlings are looking to kill her in order to rule his empire.  Savage says that she has no interest in inheriting her dad’s reign as Amanda mentions her key assist in taking down her father and that she wishes to help her out and get Knockout to medical safety.

Unfortunately, Quinn calls in to let Waller know that things have gone bad in numerous ways for her teammates.  When she mentions that Captain Boomerang is dodging enemy gunfire, Amanda wonders what happened to Doctor Polaris.  She soon discovers Neal inside the supply chamber tripping out on medical drugs.  Afterwards, Issue 4 ends with her calling for helicopter pick-up.  Unfortunately, Giganta has grabbed onto the chopper in an attempt to bring it down.

Issue 5 opens with things looking grim for Waller and her team ever since Giganta has gotten involved.  She contacts Creature King to know what he’s up to and learns that he’s been slaying the various assassins.  When she tells him to take out Giganta, he mentions that he’ll “need to go deep” for this task.

She then learns that Captain Boomerang, Ms. Clay and Harley Quinn are presently pinned down.  Amanda then tells Ms. Clay to transform into Scandal and cause a distraction while Harkness and Quinn climb down to the assailants’ nearby boat in order to acquire their firearms as well as their ammunition.  Bane then contacts and informs her that because of how far he was kicked from the ship, it’s going to take him half-an-hour just to swim back.  Fortunately, Chimera managed to send a shark his way in order to help him reach the vessel much quicker.

However, not every teammate enjoyed getting rescued by the ocean’s predator as Coyote had to eat his rescuer in order to get free.  Chimera is appalled by this action as he attacks his fellow colleague after getting threatened with the same level of behavior.  Meanwhile, Ms. Clay has become Scandal and manages to lure the enemy gunfire away.  As Savage and Waller exchange information of their current situation, Bane joins Harley and George as they round up the assassins’ various guns.

At that moment, Amanda fires at Giganta in order to get her attention.  Just as she’s about to strike back with titanic force, she’s suddenly attacked a gigantic cephalopod as it wraps its tentacles around her wrists, ankles and neck.  Under his boss’ orders, he has his undersea creature suffocate her just enough so that she will ultimately pass out.

Meanwhile, our delinquents take notice of this situation along with one last group of assailants as they proceed to engage them in a shootout.  Waller then tells Creature King to have his cephalopod let go of Giganta.  As such, she falls down and crushes the majority of her teammates as Quinn knocks out the lone survivor while Scandal goes to check up on her girlfriend.

Not only was Knockout’s room free from intruders, but she’s still alive as Amanda offers Scandal the chance to place her lover in a proper & more safeguarded facility.  Just then, the last assailant wearily recognizes Waller as “the one who left the message” before she executes him as her team reassembles.  She then notices that Coyote isn’t present as she uses her locater to find him, only to discover that Chimera ate him in their recent fight.  Afterwards, Issue 5 ends with Amanda telling her team that a bigger challenge awaits them.

Issue 6 opens with Deadshot on the rooftops in the middle of an overseas assassination assignment.  As he preps his sniper, he records a message for his daughter Zoe where he decides to finally inform her about his lifelong profession.  He talks about the perks, the tidbits and skillful traits that comes with the gig as he receives an advanced payment before he ultimately manages to kill his target.

He then activates a propulsion system to send his rifle away as he climbs down towards his motorcycle and speeds off while telling Zoe in his recording to not take up his profession.  Just then, he gets a notification on his cell phone as he discovers that his advanced payment was taken away.  Knowingly furious with who did this, he contacts Waller (who’s now back in New Orleans) via her nearby associate’s cell phone to voice his complaint.  It turns out that she stripped him of his advanced pay because A. he apparently didn’t complete the assignment in time and B. she wanted him to commit the assassination in a way that made it look like someone from her current Suicide Squad did it.  After Floyd explains that he found a much-better way to complete his task, he suddenly realizes that this assignment was meant to cause a distraction so that she can keep attention away from her going after another version of the “Get Out of Hell Free” card before she hangs up on him.

Afterwards, she arrives with her squad at Madame Xanadu’s shack.  However, the actual building’s owner says that he’s lived there his whole life and that he’s never heard of her nor has this ever been an occult shop before.  Despite that, Captain Boomerang a boomerang to open the door as he, Amanda and Harley head inside.  They soon discover a candle with a note next to it that says “Light Me” as Waller proceeds to do so.  It soon projects an image of Jason Blood as he says that he had to leave the place since it was discovered by “some old enemies”.  Fortunately, he has a starting point for her and her team in their quest for the Amaurex Key.  However, he can only disclose it in person as he tells her to come to Boston in order to give her a proper guide.  Just then, they hear a noise from outside as Amanda tells George and Harley to go check it out.

It turns out that the nearby marching jazz band was actually the Rougarou, a group of supernatural creatures that can shape-shift into human forms but they need blood in order to maintain their disguise.  The Suicide Squad manages to fend them off with little resistance, yet Doctor Polaris is yet again distracted by his drug addition as he attempts to get some street-side narcotics by a local seller.

Back inside, Jason tells Waller to meet him at Boston’s Granary Burying Ground tomorrow so that he can summon a helpful spirit.  Suddenly, his message is cut off by the arrival of the Spectre who proceeds to warn her that her death is getting closer and that she’ll pay for the numerous individuals she got killed.  After he departs, Issue 6 ends with Harley walking back in to let her boss know that they defeated their recent adversaries.  However, she sees Amanda actually spooked as she lays in a fetal position.

Issue 7 opens with Waller and company arriving in Boston as she tells Creature King to transform into a human since this city doesn’t allow him to hide in plain sight like New Orleans does.  Despite his objection, he shifts into his human form and becomes the image of his former mortal self Jed Coombs.  Later, our group makes their way through Boston Public Garden as Amanda reminds her team that they must be at Granary Burying Ground at twilight (a.k.a. sunset).

As they make their way towards their destination, Captain Boomerang notices the missing venom tubes that were ripped from Bane during their last scuffle.  However, he states that he doesn’t need it.  Doctor Polaris backs up the claim by explaining that those tubes were essentially “a big glow stick” in order to confuse Vandal’s men.  Afterwards, they arrive at the entrance to Granary Burying Ground and proceed to head inside.

Upon entering, they’re met upon by Jason Blood who lets our group know that he’s placed some repellent spells over their general area in order to keep the public away before giving them spectral lenses which resemble 3-D glasses.  It turns out that those specific pieces of eye-wear allows them to see the wandering spirits of this area who’re searching for their proper tombstones for 30 minutes.  He tells them to search for a blacksmith in order to find out where he worked and then have a Savage family heir in order to obtain proper passage.  Waller tells him that Scandal will join them the next day due to putting her injured girlfriend into a proper medical facility.

The squad proceeds to search for a while until Harley spots someone who seems to fit the description as Amanda tells her to go after him.  Quinn proceeds to give chase when she’s suddenly attacked by another being.  It turns out the be James Craddock a.k.a. Gentleman Ghost as he looks forward to killing her and the team.

Jason tries to shoo him away, but James refuses as he sends the spirits after him and the team.  The squad gets overwhelmed by the raging ghosts until Waller starts shooting at the astral beings and is able to harm them.  She explains that she has Nth Metal Jacket bullets, but only has a few due to the metal’s rarity as she tells her team to run for the exit.  Blood attempts to confront the Gentleman Ghost only to discover that he’s disappeared.

Just then, Bane disarms Amanda before knocking her out with a single punch.  The squad wonders why one of their teammates is suddenly turning on them, but Issue 7 ends with them learning that Gentleman Ghost has taken possession of their muscle-bound comrade.

Issue 8 opens with Harley trying to stop their spiritually-corrupted comrade but fails as James uses his newfound strength to smack her away. Afterwards, he’s suddenly approached by the appearance of Etrigan the Demon who demands to know who the bearer of the Amaurex Key is.  However, Gentleman Ghost questions why Jason would summon his demon onto hollowed grounds without a protection chant before ordering the surrounding spirits to rip Etrigan apart as it’s revealed that the demon isn’t even here since Blood was using an illusion.

With their teammates getting overwhelmed by the vicious souls, Ms. Clay and Doctor Polaris take it upon themselves to take care of their current crisis.  She proceeds to smack Bane over to the fence while Neal manipulate several posts onto their muscle-bound comrade in order to stop the Gentleman Ghost’s wrath.

Unfortunately, James is able to free himself as he relinquishes control over Bane and take possession of Neal.  From there, he manipulates Captain Boomerang’s signature weapons in order to slay Chimera.  While his fellow spirits subdue Ms. Clay, Gentleman Ghost uses Doctor Polaris’ powers to take Waller’s gun away in order to properly execute Jason.

Just then, the firearm gets knocked out of his hand by a clay projectile.  He wonders how Ms. Clay was able to fight back despite her being mortal, but he soon gets his answer as it turns out that someone turn possession of her in order to help out: Boston Brand a.k.a. Deadman.  He proceeds to punch Gentleman Ghost out of Doctor Polaris’ body and manages to chase him off with his assaults.

As a result, the opposing souls are also forced to flee as our group recovers (even as Creature King still stands from a fatal assault).  Just then, Harley spots a spirit in Blacksmith clothes as Brand manages to prevent him from going back to his eternal rest.  Jason asks him about the Amaurex Key as the soul explains that he was one of 13 Blacksmiths who work on the otherworldly device before getting murdered by Vandal Savage in order to prevent any knowledge of the key from spreading.  He then explains that he worked on the key within an underground chamber having no idea where he was due to the fact that Vandal blindfolded him during their travel (although he does mentions that he heard people speaking French).  After working on the key, he was promised to be returned home.  Ultimately, Savage killed him in Boston as he finally returns to his eternal rest.  As such, Issue 8 ends with Jason telling Amanda and company that he now knows where they have to go.

Issue 9 opens with our group on a private plane en route to their destination.  After a quick mention about Captain Boomerang being sent back to Belle Reve’s prison hospital, we find out that Deadman has taken possession of Bane as he’s helping them out as a favor for Jason.  He then brings up his backstory where he was murdered while performing a circus act but his spirit was saved by a goddess named Rama Kushna as she chose him “to help people find justice”.

We then cut to sometime later as they arrive in Paris, France before meeting up with Scandal by the side of the Seine.  As she leads the group towards her father’s personal catacombs, Waller gives Quinn a head camera for her to wear while she stays topside in prevent other citizens from going in.  Afterwards, they arrive at the entrance to Vandal’s private chamber as Scandal says that only loyal members can enter.  It also turns out that his heir is also allowed entry as she lets Amanda’s team inside.  As they venture into the subterranean passageway, Scandal explains that this isn’t connected to the city’s main catacombs and is used to bury Vandal’s fallen warriors.  She then explains that she used to respect her father during the time when he molded her to run his empire before he discovered that she wouldn’t be able to do everything that he wants her to do and that lead to her personal distrust during the past several years.

As they approach the central chamber, they arrive at an aqueduct with an entryway that’s blocked and won’t open despite Scandal’s command.  Fortunately, Chimera manages to swim to the opposite side of the door and activates a switch to get his teammates inside.  As such, they reach the main temple room that contained the most precious of artifacts.  It also has its own waterway since it would be used to clean up following the numerous sacrifices held there.

While an undead army begins to form unbeknownst to our main group, Ms. Clay notices a crystal ball before Scandal discovers some nearby scrolls.  She reads about the Amaurex Key’s ability to bound itself with a deceased person in order to become resurrected being who gets stronger over time.  Afterwards, she asks the crystal ball where they can find the key’s current holder.  Just then, Creature King senses the approaching undead army as Amanda orders her team to protect Scandal.  Before the opposing group arrives, she discovers that the key is being held by someone back in the southern United States.

Afterwards, the undead armada arrives to engage our felons.  Deadman relinquishes control over Bane in order to find an escape route for them.  With their muscle-bound comrade conscious again, he joins his squad mates in combating their deceased foes.  Even Doctor Polaris finally gets in on the act as he manipulates a corpse’s sword in his favor.

Boston discovers that a seemingly endless horde of undead enemies have flooded every possible exit route.  Meanwhile, Scandal begins to tell the squad about where they have to go.  Just then, the crystal ball shows Waller turning on her as she contacts her father’s enemies.  Just then, Issue 9 ends with Floyd (who apparently brightened his hair color and shaved his goatee) arriving and holding her at gunpoint while proclaiming that her personal manipulations are done.

Issue 10 opens with Lawton ready to execute Amanda for screwing him over one too many times.  Suddenly, Deadman manages to take possession of him and informs Waller that the regular underground passage is swamped with zombie warriors.  After being informed that she’ll handle Floyd, Boston takes his leave as Lawton is suddenly rewarded with $15 million in his account.  She tells him that it’s a payment (which she won’t retract) for his help in getting both Scandal and her squad out alive.  Down in her father’s chambers, Scandal is stunned with the recent betrayal while the delinquents struggle with fending off the undead armada.

Fortunately, she remembers a secret exit that they can use as elude their zombie foes and make their way through the underground passage.  However, they come across a fork as Scandal tries to remember which one will take them out.  Harley makes the decision for her as she leads the group on the right-sided path.  Suddenly, Deadman rejoins them as he once again takes control of Bane and tries to tell them not to go that way.  However, he arrived too late as he ends up following them.

They arrive at a massive chamber where the waterway ends in a minature pool.  Boston arrives and tries to warn them about the approaching danger, but Doctor Polaris uses his power to lower the gate and inadvertently locks them in.  From out of the water, the zombies catch up and start to merge together into one massive pile.

It then becomes a massive creature as Scandal explains that this is the monster that her father’s loyal supporters sacrificed themselves to.  Chimera recognizes that its an aquatic creature and thus would be able to communicate with it.  However, she warns him that this beast is far more ancient that the undersea lifeforms he’s used to controlling.  Despite that, he attempts to command the massive being with his echolocation.  Unfortunately, the massive monster withstands Coombs’ attempt and ultimately eats him.

Suddenly, the creature dissolves itself as Scandal explains that it acquired a sacrifice and thus its no longer a threat to them.  However, the remaining undead army arrives to confront the group.  Fortunately, they get a timely rescue as Deadshot takes the zombies out with a series of headshots.  Later, Amanda and company are on their private plane flying back to America as Scandal informs her that the Amaurex Key is located in Louisiana.  More specifically, it’s currently residing in Maurepas Swamp.

Waller thanks Scandal for pointing them in the right direction, unaware of the bitter resentment she unintentionally left upon her.  Later, our group has arrived at Maurepas Swamp in order to find the currently holder of the Amaurex Key.  Because of its ability to make its dead possessor stronger, Issue 10 ends with our gang ultimately finding out who has it.  It turns out the be Solomon Grundy as Gentleman Ghost has returned and looks to use him to get back on our delinquents.

Issue 11 opens with Amanda and company trying to rationalize the situation that’s at hand.  Gentleman Ghost explains that he made a pact to Vandal Savage to guard the Amaurex Key.  In a similar fashion to the now-expired “Get Out Of Hell From Card”, the artifact currently resides within Grundy’s body.  As Deadman once again relinquishes control over Bane in order to properly combat James, Floyd hands Ms. Clay a handgun so that they, Harley and Waller can open fire on the undead behemoth.

However, the bullets have no effect on him as Gentleman Ghost scoffs at them for their action.  Fortunately, Boston comes in to engage him.  Scandal then tries to stab Solomon, but he withstands the strike before smacking her away and ripping off Ms. Clay’s arm.  Fortunately, her make-up lets her feel no pain from it as she regrows her limb while striking away.

While Bane steps in to engage Grundy, Amanda tells Doctor Polaris to join the fight.  However, he’s in the middle of clearing his head after he just took some pills.  Bane punches away while stating that he shouldn’t be taken lightly since he’s “broken Batman”.  Unfortunately for him, Solomon hears him just as he stops the opposing strikes.  As such, he picks Bane up and cripples him with the same signature technique.

With things looking very grim, Neal tells Amanda that there’s no nearby metal from him to us.  As such, he’s resorted to using the team’s private plane as he uses his power to slam the aircraft down onto Grundy as it explodes on impact.

Our squad manages to regroup on a task they believe is finally finished, but they get a big slice of bad news as Solomon survive the impact due to the increased strength he’s acquired from the Amaurex Key.  Once again, Gentleman Ghost laughs at the group’s feeble attempts before Deadman wisely shuts him up with a punch.  However, things are now looking grim for Waller and company as their options seem to have run out on them.

Fortunately, Deadshot comes up with a final plan for them to use.  He proceeds to inspire the team by reminding team that the Amaurx Key is forged and that they have all of the team members to pull their mission off.  As the team rushes in to execute the plan, Issue 11 ends with Amanda suddenly confronted by the Spectre who says that her time is up and that he’s come to claim her.

Issue 12 opens with Waller running for her life as the Spirit of Vengeance looks to make her pay for her lifelong actions.  As Boston continues to tussle with James, Harley gets Grundy’s attention as she informs him that she and her non-heroic teammates will overcome this impossible task “that should kill us” and take him down.  As such, Floyd initiates his plan by firing a few shots as Solomon in order to attract him towards the next part of the scheme.

Ms. Clay comes in and blindsides Grundy with a fierce punch before he recovers and manages to rip her arms off.  Not only does this not effect her because of her genetic make-up, but she has a surprise in store.  It turns out that Scandal was hiding within her as she delivers a successful slash to his chest.  This allows Doctor Polaris to use his powers to extract the Amaurex Key from Solomon’s body.  Thankfully, it has metallic properties for him to manipulate as he pulls the artifact out.  Suddenly, a mystical explosion emits from Grundy as the squad gets caught within the blast.

Meanwhile, Amanda slips in her attempt to flee from the Spectre.  Just then, she notices that he’s repeating the same intimidating message to her as she makes a realization.  Meanwhile, the squad find themselves in an astral-like plane following the supernatural explosion as they’re able to see Deadman without the need for special glasses.  Just then, Jason arrives and lets them know that they’ve successfully removed the Amaurex Key from its previous host and that they’re in a dimensional tear that’s between reality & the afterlife that will be fixed fairly soon.  With Solomon Grundy finally defeated, Gentleman Ghost is no longer bound to his earthbound deal and proceeds to take his leave with Boston following suit.  Meanwhile, Waller tells her team to stay away from Blood if they happen to find him.

As the otherworldly tear seals up, Blood tells the group to find the key so that he can prepare it for Amanda.  Scandal locates it as Ms. Clay hands it over to him.  Waller finally catches up as she says that the Spectre wasn’t actually chasing her.  It turns out that this was a ploy for her and the squad to get the key for him as she demands an explanation.  He says that he wanted to suppress his “involvement from the other realm”.  It turns out he wants to be separated from Etrigan once and for all.  With the key in his possession, he proceeds to summon the demon in order to set the final piece of his plan in motion.  However, Ms. Clay tells him that he doesn’t actually have the key as Etrigan appears and thanks her before taking his leave.

Afterwards, Amanda sees that Scandal has the Amaurex Key as she demands for her to hand it over.  However, Savage refuses.  She explains that she’s aware of Waller’s failing health and her desperate need to avoid an eternal afterlife where she endlessly pays for her lifelong sins.  Not only that, but she’s aware of Amanda selling her and her injured lover Knockout out to her father’s fierce followers.  As such, she wants her people to keep a protective eye on her girlfriend.  Waller promises her, but Scandal wants actual assurance so she decides to keep the Amaurex Key until Knockout is by her side again.  She then explains that this recent venture helped her figure out what to do with her life as she decides to actually take over her father’s empire in order to never be under the thumb of anyone ever again.  After she takes her leave, the series ends with Harley happily assuring Amanda that things should work out as Lawton feels that a bigger threat awaits them as they take their leave with the actual Spectre looking over them.

Suicide Squad-The Gang's All Here!.png

Out of the Suicide Squad tales that have been brought to either the small or big screen during the 2010s, this definitely feels the most hectic.  It’s mainly because this venture sees them traveling beyond the borders of both Gotham City and the United States.  Now that I’ve gone through the 12-part tale and summarized each chapter in my mind, it doesn’t feel as chaotic as I sort of felt upon first viewing.  It’s still a grand venture for Waller and company as she looks to cheat eternal suffering, yet it manages to evade being entirely confusing to follow.  The 12-part tale can essentially be broken up like this: After getting the series’ premise in the first issue and assembling our team in the second, Issue 3-5 has the squad acquired Scandal onto their team while fending off her father’s power-seeking followers (while killing a team member for stupid reasons).  Issue 6 sees them returning to New Orleans to find out where they need to go next, which then takes them to Boston for Issues 7 & 8 in order to find a spirit that’ll guide them towards their next destination while confronting as opposing apparition yet gaining another ally in the process (even axeing out another character via injury).  Issues 9 & 10 has them head to Paris in order to reach a underground Savage family chamber to hone in on the Amaruex Key’s location (while killing off another teammate) while 11 & 12 takes us back to Louisiana for a final confrontation and revelation.  In that vein, the plot flows pretty well for the various pieces it has to juggle throughout the tale.  In terms of standout characters, there’s a solid new addition in Ms. Clay due to her durable and flexible nature.  She proves her worth throughout the tale and makes the most of her panel time, especially as an original creation for this comic.  Also, Scandal was also a nice addition as a carry-over from the film.  I understand the hatred she has for her father due to what he did to her girlfriend and that she initially wants no part of his legacy as a result.  Only through Amanda’s promise of making sure that Knockout gets the medical protection she desperately needs does Savage join her team and help out in her personal quest.  By the time she’s introduced into this tale in Issue 3, she’s still somewhat vulnerable given her situation by the end of the film.  Knockout was at the center of her world and she allowed her to be her own person as they ventured together as partners & lovers.  She’s partially broken after her father put her girlfriend in critical condition and it started her feeling of being under the thumb of someone who’s in a higher position than her.  That carries over to here since she’s made alternations to her appearance with a somewhat light shade of blue in her outfit and even in a streak of her hair that she has grown a bit.  By the end, she finds out that yet another authority figure that she’s associated herself with is willing to sell her out.  Instead of being the victim again, she takes charge after acquiring the Amaurex Key and holds onto it so that Waller can finally work towards making Knockout completely healthy again while she finally embraces her family legacy by taking over her father’s empire in order to have a position of power for herself.  As for the rest of the cast, they mainly serve this story on a solid and effective level.  However, Coyote doesn’t last long due to him irritating Chimera to the point where he gets eaten.  At the very least, Jed was mutilated deep into the tale by an otherworldly creature while Bane was given a literal taste of his own medicine during the climax.  Other than that, the rest of the team each brings something unique to the table.  In terms of Jason Blood, I was initially confused by him living right out the gate despite his demise in “Justice League Dark”.  As the series progressed and I still had no answer, I started assuming that the events presented both here in in the film must take place before the aforementioned movie.  After his motivation is presented, him still being connected to Etrigan confirmed that to me in my eyes.  Because he fakes the fear of the Spectre over Amanda while staying as far in the background as he can, it’s something that you wouldn’t initially think of the first time you read through it.  The narrative can feel turbulent at times with new characters popping up, but it fits here since that should be the nature of a narrative involving a team of super criminals drafted into a woman’s secret agenda.  It sees how our current group reacts to what’s going on around them and how they deal with it.  Finally, let’s discuss the art work.  For the most part, it’s fairly competent throughout and presents its story in a nice manner.  There wasn’t much in terms of major gaffes (like Harley missing her white face paint at the end of Issue 8 or Deadshot having a different hair color and a shaved goatee throughout), but the art style doesn’t feel as polished as it should be.  It might just be a personal taste issue, but there’s a certain roughness that’s present here that doesn’t entirely work.  Other than that, it presents itself in an orderly manner.

Harley Quinn-A Fight For Control!

Overall, this is an extended companion piece that makes a fairly good case for its existence.  The characters are mainly competent throughout, the story is sprawling (though thankfully not epic and grand due to the nature of Suicide Squad tales) and the final confrontation & resolution leaves the tales on a comforting & satisfying note.  While the art work could have been a bit tighter, it’s still an entertaining follow-up to a very adult, very rough-&-tumble and very thrilling movie.  If you were able to see the film, then this will make for a nice continuation piece.  After all, it’ll soothe your Spectre-sized soul.

Next Time: An iconic ’90s tale has been given another shot at an animated adaptation.  Before the punches start flying against the seemingly-unstoppable creature, what venture did the Man of Steel go through?  We’ll set the stage for the climactic clash as we fly into “The Death Of Superman: Part 1”.

Suicide Squad (created by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru & John Ostrander) and all related characters are owned by DC Comics.

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