Suicide Squad 1: Trial by Fire

suicide squad volume 1 trial by fire cover trade paperback tpb review
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Interesting concept which was original at the time

Sometimes drags

Comic Info

Comic Name:   Suicide Squad (Volume 1)/Secret Origins (Volume 2)

Publisher:   DC Comics

Writer:   John Ostrander

Artist:   Luke McDonnell/Bob Lewis/Karl Kesel/Dave Hunt

# of Issues:   9

Release Date:   2015

suicide squad #1 cover team

Suicide Squad (1) #1

Reprints Secret Origins (2) #14 and Suicide Squad (1) #1-8 (May 1987-December 1987). Amanda Waller has assembled one of the meanest team of “heroes”.  Calling them Task Force X, Task Force X is also known as the Suicide Squad because all the members are expendable and the government will take no ownership of them if they fail.  Under the leadership of Rick Flag, Task Force X is assigned the missions that no other team will do…and with a group of villains at their core, Task Force X could either become the heroes they despise or find a means to escape the terms of their “parole”.

Written by John Ostrander, Suicide Squad Volume 1: Trial by Fire picks up after the events of the DC “event series” Legends.  Collecting the retelling of Suicide Squad’s origin in Secret Origins (2) #14 (May 1987) and the first eight issues of the series, the collection features art by Luke McDonnell, Bob Lewis, Karl Kesel, and Dave Hunt.

With their own relaunched stand-alone series in the New 52 and the 2016 movie, interest in Suicide Squad returned, and with it the original series which launched the “new” look for the old team. The issues collected show how Suicide Squad went from a typical World War II comic to a “villains as heroes” story that kind of revolutionized the storytelling.

The idea of heroes as villains is pretty common place now, but it was relatively a new thing in when Suicide Squad was introduced in Legends #3 (January 1987).  The model was tweaked and modified over the years and led to teams like the Thunderbolts at Marvel Comics.  Here, you have a team at its basic level.  Unlike something like the Thunderbolts, Suicide Squad doesn’t seem to care if they are viewed as heroes or villains and have no master plan.

suicide squad #6 cover deadshot enchantress

Suicide Squad (1) #6

The issues are rather dense and feel heavy as you read through them. The first volume contains a lot of classic ’80s Cold War espionage with the Suicide Squad going up against the USSR and Middle East terrorists.  The basic missions in the story have enough twists and turns to keep it interesting, but it doesn’t have quite the level of “fun” that could be written into the story (likewise current incarnations have too much fun and not enough mission).

The characters of Suicide Squad are the selling point. It is always a really fluid team and it seems even more fluid here.  Characters can get killed or captured and are immediately replaced.  The actual staffing of the team doesn’t make much sense (and never has) since having a team of supervillains is a bad idea regardless if they are expendable and the villains picked for the team are either impractical or just out-and-out dangerous for team mission.

Suicide Squad is a fun read though the eight issues seem to drag at points. The series is a good set-up for the movie though the team make-up has little resemblance to the team you’ll find in the movie.  It is also a rather timely book (with the Cold War references) so younger readers might not understand the set-ups involved in the book.  Suicide Squad 1:  Trial by Fire is followed by Suicide Squad 2:  The Nightshade Odyssey.

Related Links:

Suicide Squad 1:  Kicked in the Teeth

Suicide Squad 2:  Basilisk Rising

Suicide Squad (2016)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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