Guest writer John Ostrander gives us a look at how Deadshot's past has affected his present, via a chat with onetime confessor Revd Richard Craemer. It's a smart tale, showing us that while Floyd Lawton seems one of the saner Suicide Squad members, he's a deeply damaged soul.
As a fan of Ostrander's exemplary Suicide Squad series, in which Lawton was a major character, I'm delighted to see Deadshot and Craemer together again, but I'd rather see the rest of the Secret Six. We had a Deadshot mini a few years ago, and Lawton's had plenty of play in the DCU detailing his death wish, which comes into play here; I don't see any great reason for a solo issue. I know regular writer Gail Simone generously handed this assignment to Ostrander, I just wish someone at DC had given him the leeway to Go Create or, if he asked to focus on Deadshot, gently pushed him out of the comfort zone. This is the kind of character piece Ostrander excels at, but we've seen his take on Deadshot over many years. I want to see how he approaches characters new to him, such as Simone's own creations Jeannette, Scandal and the latest Ragdoll. Secret Six is a group book, so no matter who's writing, there should be interaction. I hope Ostrander gets more work from DC as his current health problems pass, and that he's given a chance to show newer readers just what he can do.
Jim Calafiore is the other name new to the book this issue. His illustrations tell the story with style, always focusing on the dramatic moment, whether it's character or violence based.
I've been a big booster of colourist Jason Wright, but his choices this issue tend too much towards the dark for my liking. We're in Gotham, and the story is mostly set at night or in grubby buildings, but entirely naturalistic colouring doesn't make for the best-looking book. There's a superb scene in which Deadshot chats to his hideous parents but the heavy blues hide the facial expressions. Even when a lightning bolt changes the tones, it doesn't really illuminate. Given we're at a Wayne ball (surprise surprise, robbers come a-calling) there's every excuse for happier hues - lanterns, spotlights, French windows with bats crashing through them . . .
Regular cover artist Daniel LuVisi's portrait of Deadshot is stunning, with character oozing through the blank mask, juggled bullets and gun graffiti.
All in all, a decent issue but one that's filler when it could be far more.