Publisher: DC Comics
Written By: Tony Bedard, Mark Russell
Art By: Ben Caldwell, Mark Morales, Jeremy Lawson, Howard Portar, Steve Bucellato
Letter’s By: Troy N Dave, Dave Sharpe
The final DC/Hanna-Barbera Crossover features everyone’s favorite Task Force teaming up with a bunch of crazy talking animals in Suicide Squad/Banana Splits #1. Does the book mark the X or is this title committing literary suicide? Lets find out.
The issue starts out with the Banana Splits being pulled over and being mistaken for rouge metahumans. This leads to the group being attacked and imprisoned by authorities and imprisoned in Belle Reeve. Meanwhile Waller is having trouble getting in contact with all of the members of the Suicide Squad on their latest mission and decides she needs individuals who are even more disposable than her existing team to help extract them from their current situation. This of course leads to the poor Banana Splits being thrown from the oven and into the fire as they have to save and team-up with the Suicide Squad to stop an army of evil robotic children.
The back-up strip is the first installment of The Snagglepuss chronicles which starts which portrays the character as a gay southern playwright in the fifties fighting McCarthyism as best he can. The initial chapter starts out with Snagg in Washington D.C. where he confronts the NSC and manages to successfully ruffle their feathers. Later on he is confronted by a young Auggie Doggie who says Snagglepuss is his hero and how he hopes to be like him some day. This leads Snagg to tell the young pup of his greatest failure as an artists which leads Auggie to ask him why he tries so hard with Snagglepuss replying “Son. In life you do not fight battle because you expect to win, you fight them merely because they need to be fought.”
In terms of story, the main strip is fairly straightforward and well done, it is quirky, zany, fast-paced and action packed as you would expect a story about the Squad to be. There is also some no so subtle and much needed commentary on profiling individuals based on appearance. The back-up Snagglepuss script is what really grabs the reader the most despite its short length. Like with Russell’s other work takes a past period of time and uses a problem in the story that is timely and relevant to the modern day as well. His dialogue is intelligent and witty and really has you rooting from Snagglepuss from the start. It also does a solid job of setting the stage for the upcoming ongoing comic.
In terms of art, while Caldwell’s style is a bit more cartoony than one would usually expect in a Suicide Squad story it fits the tone of this particular story quite well, as do Lawson’s colors. Howard Portar’s art continues to be excellent giving the Snagglepuss Chronicles short a look that is a nice balance between realistic and cartoonish. This style helps make the concept of sentient cartoon animals living side by side with humans feel natural and believable and also helps add more gravitas and depth to the story. While Buccellato’s colors compliment the work quite well.
Overall Suicide Squad/Banana Splits Special #1 is a genuinely entertaining read with a spectacular back-up strip. The humor in the book is smart and both stories themes are relevant to the modern day. If you are a fan of either the Squad or Snagglepuss the book is most definitely worth picking up!