After being locked up in Belle Reve, Defacer, known for, you guessed it, defacing property, gains the attention of King Shark (aka, Nanaue). However, we learn that for Amanda Waller to keep King Shark imprisoned on land, she made a deal with Nanaue’s father, the God of Sharks, to let him return to the ocean occasionally. But Director Waller has no way of making sure Nanaue returns. That’s where Defacer comes in. If Nanaue doesn’t return, Waller will trigger the bomb in Defacer’s head. But Naunaue’s father has a surprise for the duo. So, at the behest of the God of Sharks, King Shark and Defacer are swept into a mystical tournament for totemic animal spirits. Suicide Squad: King Shark #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Tim Seeley, with art by Scott Kolins, colors by John Kalisz, and letters by Wes Abbott.
Given that the comic starts with Defacer, I was concerned that King Shark wouldn’t be the main player in this comic, despite being the titular character. But thankfully, there’s no need to be concerned. While Defacer is definitely an important player, and we learn a decent amount about her from the start, this comic is nevertheless a good introduction to the Suicide Squad’s anthropomorphic shark man.
However, Suicide Squad: King Shark #1 feels a bit like a rocky start. Primarily because the presence of Defacer in Belle Reve is confusing. The comic makes it sound like she was sent to Belle Reve with the rest of the Suicide Squad for vandalism, specifically graffiti. Given the extremes the other well-known inmates have gone to to get stuck in this place, it’s an odd justification. Similarly, it’s never understood why King Shark cares about Defacer. They don’t seem to have a history, so it only adds to the rocky foundation.
While the start of this story is a bit shaky, the artwork is enjoyable. The characters are emotive and add on some fun quips, and you get plenty of entertainment. Kalisz’s colors only enhance the artwork and tones of each panel. Foreboding panels are bathed in reds and purples, especially when Waller is around, and the ocean is a motley of blues. I particularly like the use of hatched shading; it creates a scratchy, rough around the edges look that works well for the characters.
Abbot’s letter work never detracts from the action or overshadows the characters. The letters perfectly capture the characters with King Shark’s jagged speech bubbles, and the way Defacer’s dialogue font gets smaller when she mumbles.
Overall, Suicide Squad: King Shark #1’s start feels a little shaky. It’s hard to imagine Defacer in Belle Reve, and her relationship with King Shark is very unclear. However, the artwork is fun, and the next few issues might just turn all this criticism around on its head. If future issues delve more into the background of King Shark, I’ll definitely be back for more.
Suicide Squad: King Shark #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Suicide Squad: King Shark #1
Suicide Squad: King Shark #1’s start feels a little shaky. It’s hard to imagine Defacer in Belle Reve, and her relationship with King Shark is very unclear. However, the artwork is fun, and the next few issues might just turn all this criticism around on its head. If future issues delve more into the background of King Shark, I’ll definitely be back for more.