“You said we had the worst squad ever. I agree. This is my upgrade. With this Suicide Squad I can remake the damn world”.

While there have been good Suicide Squad stories and bad Suicide Squad stories, they’ve never really lived up to the name. Every writer has their favourites, and key characters like Deadshot and Harley Quinn are now properties too valuable to kill off, so determining which of the cast won’t survive an allegedly suicidal mission has become the simple matter of picking out the newcomers. At first Tom Taylor seems to be following suit, but whips that certainty away at a stroke by introducing a whole new bunch of characters as seen on Bruno Redondo’s sample art, and also supplanting Amanda Waller with an altogether less sympathetic CEO. Taylor’s set-up further ensures there’s considerable bad blood between the original members and the newcomers, generating the title, and ensuring there’s a fair chance they’ll be at each other’s throats.

Most, but not all, of the new characters have relatively generic powers, but as seen by the early use of teleporter Wink, it’s the imagination behind their use that counts, and there’s plenty of that on the part of both creators. Taylor conceives the scenarios and Redondo draws the hell out of them. It’s revealed early on that in several ways not all is what readers might assume, and the remainder of the book is a combination of playing one side very carefully while instead attempting to work the other. Further revelations are gradual, with the logic behind them impeccable in questioning the ethics behind the Suicide Squad, and along the way we learn about the new team members and their motivations.

That’s the first half of Bad Blood. After that Taylor introduces more mysteries and switches around the entire theme and along the way provides some emotionally terrifying moments. He’d worked with Redondo before on Injustice, and knows his ability to supply consistently jaw-dropping action while still selling the emotional and quieter moments. The artwork not by Redondo is by Daniel Sampere, and that’s almost as good, with interesting layouts and poses.

Taylor’s Suicide Squad is a self-contained story that respects what’s gone before, at some stage shows all the characters we want to see, and throws in a couple of heavy-hitting guest stars besides. We’re given mystery, surprises and fun, along with the residual feeling that DC’s overcompensating for a historical lack of diversity among the superhero community. And there’s one hell of a shock before an ending that leaves a clean slate.