I Appear to Have Been Reprinted
I have been thrilled and delighted to see the work John Ostrander, Luke McDonnell and I did on the Suicide Squad is finally seeing some DC love. Last year a volume collecting the first eight issues of our run was released and then, just in time for Christmas, they released Suicide Squad Volume 2: The Nightshade Odyssey. A third volume is scheduled for this spring so there will be plenty of pure fun for the curious customer as the film version approaches its August release.
When the second volume was being solicited, I wrote about it as part of my semi-monthly column over at Westfield Comics. Since the book covered a lot of ground, I talked about how the volume starts off with a tie-in to the Millennium weekly event and how issue #13 crossed over with Justice League International. The Doom Patrol/Suicide Squad Special was also included for completeness although it featured a team totally unrelated to the monthly (which speaks to the strength of the premise).
The book actually concludes with issues 14-16, the actual odyssey portion. In my column, I noted: “For a full accounting of her origin, we spotlighted Nightshade in Secret Origins #28, by me and Rob Liefeld, but DC saw fit not to include it here.”
Imagine my surprise then, when yesterday’s mail brought me a check, compensating me for that very story. Apparently, the solicitation copy was wrong and the book, a whopping 296 pages. A quick check online proved that yes, my origin tale is included. Current policy, it seems, is that comp copies are sent to contributors based on the percentage of the book using their material. My 19 pages didn’t make the cut so I had no idea.
While looking to confirm all this, I found some nice comments about my part of the book. One Amazon reviewer wrote, “Next we get the Nightshade origin from Secret Origin #28. Suicide Squad editor Robert Greenberger and Rob Liefeld pencils. This is a nice little prequel to the three part ‘Nightshade Odyssey’ which close out the volume from Suicide Squad #14 to #16. While most of Ostrander stories take place in a gritty politically charged world this is a fun departure by exploring this wild fantasy world of Nightshade’s origin.”
Another said, “Thankfully the origin of Nightshade is the next issue and it is my favorite part of the book. Until I read this story I didn’t think much of the character but man that is one incredible tale.”
The story was not singled out at Goodreads, but the overall opinion is positive for the collection.
My harshest criticism can be found at Batman News’ review where they write, “Nightshade gets the spotlight as we enter the home stretch, with her origin recounted by Robert Greenberger with pencils by Rob Liefeld hey wait, where are you going? Come back.
“His work here really isn’t that bad. Everything is relatively on-model, and he’s even capable of drawing feet. Feet!
“Narratively speaking, the writing is uneven. Father Richard Craemer, the chaplain of Belle Reve who first appeared back in issue #10, has a nice speech on faith that’s surprisingly even-handed, and once the pieces come together to lead up to the titular odyssey, things start getting pretty exciting.
“Unfortunately, Eve Eden’s recounting of her origin is really clumsy and clunky. It’s heavy on exposition, and even for a backstory involving magical kingdoms and gigantic mushrooms it’s pretty corny.”
Corny yes, but faithful to the Charlton Comics origin from the 1960s as presented David A. Kaler and Steve Ditko.
All in all, though, I am rather thrilled to see my editorial work receive nice words since it means the material is aging well.
It’s also odd that considering I wrote extremely few comic stories during my DC days, two of them were reprinted last year. The other was a Robin solo story illustrated by Norm Breyfogle and including in the mammoth Legends of the Dark Knight – Norm Breyfogle Vol. 1. It ash the virtue of being based on something from my high school days and was the only solo Jason Todd story ever produced before his “death”.