Deadshot might be the greatest marksman in DC Comics, but when the Suicide Squad is in a pinch, Harley doesn’t hesitate to rip him off.
Spoilers below for Suicide Squad #10!
Harley Quinn just took on Deadshot’s gimmick in the newest issue of Suicide Squad. The title’s Squad is where the most hardened criminal supervillains of DC Comics go to end their sentences early, one way or another. The latest press-ganged casualty to the program is Deadshot, who died last issue, leaving his teammates shocked and under enemy fire. When push came to shove, Harley decided to cosplay her fallen comrade and become the team’s Deadshot to save them.
The newest Suicide Squad series comes from writer Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us) and artist Bruno Redondo (Injustice) with color artist Adriano Lucas (Death Metal: Robin King) and letterer Wes Abbott (WildCats). The current story has reloaded Task Force X with captured ecoterrorists the Revolutionaries, who were used by the Suicide Squad’s mirthless new handler Lok to act against their own political agenda. Naturally, the setup quickly imploded, leading to veteran Squad members Harley Quinn, Deadshot (aka Floyd Lawton), and Zebra Man teaming up with the Revolutionaries to hunt down the power behind the Suicide Squad’s overhaul. When they confronted the mastermind, Deadshot realized it was a trap, then warned the team they’d been tricked at the cost of his life.
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In issue 10, that leaves the new Suicide Squad in the villain’s stronghold, cornered, and outgunned. Harley Quinn, holding Lawton’s body, takes a bizarre but decisive tactic: she pulls a Deadshot mask out of her belt, puts it on, and then charges guns-blazing through the crowd. When the Suicide Squad makes their escape, Harley has to be dragged away from Lawton’s body rather than die trying to leave with him. It’s only when she’s in their escape jet and safe that she takes the mask off again.
Deadshot is a crucial asset to the Suicide Squad because of his near-superhuman marksmanship. Harley Quinn has superpowers of her own but normally fights with a hammer rather than a pair of pistols. But if there was any practical reason to put on the mask, it’s not clear. There doesn’t seem to be any targeting gear in the mask Harley’s wearing; the eyeholes are empty, and Deadshot’s scope was still on his head. Also of note is the fact that she didn’t get the mask off Deadshot’s body; she pulled it out of a pouch on her belt. Deadshot’s been going bare-faced for almost the entirety of the 2019 Suicide Squad series, but put on the white mask for a single page of issue 7. One possibility is that she got it from him at the start of issue 8 to commemorate their final mission together.
The move raises questions that the moment is far too quick to answer. Did Deadshot give Harley Quinn his mask? Did she steal it? Or did Harley just commission her own copy for reasons too mysterious to speculate on? Either way, wearing it makes her the Suicide Squad’s sharpshooter in the nick of time. It’s a perfect Harley move: bizarre but sentimental, a showy tribute to a fallen friend.
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