A Squad of His Own

When I saw The Suicide Squad, I really wasn’t too impressed and outside of the scene with John Cena in his underwear, I definitely wasn’t impressed with Peacemaker. The idea of him getting his own series definitely seemed questionable. Next thing I knew, the day was here to watch the new show on HBO Max and I found out they actually released the first three of the eight episodes all at once. I’m used to two episodes being dropped the first week, but I think this is the first that I have seen three. It’s a good thing they did too because it really took that long for the series to get it’s footing. The earlier parts of the first episode had me ready to give up on the show, especially the intro which is probably the worst intro I’ve ever seen. By the third episode, it does get to be watchable though the forced humor does get pretty cringe-worthy. I would also love to see more serious takes on the characters too. Adding some humor is one thing but when the characters become a joke and irredeemable as potential drama characters, you’re just throwing them away. Will I watch the rest? Probably. From what I’ve seen so far though, this will probably end up near the bottom of my ranking of all the recent (streamed and network) super-hero TV shows.

Spoiler Alert

When the show first starts, Peacemaker is just being released from the hospital. It turns out that after the end of The Suicide Squad, despite what happened to him, the only long term damage he received was to his clavicle. This ends up being a running gag through the episodes as he keeps impacting that side of his body. He exits the hospital with a paranoid urgency due to him not wanting to end up under Amanda Waller’s rule again. He forgot that he was chipped and traceable from being in the Suicide Squad and get pulled into a new team that is technically under Waller but managed by someone else.

Before we get into the later part of the episodes, let’s not forget about the intro. It’s a dance routine that is very awkward, something you would expect from a group of people who have never taken a dance lesson in their life. It’s actually painful to watch. I was hoping this was a joke for the first episode but it was back each time after that. It’s a definite case of trying too hard to be funny.

Two of the people working with Peacemaker had helped the Suicide Squad after Amanda was knocked out in the movie. It’s revealed that the woman who actually knocked her out was taken away and is therefore not in the show with them. The leader of the group is Clemson Murn, a character who seems to have been made just for the series. There is a new person to everyone else on the team as well. She is a black woman in a same sex relationship who doesn’t seem to really have the background to be on the team. It’s revealed to the viewers later that she is actually Amanda Waller’s daughter and a mole for her in the group.

Not on the group but always around Peacemaker is Vigilante. I used to like reading the Vigilante comic series and this is not the character I enjoyed. He’s a kid who thinks that Vigilante is Peacemaker’s BFF. He is quickly corrected that that role goes to Eagley, Peacemaker’s eagle sidekick. They seem to be trying to turn Vigilante into a version of Deadpool too in the quirky way he acts and talks around people. If that’s what they were going for, they failed. The team reluctantly accepts his presence as he seems like he’s going to tag around with Peacemaker like a lost puppy.

Back to the actual story. With the first episode not being great, it seemed that the way they had to keep people around is to put John Cena in his underwear again when he hooks up with a girl he meets. The girl ends up being a meta and they end up battling with Peacemaker in his underwear the whole time. I’ve actually wondered if the bulge in those briefs is actually him or something done up in the shorts to look like that. The meta may or may not be a “butterfly”, the reason that the team was brought together. There is a definite one that they track down and we find out that Peacemaker can’t make the kills he needs to so Vigilante jumps in and does it with no problem. One does get away and they track him down and eventually beat him, blowing his face off. A little after that, some bug creature flies off out of the body while Peacemaker and Vigilante just watch it. I have no clue why they didn’t even try to stop it. Jump to a monitor board where you find out there are tons of them around the world. I’m not sure how a big storyline is going to be carried out in 8 episodes since it took 3 of them to get this far. Something of this magnitude is like Buffy stopping the vampires which went 7 network seasons.

Also introduced as a bodyguard for the guy hosting one of the butterflies is Judomaster. Judomaster was a Charlton Comics character just like Peacemaker before the characters were acquired by DC Comics. The thing is that this Judomaster seems to be a kid which would make him more like Tiger, Judomaster’s sidekick. We’ll have to see what they actually do with him. Although we’ll probably never see him, Peacemaker mentions Doll Man in one episode who was an old Quality Comics character that DC also acquired.

I’m not sure what to expect of the show. It’s almost half way through the season already and had just finally laid out the concept of what’s going on. I hope things improve and the comedy comes a little more naturally. If it doesn’t improve, I hope they at least give us more of John Cena in his underwear.

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