Oh boy… I’m 100% positive that Romita’s art is going to skew my judgement of this book… Suicide Squad #11 is the first issue following the epilogue to Justice League vs Suicide Squad. For the most part, it’s business as usual for the Squad. For Amanda Waller, however, it’s anything but… And that makes this issue very intriguing.
“Burning Down the House”
Rustam is still at large, and it quickly becomes clear that he’s working towards something big. What exactly? That remains to be seen. You’d think an x-factor like him would be the Squad’s highest priority, but he’s not. Instead, the Squad is being sent around the world to raid various facilities investigating the Russian Suicide Squad they encountered during “The Black Vault.” Why would Amanda Waller not make Rustam a priority? Well, that’s the thing, Waller isn’t calling the shots at the moment.
In the aftermath of Justice League vs Suicide Squad, Waller has been temporarily suspended from leading Task Force X. That’s right, “the Wall” hit a wall called “administrative leave.” In her absence, Harcourt has stepped up to call the shots, and you can’t help but wonder if this might have been a plan of hers since the beginning. Her introduction into this title, as well as her unwarranted lingering seems a little suspicious at this point.
Just a few pages in, I realized this issue was going to be heavy with exposition. I’m typically a stickler with exposition, but this instance balances it decently, and surrounds with character development/ set-up. Rather than jump directly into a new arc, Williams is giving readers a chance to reassess the gameboard. So much has happened since Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 till now, that it’s easy to forget all the plot threads that were paused for Justice League vs Suicide Squad. Which is pretty much William’s point in this issue. Suicide Squad #11 is basically one big “don’t forget.”
Strategically placing reminders about the Russian Squad, Harcourt, Rustam, Hack, and Zod, the potential conflicts begin to pile up. With everything highlighted in one single issue, you feel the pressure of all of it, and know, that at some point, it will break causing all hell to break loose. But instead of complete and utter chaos, Williams decided to treat us, and the Squad, with a small breather.
The support story for this issue isn’t so much of a support story, as it is a continuation of the main story. What I mean by that, is Romita could have easily carried his art all the way through, and they could have cut the title and credits, and just let this issue exist as one story. Readers wouldn’t have known any better. Since I’m not a fan of Romita’s art though, I’m glad it was broken up.
Having been run ragged, moving from base to base all over the world in hopes of finding the Russian squad, Flag makes an executive decision for the team to take shore leave. Thus, providing us with some nice character moments from the main three: Harley, Deadshot, and Boomerang – all of which are great moments in their own respect.
The moments for each character are brief, so I don’t want to spoil them. They are well written and special though. The character that will be talked about the most though, is Waller. She has the largest role in the support story, and she definitely doesn’t disappoint… Or perhaps I should say, “Life Outside” doesn’t disappoint.
The Art: Romita carries art for the first story, and as I’ve mentioned a number of times, I’m not a fan. I respect him, and I respect his work, but the aesthetic isn’t what I enjoy. His characters always look squared off and puffy. The characters barely have any contour or shape, and his faces are often a mess. I’m trying to look past my personal preferences concerning the art, but it’s pretty hard to do that when you’ve got panels that look like this:
Barrows steps in for the back-up story. A welcome replacement to Romita, I will admit that this isn’t Barrow’s best work. The art looked rushed, and considering he’s already doing art for another title with double shipping, this should come as no surprise. I still found it to be a much better result than Romita though…
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
The Good: Status quo. I’m happy to move past Justice League vs Suicide Squad. I enjoy what Rob Williams was doing in this title more than I did that “event,” so I view this as a step in the right direction. The addition of Rustam is a welcomed layer though, as well as the actual consequences of Justice League vs Suicide Squad – more threads and characters for Williams to juggle, but I know he’ll do so with ease and great execution.
Waller. Ok, here’s the deal. I’m certain she’s not going to die. I’m pretty sure this is Harley (or perhaps someone else), and the whole “Don’t miss” bit means, “Don’t miss and end up hitting my heart.” Waller is clearly working an angle here, but at this point, I have no clue what she’s up to.
The Bad: Romita. I’ve said this numerous times, so I won’t harp on it… but I wish there were a different artist. But until then, here’s so more Romita art.
Shopping. What was this about? I know it’s supposed to be funny, but this joke didn’t land with me. It just seemed… odd.
Why Blackgate? How many times has Blackgate been bombed so the prisoners could be liberated? I’d stop sending people there after a while. Consequently, I didn’t see any major (or semi-major) rogues fleeing, so now I’m really scratching my head. Why not use some other, random prison?
- You’re a fan of John Romita Jr
- You’re ready to get back to the status quo
- You like it when Waller shocks you
- You’re a fan of comic book issues that are titled after classic rock songs. (This arc will apparently feature Talking Heads)
Overall: Suicide Squad #11 isn’t the best issue, but what Williams accomplishes is needed. All of the reintroductions to various plots help refocus the narrative, while the character spotlights give us, the readers, a chance to breathe before jumping into the chaos and action again. The cliff hanger at the end though, that could leave people talking for years to come!