(Reads issue and rubs hands together mischievously.) Oh… Oh, this is good. This is really, really good…
Have I ever told you that I’m a fan of Rob Williams? Because I am. A big fan. Out of all the writers I cover at the moment, I feel as though his approach to a narrative satisfies me the most. For years I’ve preached about books needing to acknowledge and deal with consequences. Most of the time, comics neglect consequences. Story arcs, and more importantly “events,” move from one story to the next with the slightest connection or carry forward, and it can become frustrating for readers who are looking to invest in a title. But Rob Williams… He always confronts consequences head on!
From his debut in Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1, Williams has been crafting a complex, multi-layered story that continues to grow and develop into new, more interesting stories – most of which are based from the consequences of the Squad’s actions. I know it might sound like a simple feat, but it has become so foreign that clearly it isn’t. I also know that some of you might be thinking, “Why is this dude going on and on about consequences? Just get to the actual meat of the issue!” I’m focusing on this because it has created weight – the good kind. Everything that happens has a purpose or meaning, and every action or reaction pays off a previous action, and will eventually be paid off by another action. It’s called playing the long game. Suicide Squad is playing the long game!
The solicitation of this issue promises a lot, and for the most part, it delivers. It’s not uncommon for covers or solicitations to serve as a type of “click bait” these days. They’ll say something shocking or edgy, but it will never really happen. That’s not the case here. Williams and DC keep their word in this example. Will it be permanent? That’s debatable. But for the moment, it’s just too damn good to not enjoy!
The fallout of Justice League vs Suicide Squad is still unfolding here, and it’s led Harcourt to take over the Squad, the death of Amanda Waller, Rustam creating anarchy around the world, potential threat of a spy within the Squad. This issue focuses on two things in particular: Who killed Waller? And who is the spy? Both of which are answered in this issue, and both are done incredibly well! While one answer might seem obvious, the other answer isn’t… at all. In fact, that “other answer” results in a pretty shocking cliff hanger that has left me desperate to get my hands on the next chapter!
I can’t give too many details of this issue without giving away spoilers, but know that the execution is nearly perfect as far as the narrative is concerned. Things are a ch-ch-changing for the Squad, and I can’t wait to see what else Williams has in-store! Here’s to hoping he sticks with Suicide Squad for years, because his run is easily the most gripping this title has been since Ostrander’s initial run!
The Art: Oh, you know how I feel about Romita’s art, so I’ll spare you from the excessive nagging. I’m not a fan of his style. You should be able to assess how you’ll feel about his work based on looking at the credits page alone. What I will say, is that as much as I dislike his technical approach, I do think he’s a good storyteller with his art… But sometimes, that just makes me wish I liked his stylization more.
As for the “back-up,” Barrows covers the art yet again. I think Barrows is an underrated artist overall, but these back-ups are hit or miss for him. When he rushes – and it often appears as though he does with Suicide Squad – his art falters. Even when he does falter though, his work is still better than other artists that work regularly.
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Deadshot did it! Yes, Deadshot killed Waller. It is the obvious choice, but I also can’t help but think that there’s still more to this (as in, Waller isn’t really dead, and she’s somehow working an angle with Deadshot). But regardless, for now, Deadshot is the killer, and the fact that he partnered with Rustam to make it happen so he can go free is pretty awesome. The credit, once again, goes to Williams for his execution though. Even when you’re certain there’s more to the story, you can’t help but believe what you’re reading because it’s done so well.
Hero. I’ve grown to really like Hack, and it’s because she wants to do what is right. Deep down, she’s a good person in nearly every way possible. The other villains on the Squad have their obvious flaws, but Hack appears to genuinely want what’s best. So to see Harley tell Hack that she’s a hero so directly was quite moving. It was said in a way that acknowledged that the Squad might do heroic things from time to time, but none of them will ever really be heroes… But Hack, she’s a hero. Good stuff!
The spy. I was certain that the mole was either Harcourt or Hack. I mean, let’s face it, they’re the easy picks because they’re the newest characters to this title. While Harcourt could still be a spy, the big reveal is that it’s actually Boomerang… and you find out as he kills Hack! Stick a knife in my heart! First off, it’s shocking enough that Boomerang is the black hat considering he’s a screw-up, but killing Hack!?!? Why? No! And this comes after the nice exchange about her saving him, and the hero bit with Harley… Oi… Williams, you’re killing me… And I love it!
Yeah… Aside from Romita’s art, I don’t really have much to complain about…
- You’ve enjoyed Suicide Squad thus far.
- Rob Williams – You should be reading his books.
- You like killers, spies, and mysteries
Overall: Suicide Squad is easily one of the best books being released by DC at the moment. If you haven’t been reading the title, I urge you go pick up the first trade, but do so knowing that that story is just scratching the surface. This issue continues so much of what’s been building for months/ weeks, the result feels incredibly satisfactory!
SCORE: 9.0/ 10