The conclusion to Suicide Squad’s “Burning Down the House” is exactly what I was hoping for! If you’ve been following the story, you’re in for a satisfying conclusion! I always praise Williams for his ability to craft long-form stories, and he has yet to disappoint me! I want to see him on Suicide Squad for a while, but if DC wises up and decides to pull Hitch from Justice League, Williams needs to be their first choice to step in! The guy is simply amazing!
I’ve spent months praising Williams for building complex, intricate stories, and for making consequences an active part of his narrative. It’s no surprise that those elements continue here, but we are also treated to a satisfying conclusion – something that appears to escape many writers in comics these days. Going into this issue, I felt that two things needed to happen. One: Rustam needed to be dealt with in a way that felt final. Not necessarily death, but something had more of a finish than, “He got away.” Second: Waller’s situation needed to be explained. I’m happy to say that both of those elements are handled quite well.
I can’t completely discuss the issue without giving away spoilers, so most of my commentary will be featured in the breakdowns. What I will say, is that while I found this conclusion to be quite satisfying, I can also understand how some people might find it “obvious.” If I’m being completely honest, I actually agree. I’ve been saying since day one that Waller wasn’t really dead, and we found that to be true in the last issue. I also felt certain who pulled the trigger to kill her as well… Let’s be honest, it’s not hard to deduct. Despite these predictable moments, Williams still managed to incorporate details and insight that weren’t expected, felt fresh, and continues to keep me invested in Suicide Squad.
The Art: Romita’s art appears to take a step back in this issue compared to his previous two issues as far as technicality is concerned. I also openly admit that my dislike for his work is strictly because I’m not a fan of his stylization. There are some incredibly gruesome panels though, and it’s one of the first times I’ve felt an emotional reaction from his work, even if it was a reaction of, “Oh $#!%!”
Barrows carries art duties for the back half of the book, and as expected, does a much better job than Romita in my opinion. There’s a realism to his work – even when rushed – as well as a tone and texture from his shading that serves Suicide Squad well.
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Katana is a woman of her word. In a previous issue, Katana promised to make Deadshot pay for killing Waller. In this issue, she makes good on her promise when she chops off Deadshot’s left arm! I didn’t see this coming at all, and it happens early in the issue before any explanations take place, so right out of the gate, we get a sense that anything can happen. From a character aspect, I also enjoy Katana’s stance on this. Katana has made it clear she doesn’t care for Waller – and in some ways detests her – yet she feels the need to seek out revenge for Waller. This might confuse some readers who don’t know or understand Katana well, but you have to understand that Katana doesn’t react out of loyalty to Waller… She does this out of loyalty to being loyal. For her, it’s about honor. She has a job and responsibility that she promised to uphold, so that’s what she does. This is an example of subtlety that Williams infuses into all of his characters, but also proves his understanding of the people he’s writing.
Deadshot is a Killer. As we all expected, Deadshot really is the one who shot Waller, but also as we expected, it was planned by Waller herself. The only thing that kept this from feeling completely obvious, is that Williams wrote it in a way that it was clear that Deadshot was playing his odds every step of the way, and would react as needed to, to ensure he landed on the winning side. He acted out Waller’s wishes, but he had his own agenda, and made sure he could secure a legitimate loyalty with Rustam if needed.
Waller. Yes, I will be the first to admit that Waller’s plan is one hell of a stretch… BUT, Williams crafted it in a way that it could happen. It’s the details. She knew she would actually need to die to convince people she was dead, and to do that, she would need a witch.
She also knew Rustam well enough that she expected he would seek vengeance in certain ways, and she planned for those events to happen. She probably even planned for Rustam to take even more actions – something that Williams might circle back to in the future. But beyond that, she controlled Rustam indirectly by using Deadshot as a pawn.
The best part though, is how she maliciously used this opportunity to take out the people who had been standing in her way… This woman is evil.
A moment of happiness. Every now and then – even in a book like Suicide Squad – we need a little happiness. I personally think Floyd is most interesting when his family is involved, so I’ll happily take another dose of him with his daughter.
Looking to the future. There’s a lot to look forward to! It’s clear that Williams isn’t finished with the Boomerang/ Hack murder plot, and I’m super happy to see that’s the case. He’s also continuing to pull elements from earlier in his run, as the use of Zod on Task Force X is permitted (something you knew would happen if you keep up with future solicitations). The biggest surprise had to be the inclusion of Lex Luthor though! I can’t wait to see what Williams does with such a rich character as Lex!
As I stated above, there are some elements that might turn some readers off. I would assume that most people would find the story predictable, because in many ways it is. I found great satisfaction in the “How” element of the story though, and that was more than enough to entertain me, because most writers gloss right over these types of details in comics these days. Aside from that, there’s an awkward moment that connects to the ridiculous cover, and then there’s just Romita’s art in general…
- You like well thought stories.
- You prefer narratives where character development highly impacts the plot.
- Because it’s damn good.
Overall: I’m a huge fan of Suicide Squad, and an even bigger fan of Rob Williams! He consistently delivers well thought stories, and I want to hug him because he carries character arcs and progression from one story to the next. If you’re looking for a book you can invest in, then Suicide Squad is definitely one that will deliver. I’d be willing to bet Williams has a three to five year plan, and I sincerely hope I get to witness his full story unfold!