Eradicator and Cyborg Superman have broken into Belle Reve… That’s not good. That’s not good for Waller, the Squad, or the world…
I’m going to be honest with you, Suicide Squad #19 doesn’t knock it out of the park in the way that I’ve come to expect. For whatever reason, Rob Williams’ script doesn’t feel crisp in the beginning of this issue. By the end, things improve dramatically, but out of the gates, it is a little rough.
To be fair, there’s a lot going on here. Suicide Squad and Action Comics are having a crossover without there really being a full crossover. What I mean by that, is that the plot of these to comics are intersecting, but barely. Eradicator and Cyborg Superman and bouncing between the two books, but there’s not a full head-to-head involving both Superman and the Squad.
I can’t help but feel that limitations were set pertaining to what writers from one book can do with the characters/ plot from the other book, so these narratives are essentially squeaking by one another… And that’s a small let-down for me as I was expecting a full-blown battle between Superman and the Squad versus Zod, Eradicator, Cyborg Superman. Essentially, what we’re left with, is the reality that the team over at Action Comics wanted Zod, who is kicking it with Rob Williams in Suicide Squad, and needed to get him.
Outside of this conflict though, there’s still plenty for Waller to deal with. For one, the wraiths from the Black Vault are still active and posing a threat, plus Zod is hoping to unleash the remaining Kryptonians trapped in the Vault as well. Realizing she can’t win all of the battles at hand, Waller turns the Squad’s attention to what they can control.
This is when the issue appears to regain its focus and Williams’ writing improves. A number of the characters are given nice moments, especially Katana, Flag, and Harley. Despite their portrayals, a few characters missed the mark. Most notably, Amanda Waller. I blame Neil Edwards art for most of her missteps though, as her reactions are so over dramatic.
When all is said and done, everything makes a turn for the better… or perhaps the worst depending on how you look at it. While the quality of the writing and art improves, the ending of this issue is a bit tragic. There was a sense of melancholy when I finished the issue, and I’m eager to find out where Williams takes the story now.
The Art: Neil Edwards steps in to cover art duties for this issue. Overall, he’s a great artist. Most of the book looks stellar, but there are panels here and there that don’t resonate with me. His rendering of faces would have to be my biggest callout – especially when a character is yelling (as noted above with Waller). But seriously… If that’s all there is to complain about, then the work can’t be that bad. Right?
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Zod. Williams’ treatment of Zod continues to impress me. Considering past interpretations of the character have been so maniacal, it’s nice to see more depth in him. Having him turn on Eradicator and Cyborg Superman was a nice surprise, but also completely believable considering his reasoning. His best moment, in my opinion, was his reaction to losing his fellow Kryptonians in the Black Vault after Flag destroyed it… It’s one of the only times I can remember seeing a sense of humanity in Zod, and it made him relatable in a way that is similar to both Clark and Kara. He watched his world die, and I felt for him. He even surrenders. He literally gives in to Waller… Kudos Williams. You made me feel for a monster.
Katana. You all know I LOVE Katana! A big part of my love for her is due to her character as a person. She is so loyal, noble, and stoic. This issue captures those attributes, and puts them front and center as she risks her life to open the Black Vault without any hesitation. There’s no questioning. No need to amp herself up. She learns of the plan, and acts immediately.
A true hero. Ugh! Rob… What are you doing? Stab me in the heart! Flag sacrificing himself? Sure, I totally saw this coming (partially because of future solicitations), but I didn’t expect Waller to step in, take full responsibility, and ultimately choose to sacrifice herself instead… ONLY FOR FLAG TO KNOCK HER OUT AND DO IT ANYWAY FOR THE SAKE OF HER KIDS! This gave me the feels…
Harley. Harley didn’t really win me over in this issue, but her breaking at Flag’s apparent death is definitely a great turning point for her as a character. I wonder if this is where her “army attire” will come into play that was teased prior to Rebirth. I also wonder if she will break and fall back into complete insanity, or use this moment to strive for rehabilitation. Either way, I’m curious to see the outcome since Williams does such a stellar job when dealing with consequences.
Action Comics. Other than breaking Zod out of Belle Reve, there’s really no reason for this apparent crossover. To be fair, DC never stated it was a crossover, but the covers for the past two issues of Action Comics and Suicide Squad were misleading. They hyped me up to expect way more than we actually got.
Accountability for Zod. I’m going to be HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED, if Waller and the Squad do nothing to get Zod back, or at least stop him. She knows she has a responsibility to stop Zod since she was the one that tried to control him, and I’m going to find it completely unbelievable if she doesn’t take any action, especially since Flag sacrificed himself.
Script. I feel like I’m committing a crime by placing this in the “bad” breakdown, because I’d hardly call it bad. What I will say, is that we’ve all come to expect great writing from Williams, so when it’s just “good,” you notice. Again, not a grip or complaint, but I want to provide a fair assessment to what has also come before this issue.
- You’re curious to discover Zod’s outcome.
- You want to see the definition of a true hero.
- You agree that Rob Williams is a damn good writer.
Overall: Despite some minor missteps early in the issue, Williams turns everything around to give Suicide Squad #19 an incredible finish! I’m highly critical with the books I review, and Suicide Squad is no exception. My complaints here are nit-picks, and not much else. If you’ve been reading the title, continue to do so. If you haven’t given Rob Williams’ Suicide Squad a chance, then I urge you to do so.