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Oh, Rob… At some point, I really will learn to trust you.

Remember when Suicide Squad was one of the most entertaining titles in Rebirth? After a questionable arc containing a number of decisions that can only be described as “head-scratchers,” I found myself becoming less enthusiastic about Suicide Squad. I don’t want to say I dreaded reading the book, but there were moments where each issue was worse than the previous issue, and that pattern did create some dread for future releases.

But here we are now, and it feels as if we never had a rough arc. Williams launches this arc with the same crisp writing that made Suicide Squad a successful book to begin with! The team and their characters are front and center here, and everything feels balanced! AKA: This isn’t the “Harley Quinn Show” anymore! Don’t get me wrong, I love Harley, but if I had to put up with another arc where she operated as the field leader, I was going to pull my hair out. The only question now, is who becomes the field leader?

As I mentioned above, the characters feel balanced in their presentation again, and Deadshot finally appears to get some of the attention he deserves. Meanwhile, Boomer is back to being Boomer, and the Croc/ Enchantress romance is still alive! Then there’s Katana who – more than anyone – appears to be in a place of transition, and I can only assume brilliant stories will come from this.

The story is also quite strong here, kicking off a new arc. When someone tries to assassinate Amanda Waller, the Squad is split up to investigate. Waller is clearly familiar with whoever is behind this, but in true form, she pretends to be clueless. One team of the Squad is sent into space to investigate a space station, while another is sent to investigate a separate facility. By the end of the issue, we’re teased with so much goodness that you’ll eagerly be waiting the next chapter in two weeks!

The Art: Barnaby Bagenda covers art for this issue, and while he delivers on the storytelling aspect, his pencils weren’t very good. There wasn’t much detail in his work, which I found highly noticeable with faces. I feel facial expressions greatly impact the ability of the script to succeed, and that finer detail was nowhere to be found. I’m certain it’s a matter of time, but if Bagenda can improve on the overall technique of his pencils, he could become a great artist!

Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.

Spoiler

The Good:

A Return to Form. I think we can all agree that the last arc felt a little… off. Nothing about the story felt true to the narrative we’ve come to expect from Rob Williams, and that made me nervous about the general direction of Suicide Squad. Well, put those fears aside because Williams is back to form with this issue! Everything seems to magically fall back in place. The characters are presented well, the tone and pacing of the narrative feel familiar (in a good way), and I had a wonderfully fun time reading the issue! Hell, Williams even has Killer Croc throw up again!

I Was Possessed. Waller makes a comment in this issue that she was possessed when she assigned Harley to lead the team. If I remember correctly, she assigned Harley to command before she was kidnapped by Karla and was possessed, so I have to wonder if this is a subtle *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* to signal that Harley’s tenure as field leader wasn’t his decision. It’s not uncommon for writers to sneak things like this into their script, and I’d already questioned whether that decision was forced by editorial simply because of Harley’s popularity. Also, Williams write so heavily into consequences, that throwing away something like this appears out of character for him when dealing with his own ideas. Either way, all is corrected now, and Katana is now the leader of the Squad… Which is what should have happened the moment Flag was killed.

The Deal. The one character that has surprisingly remained in the background since Rebirth, is Deadshot. Yes, I would agree with you if you argued that Deadshot has been the “lead” in Suicide Squad over the past few years, and I do believe the other characters deserve some spotlight… But considering Lawton’s such a good character, I’m surprised that he hasn’t played much of a role during this run. Learning that he’s now Waller’s personal bodyguard makes his story a little more interesting, and the promise of Lawton having more time with his daughter also excites me!

Argent. When I first saw the word, “Argent,” I thought of the former Teen Titan. I thought Williams was going to find a way to introduce the character, but nothing really made sense for her. It appears as though this “Argent” is completely separate. After seeing “Argent” on the bot, and then the space station, I thought Argent would be an organization… And it is… But it also happens to be a person alien as well. This will be fun to try and keep up with… Honestly, I am intrigued and am excited to learn more.

“King For A Day.” This is exciting! The reveal of King Faraday could signal some interesting developments for Suicide Squad. While he’s interesting enough as a character, I’m more intrigued by the potential people we could see that have been in association with him in the past. In previous continuity, he was responsible for Bronze Tiger and Nightshade joining the Squad, and he’s served as a lieutenant for Waller before. We should get some fun reveals through this short, I just hope that it gets more than two pages in the upcoming issues!

Dad or Time Travel? So… Is this Flag’s dad, or will there end up being some type of Battlestar Galactica time travel/ alternate universe thing going on? I’m 90% sure this is going to be a Rick Flag Sr. situation, and that could be really interesting! It also appears that he’s part of the original Suicide Squad, and one would assume that team operated during the 1960’s based on the equipment they’re using.  For now, I’m intrigued.

 

The Bad:

Déjà vu. The heart of this story feels too similar to what we experienced with Rustam. When you break it down: someone tries to kill Waller, she claims she doesn’t know the organization (Argent) but clearly does, we learn there’s another secret group out there consisting of a Captain Rick Flag, and they believe they were the first Suicide Squad…. See what I mean? Deja vu!  Now, clearly this Argent group would’ve come before Rustam, so perhaps there was an original Suicide Squad that was different than what Waller is doing now. We know from the previous issue that this Flag knows Waller, so I’m going to assume that based on the dating of these characters and their equipment, this version of Suicide Squad will be like the New 52’s Team 7 – a covert group of soldiers where Waller was actually a member of the team rather than a leader.

 

Recommended If:

  • You’re a fan of Suicide Squad’s run during Rebirth.
  • You weren’t crazy about the previous arc.
  • You don’t want to see Harley as the field leader.

Overall: Williams returns to form with this chapter of Suicide Squad, and I couldn’t be happier! This issue is high energy, a lot of fun, and contains quite a few laughs as well! It’s nice to see the characters represented so well after an arc of questionable plots and decisions, but this turn makes everything feel right again. And if this wasn’t exciting enough, Williams introduces us to a new mystery while teasing a number of characters!

SCORE: 7.5/10

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