[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Rob Williams
Artists: John Romita Jr. and Eddy Barrows
Inkers: Richard Friend and Eber Ferreira
Rustam is on the loose. Waller is trying to find him since he is clearly dangerous AND he threatened her kids. As you can imagine, she is not pleased. While she is on “operational leave,” Harcourt is in change. She sends Task Force X to Tibet to hunt for the Annihilation Brigade, AKA the Russian Suicide Squad. It turns out that Hack has some crazy skills and she may not be playing for the same team as Harcourt. The team whines and complains that the whole saving the world thing earned them some time off. Somehow, Flag gets Harcourt to agree.
The back story is about that night off. Waller, drunk and out of control, breaks into Zod’s cell and clearly has bad intentions. Harcourt tosses her and she wanders the streets of New Orleans, where it just so happens, the team is blowing off steam. Then…Well, no way. NO way you can know that spoiler.
Rob Williams knows how to turn a phrase. Check this out…
“Behold the dark lord of the intelligence world. Amanda Waller, chess master, a Queen Bitch even Bowie wouldn’t dare sing about.”
Pretty spot on perfect. In the hands of Williams, Waller has become the most honest character in the DC Universe. What!? Yes, I know, it seems disingenuous to say a woman who lies and kills and commands a pack of manics is honest, but she tells you up front she is a liar, killer, and that she has a pack of manics under her control. She does it because someone has to. The world is a scary place and the DC Universe is even scarier. Someone has to do the dirty work. I know it can’t be Bruce. It can’t be Diana or Clark. Only Amanda Waller has the guts to do what needs to be done. It makes you root for her at the same time you hope someone tells her to stop. It is confusing which is exactly what makes it excellent. Reality meet comic books.
J.R. Jr., welcome to the team. Who can follow up a legend like Jim Lee? Right, a legend like John Romita Jr. The first page where we see the whole team descending into Tibet is a poster worth hanging. Every member of the team is involved in some sort of carnage all in one amazing page. Romita Jr. is the perfect fit for this more realistic turn the comic has taken. There is one panel where Katana and Flag are trying to stop a guy do something they do not want him to do. Every single detail is there so we feel like we are right there with them. When Lawton bursts in, it almost works like a jump scene in a horror movie. I hope he hangs around for a while.
I would be remiss not to mention Eddy Barrows’ work on the back story. Since there is a not a lot of action, until that last page, he had the task of putting the team into the world with regular folks. He captures the feel of New Orleans perfectly. If you haven’t been there, check it out in the back pages of this book.
Harcourt would not let the team go blow off steam in New Orleans. That seems unrealistic. Hack says, “I miss Waller.” That pretty much says everything you need to know about her personality. Someone more intense than Waller would not give a damn about the mental well being of the team.
Floyd has a daughter. I know. I get it. I don’t care. If he really cared, he wouldn’t be Deadshot. It is a character flaw of his, not of the book. I just don’t like it.
The first run all had Ramones songs as titles. This one started with a Talking Heads song. Williams is talking right to me. I can only hope he keeps it up. The Suicide Squad are a bunch of punks and misfits and I love them for it. I love the world that Williams has created. I have great hopes. Plus, that ending. Damn.