[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Rob Williams
Artists: John Romita Jr. and Eddy Barrows
Inkers: Richard Friend and Eber Ferreira
Hack digitizes the team and takes them to Blackgate in Gotham because Rustam is leading a team of former Suicide Squaders in an all out attack. He has a speedster, a guy who is almost exactly like Hack, a talking lion and a whole slew of other weirdos at his command. His Hack-like guy, Djinn, does some weird tech voodoo on Hack and Katana and Flag get pushed into to the ether. Yikes. While this is happening, Waller is dying in a hospital in New Orleans. Really. Really, really.
In the back story, Waller is Really dead and Harcourt is trying to figure out who did it. Single shot, to the heart with deadly accuracy. Hmmmm. Who could it be?
Ding dong, the witch is dead. Really. No. Really really. Why is this a positive? Well, it is a pretty amazing plot point. Hack points out that the only person who really wanted Waller dead was Harcourt. Of course, everyone has an alibi. Everyone really wanted her dead and you would think they would all line up to admit guilt, but everyone denies it for some reason. The mystery continues. It is a good mystery. I like how Williams and company have made the front and back stories part of the same tale as opposed to a different story altogether. Yes, it is a different art team, but the stories are seamless and I think it is excellent storytelling.
Speaking of separate art teams, artist Eddy Barrows brings the heat in this issue. He has a couple of close up shots of the team and in each one, there is a slight photographic feel. Since very little action happens in his back story, he has to convey a lot with facial expressions and subtle, what psychologists would call, non-verbal cues. I get that sounds strange because all comics are non-verbal, but we are so used to reading the word balloons that we sometimes forget to take a long look at what is being shown. Each member of the team has a different facial expression that conveys something beyond the word balloon and the last shot of Harley is just amazing.
Amanda Waller is dead. Really? Really really? Hmmm. I know I used this as a positive, but it also works as a negative. I want to believe that Rob Williams is not really keen on gimmicky nonsense, so I feel confident that if this is a fake out, it is a well planned fake out that does not include a Lazarus Pit but involves Hack’s new alive in the internet power. Can you imagine Waller as the internet? Anyway, the negative here is the fear of the gimmick. Just fear.
Rob Williams just keeps reminding us that he knows how to tell a story and that he can allow characters to come to life. He has made us care about serial killers. That is no small feat. In real life, I am not a fan, but in this world, ever other week, I root for the baddies.