[Editor’s Note: This title will be on store shelves on August 10, 2016. This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Jai Nitz
Artist: Cliff Richards
Writer: Michael Moreci
Pencils: Oscar Bazaldua
Inks: Scott Hanna
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The first story, featuring El Diablo (a.k.a. Chato Santana), opens with the Suicide Squad fighting in a church in French Guiana. After dispatching their foes, Deadshot orders El Diablo to burn the church down to destroy any evidence. He does so, but with obvious discomfort.
Back at Belle Reve, El Diablo decides to end his voluntary incarceration and return home. However, Amanda Waller refuses to allow this, instead offering him the chance to lead a second Suicide Squad group. When he refuses, Waller instead has the members of this group beat El Diablo.
However, El Diablo is rescued from this beating by Uncle Sam – in his traditional red, white, and blue costume. Uncle Sam has come to enlist him in Checkmate. Instead of accepting, he chooses to return home, which Checkmate allows.
Returning home, he finds that a metahuman called Bloodletter has taken over his old neighbourhood. Bloodletter appears at Chato’s family’s home to give him the threat, “walk out, or get carried out.” When Chato refuses, Bloodletter attacks him.
El Diablo wins the fight, destroying his family’s home in the process. Chato calls Checkmate to clean up and take Bloodletter into custody. Realizing there is nothing for him in his old neighbourhood anymore, he changes his mind and takes Checkmate up on their offer.
The second story begins with Boomerang, alias Digger Harkness, in a South American bar. It turns out that the Squad is on a mission to assassinate a South American warlord called El Jaguar, but Boomerang has neglected to do his part in favour of ditching the Squad to go get a drink.
Meanwhile, the Squad is in a battle, where they are quickly overpowered by a metahuman force protecting the El Jaguar.
The Squad then retreats, but in the confusion, Boomerang is left behind. He decides to forget about his teammates and find his own way out of the country.
While attempting to do so, he encounters a teenage girl, who informs him that he’s being followed by some of the warlord’s metahumans.
As he fights these metahumans, Digger knocks the mask off one, who turns out to be a teenage boy who appears to suddenly not know where he is or what he is doing.
The battle turns against Boomerang, and just as the metahumans are about to execute him, he is rescued by the young girl from earlier, who also turns out to be a metahuman. The girl introduces herself as Breaker and offers to help Boomerang get out of the country if he helps her kill El Jaguar.
This isn’t billed as a Rebirth tie-in, but there are signs that DC is returning elements of the pre-Flashpoint universe to the New 52 universe. In particular, I found it refreshing to see that Uncle Sam has been restored to his original appearance. Once again he looks as if he stepped out of an army recruiting poster.
As usual, Boomerang is shown as a self-centered bastard, but I was pleased to see that he is portrayed as a formidable fighter, and not just as a joke. It is good to see him used as more than just the Suicide Squad’s comic relief.
The El Diablo story does tend to put a strain on the willing suspension of disbelief. I found it a bit unlikely that his old neighbourhood was being threatened by a metahuman, but could let that pass, as it’s a common trope of superhero comics. But, Bloodletter showing up at his family’s home almost immediately after El Diablo’s return seemed very unlikely, and more like a convenient way to accelerate the story. This made sure that Bloodletter was dealt with by the end of the issue, but left me feeling the story was rushed.
Both stories were strong, but I found the Boomerang story a bit more compelling than the El Diablo story. However, both are interesting tales, and I look forward to seeing how they progress over the course of the mini-series.