[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Rob Williams
Artists: Barnaby Bagenda, Jay Leisten, Wilfredo Torres, Adriano Lucas
“So, you’re saying that the Apollo Moon landings. Armstrong. Aldrin. The other guys…They were part of Task Force X Secret Operations regarding this Moon Vault? That makes perfect sense to li’l ole me.”
Katana, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc and Captain Boomerang pay a visit to the Moon this issue – more specifically to a monolithic lunar prison containing an alien monster known as the Red Wave, as well as other dangerous extra-terrestrials intercepted by Task Force X. The irradiated, immortal Rick Flag Senior Senior leads the team to the Moon Vault in order to eliminate the Red Wave monster, however the radiation from the prison imbues him with a deranged power. Back on Earth at an Airfield in Nebraska, Diablo, Deadshot and Amanda Waller fend off a horde of Argent zombie robots while Enchantress recovers from her trance-inducing vision.
This issue contains lots of gripping action-sequences, a straightforward but very entertaining story to tell, and ’Aliens’ references galore. As fun as it was to watch Captain Boomerang betray his legitimate fear of Alien-style hatchlings bursting from his chest as they explore the artificial lunar underground, it’s also refreshing to sit and enjoy a simple plot, A.K.A. one team fights their way out of hot water, while the other team flies straight in to a geyser. We watch the space-Squad arrive at and begin to explore the Moon Vault, as Rick Flag’s assertions about the security measures begin to break down and bothersome alien monsters begin to harass the team. Meanwhile, Nebraska-Squad shoot and magick their way out of a robo-onslaught, so that they can continue to investigate Task Force X’s historical and troublesome operations.
The 1950s-styled robots that protect the Argent Airbase in Nebraska are beautiful, with their bell-shaped, glass-domed heads and tripodal legs; their clanky shoulder armour bashing off of the sides of other units while they scrabble through the hole they’ve torn into the side of the B-52 fuselage. They remind me of the Protectron units from the Fallout series, or Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet (1956). It’s a very particular style with the sort of camp rounded surfaces with creepy faceless expressions, the clunky overemphasized limbs and attachments that are as funny as they are deadly. That same style is there for the space-based side of the plot too, with the square, angular spaceship Rick Flag and the Squad take to the Moon Vault. The enemies and the technology have this feel to them that they are sort of aesthetically silly but still incredibly effective and especially dangerous, and I think that fits in perfectly with the tone of Suicide Squad as a whole.
The King Faraday panels at the tail-end of the issue are also drawn in this wonderful sort of 1950s style in which every person poses like either soldiers in a propaganda poster, or the Marlboro man when he was still around. It is definitely an effective way of covering the history of Task Force X, which brings together threats of both geopolitical conflict and paranormal phenomena. And aside from the look and the feel of the artwork, the story content in the last little chapter of the issue explains the de-compartmentalization of Task Force X, and tiptoes around the nature of the divide between Argent and Suicide Squad, a story which seems to explicitly involve Rick Flag Senior Senior and the first Apollo moon landings.
How come Deadshot had to shoot the plane’s fuselage in half with a machine gun rather than let Diablo melt that metal and save himself some ammo.
A straightforward story with some excellent action sequences and lot of beautiful artwork and character interaction, this issue of Suicide Squad felt very strong to me and was totally entertaining.