[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Rob Williams
Artists: Barnaby Bagenda, Jay Leisten, Wilfredo Torres
“Mate, my head hurts like I’ve been on a bender with Bon Scott’s parole officer.” – Captain Cold, Suicide Squad #31, The Secret History of Task Force X: Part 5
Harley Quinn opens up an uncontrollable portal to the Phantom Zone, sending the possessed Rick Flagg Sr. through to be cured of his alien infection and find redemption. Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Diablo and the Enchantress find and assist Faraday King and Karin Grace to finally defeat the Red Wave monstrosity once and for all before it reaches Earth and consumes all human life.
Rick Flagg Sr. ends his part in this story with a wonderful, sad moment shared with his grandson while floating blissfully through the Phantom Zone. Harley’s internal narration about sacrifice and her moral alignment blends with the terribly sad state of affairs old Rick has landed himself in. Free at last from the infection of the Red Wave as the Phantom Zone extracts the Red Wave energy from his old body, Flagg Sr. recounts the years of imprisonment he made Karin Grace suffer, and his final moments are filled with the desire to save her life from the Red Wave.
I am surprised that the really big, really really strong alien monster who named itself after its own skin pigment has invoked such emotional character moments, and to be fair its psychic abilities have been more prevalent than its raw strength. I wonder though, how many more psychic pawns the Red Wave will have to lose before it resorts to its big maroon muscles to reach its feast down on Earth.
Argent, the Durian Shapeshifter sacrifices himself to stick with the theme of the issue, but also to trick the Red Wave into eating a “£$%&load of explosives”. All part of the plan cooked up between Karin Grace, Faraday King and Amanda Waller. However, Karin takes the plan off the rails using a small army of Argent robots to tether the beast to the hull of the station, so that she might steer the entire station into the heart of the Sun.
Again, this issue is all about sacrifice as we watch all of the former Suicide Squad sacrifice themselves for the sake of their loved ones and their world. As Harley points out during her inner reflection, she really is a villain, and I wonder how that revelation will play out if she has to make a sacrifice to save someone else before all this is over.
Clearly, the Squad back in the day had quite a different morality from their contemporaries, which is lucky for Rick Flagg (Junior) who gets a free Get Out of Kryptonian Jail card outta the mix. Ready to fulfil his promise, Flagg takes the Squad: Space Division to save Karin from certain death, however will the Red Wave have the strength to possess all his teammates all over again by the time they reach the station? Will Harley do a wild-card thing and ruin his plan for kicks? Will Karin Grace harbour guilt-ridden feelings about her dead lover’s grandson?! Questions, questions.
Argent the Durian Shapeshifter deserved better, Goddammit.
Picking up the pace for a dramatic climax to come, this issue of the Suicide Squad reaches some emotional places as the theme of self-sacrifice is explored and drastic measures are taken to subdue the threat of the Red Wave