Review by Ian Keogh
How would the Justice League feel if they discovered their enemies, deadly super-powered beings who took considerable effort to capture, were being freed under government licence to carry out covert missions? Yeah, right, far from happy. And when they learn the Suicide Squad are in action on a small island, off they head. The resulting confrontation, however, is just the start of problems affecting both teams as a number of even more dangerous villains have been released by one of their own.
Since DC’s ‘Rebirth’ in 2016 the collections they’ve issued have been, well, somewhat slim looking, but that’s not an accusation to be levelled here at what’s a proper meaty, thick graphic novel, with 90% of the page count being story content. The even better news is that there’s almost enough plot to sustain it as well, the only padding being an episode focussing on Steve Trevor. A big two team mash-up battle occurs early (see sample art from Jason Fabok), after which chapters are spent getting beneath the skins of the major players. We discover there’s been a previous iteration of the Suicide Squad, and several other villains are reintroduced as part of that, Lobo being surprisingly welcome. There’s a fair amount of turnabout involved, but it keeps the interest up, and the writers, primarily Rob Williams and Joshua Williamson, take interesting options via these reversals. They’re aided by one the beauties of reconfiguring the DC universe as ‘Rebirth’ titles being the ability to reintroduce what readers will already know, but in a fresh fashion. When we reach the third act, that’s what occurs.
A lot of artists work on this graphic novel, but because trips back into the past are frequent and lengthy contrasting styles don’t hurt the consistency as much as they would under other circumstances. Most broadly deal in generic superhero layouts and poses, with Fabok and Christian Duce standing out, and only Riley Rosmo doesn’t work out. Given his work elsewhere it’s not as if DC were unaware of his style, but his twisted exaggerations are somehow inappropriate on an episode with a dreadful cost.
The book opens with the introduction of Killer Frost to the Suicide Squad, and for a long while she just seems there to make up the numbers, but her use is co-ordinated across the different writers, and her purpose excellent. There’s also a very good epilogue by Williams and Si Spurrier, spotlighting just who the major character in this melee is. As she was in the good old days, Amanda Waller, again a force of nature, is the most compelling and complex person in this entire story.
A full dose of thrills has been served up, and the Justice League continuity picks up in Timeless, while the Suicide Squad move to Burning Down the House.