Writer: Rob Williams
Artwork: Jim Lee, Jason Fabok, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair
Release Date: 17th August, 2016
Given the fairly tumultuous recent opening of DC’s Suicide Squad movie, the burden of expectation on this brand new post-Rebirth look at Task Force X is perhaps even higher than normal. Fans of the movie will be looking to this title for validation of just how great their beloved characters can be, while detractors will be looking to point fingers at the source material as a contributing factor to Suicide Squad’s lackluster critical cinematic reception.
Plus, the inclusion of a legitimate “rock star” creative team like Rob Williams and Jim Lee only adds to the pressure – not to mention the fact that DC has been raising the bar significantly with the bulk of their Rebirth offerings thus far. So, with all these factors taken into account, does Suicide Squad succeed in proving the doubters wrong and giving the supporters a wonderful case of the “I told you so’s”?
Well… no. Not really.
First thing’s first, the elephant in the room – the “main story”, such as it is, is only thirteen pages long (yes, thirteen), consisting of Amanda Waller assembling the Squad for a mission, only for said mission to go decidedly pear-shaped almost immediately. And that’s it. It’s an incredibly underwhelming start to a new series, with absolutely nothing fresh or “Rebirthy” about it. In fact, it’s an opening that could easily have been cribbed from any one of a hundred other Squad missions over the years.
Yes, there’s also a back-up strip, a far stronger written introduction to Deadshot and how he ended up in Belle Reve in the first place, but the overwhelming feeling after finishing this first issue is one of disappointment, not just at the paltry page count of the main story, but also at its completely generic and uninspired nature. The attempts at humour feel unnatural, the pop culture references feel forced (Harley Quinn playing a Pokemon GO clone? Really?) and there’s very little being done here to draw new readers into the story or the characters themselves.
Rob Williams is absolutely one of my favourite writers at the moment, with his Vertigo series Unfollow being easily one of my top five titles of 2016 so far, and Jim Lee is pretty much my favourite artist of all time, which makes it doubly frustrating that this debut issue is so utterly pedestrian. DC’s Rebirth titles have done a fantastic job so far of establishing new, exciting status quos for beloved characters and framing their exploits in a whole new light, but sadly, Suicide Squad does neither of those things.
For what it’s worth, it looks great, with Jim Lee – well – being Jim Lee, adding a sense of dynamism to the shockingly brief introduction. I’m still not 100% sold on the Rebirth Harley Quinn design, but everything else is as impressively bold and in-your-face as you’d expect, with frequent Lee collaborators Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair fleshing things out wonderfully with their inks and colours respectively. Jason Fabok also does an typically solid job with the artwork on the back-up strip, which sees Deadshot enlisting some unlikely help to rescue his daughter.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never really been a huge fan of the Suicide Squad in the past. That’s not to say I ever had anything against them necessarily, I just never felt the desire to pick up many of their comics. Like a lot of people, it’s a combination of the Warner Bros movie and DC’s strong Rebirth track record that made me want to jump on board with this new series. Sadly however, after this first issue I honestly can’t see any reason for me to continue with this one, save for the unquestioned pedigree of its two supremely talented co-creators.
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