Another super hero smackdown sure to see these separate squads side together at some point? Can these callous cads convince the costumed caped crusader and his costumed colleagues to cooperate?
JLA Vs. Suicide Squad #1 (DC Comics)
DC Continuity is a funny thing. With a reboot or restart coming every couple of years, it can be hard for the casual fan to keep up with what’s happening with certain characters – and the one place where that typically doesn’t matter is the Suicide Squad. The begrudging team of villains on the side of the angels has always had a revolving door with its cast and its combination of life-or-death consequences and humor has made it a book that I’ve been able to go back to from time to time without feeling like I missed out on too much. This particularly stands out when the team is juxtaposed to the Justice League, which now boasts two Green Lanterns, one of which I’ve never seen before, but I digress.
Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad is possibly the most 90s comic book you’ll read this year. From Jason Fabok’s pencils to Joshua Williamson’s dialogue, the book feels like what a Rob Liefeld book would have been like if he had to adhere to strict corporate guidelines. To be fair, Fabok’s art is better than Liefeld’s – it’s just that it’s also far less memorable. While the character models are consistent (a big thing for me) and the action is pretty serviceable, it all feels too familiar – like we’ve seen it all before. Admittedly his line work is crisp and he gets a few panels that do stand out (the assassination of Apex for example), but overall it all feels a touch pedestrian.
The real issue comes with the writing, which is both deeply rooted in superhero story tropes and belies a pretty thorough lack of understanding of the characters. Take the example of Captain Boomerang, a nuanced and flawed character who has been a mainstay of the books, who is here reduced to a walking libido who constantly hits on Harley Quinn and Killer Frost (the only non-movie character on the team) and reacts like a triggered dude bro when one of the Green Lanterns claims that the pending fight with the JLA is one-sided because “Dude just has a boomerang” and “Boomerangs are lame.”
Also a pet peeve: Batman saying “Aiming a gun at me is something you never want to do.” I get the sentiment, but it’s so circuitous and roundabout, whereas Batman is a very direct character in action and in speech. That’s probably just my own nonsense, though.
As far as story goes, I’m much less interested in the fracas that ensues toward the end of the issue than I am of the one predicted by the final page. The villainous crew that will likely serve as the unifying antagonists that forces the JLA and Task Force X to team up is an eclectic bunch to be sure (I’m happy to see Dr. Polaris, but like what is Lobo doing there?), filled with enough heavy hitters and cannon fodder (Rustam? Johnny Sorrow?) to make for an interesting scrape later on.
Overall the book is off to a bit of a rocky start. Hopefully the creative team will discover their voice and take the story in a unique direction. Otherwise this series will just be yet another directionless superhero punch up between two popular teams.
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