Mad Max’s consortium of crazy comes for the queen in her castle! Will Waller’s wiley wackos ward off these wiley wrongdoers? Bringing Batman’s band to Belle Reve has bolstered her braggadocio, but can the Justice League lick Lobo and his Legion of Luddites? Will my thesaurus make it through 2 more issues of this series?
Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad #4 (DC Comics)
After 3 issues of static action and familiar cliched team-up tropes, this week, we finally get to the fireworks factory. This issue sees Maxwell Lord and the original Suicide Squad launch an attack on Belle Reve Prison, running afoul of both of the series’ eponymous teams and finally revealing the true impetus behind his evil plans – the Eclipso Diamond. Yet while it’s great to see so much happen in the book, it’s at the expense of the issue’s villains.
See while we’ve spent two issues building the threat of the so-called “Nightmare Army of Maxwell Lord,” the Justice League and Suicide Squad make relatively quick work of them. To make things a little more even, Johnny Sorrow deus ex’s up some amorphous DnD monsters, but all that does is allow some of the weaker character’s a chance to seem useful (they can’t all fight Rustam, after all).
Admittedly there are some fun character interactions that come from the scenario. Flash and Boomerang’s interaction is pretty on point (though thinking Flash is the easy enemy when there are two scrub Green Lanterns on the team is surreal) and I enjoyed the segments with Wonder Woman and Harley, even if I really tire of the whole “insanity as a superpower” schtick that follows Harley and the Joker (and Deadpool for that matter).
The segments in which Batman and Deathstroke defend Waller from the rampaging Lobo, however, feel less inspired from a character standpoint, but certainly ramp up the drama due to Batman’s “mind blowing” way of dealing with the crazed Czarnian. The theme of escalation continues through the end of the issue with a final image that will define the rest of the series.
While it is a bit of a let down to see the antagonists beaten so easily (With the exception of Lobo, they all go down like chumps), it is fitting of Maxwell Lord’s sort of schemes. Still, one hopes the same won’t befall the Eclipso-controlled Justice League.
On the art front, things have gotten a lot more stable. The silly poses and hard-to-follow action has mostly subsided, though Fernando Pasarin’s may overdo it a bit in the gorier scenes. I’m not sheepish about the violence, mind you, but the amount of blood on Lord’s face when he’s overcome by Eclipso is at Mortal Kombat 3 levels of ridiculous.
Still, overall this is a decent outing for the book, with character moments (Deadshot’s “Damn Batman” is particularly great), story progression and consistent artwork. It’s a shame it took this many issues to get there, but finally the book is hitting it’s stride.
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