If you haven’t been reading Robbie Thompson’s Suicide Squad series, now might be a good time to jump on. Out this week is the Suicide Squad 2021 Annual issue and Suicide Squad #7. Both shed new light on Superbo,y but be warned, you should read the annual first. So what’s his deal, outside of the cover art basically giving most of his secrets away?
Truth be told, Suicide Squad 2021 Annual #1 is not just about Superboy. Though he is a central focus — and fighting another, cooler ’90s style Superboy — this is also a Randall Flagg story. He opens the book and Thompson does a good job reminding us of his goodness and how he differs from Waller’s harsher tactics. He sees others as human beings and she sees them as tools. It’s something we already knew, but it’s a good reminder as it pays off at the end of the issue. In fact, the “good guys” within Waller’s operation both have story arcs, including Dr. Rodriguez. These characters help set the temperature on Waller’s misdeeds.
If you’re looking for action, this issue has a lot of it. Not only does Superboy go one on one with…well, Superboy, but the rest of the Suicide Squad also has to fight some protector robots. This gives the book ample action that cuts between Superboy and the rest of the team. However, the action does feel a bit stretched out so as to fill out the extra pages a bit.
As far as Superboy aka Match is concerned, if you’ve ever felt inadequate Thompson nails that aspect of his experience here. From the ’90s Superboy embarrassing him with better skills, or the big reveal of who Match is (and his name is a dead giveaway FYI), that’s an element you can see in other Suicide Squad members under Thompson, which gives these killing villains a bit of something to grasp onto.
The art is split between Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Dexter Soy, and color artist Chris Sotomayor. Each penciler is given chunks of story to draw so it’s never too jarring when the style changes. If you’ve come for Superboy punching action you’ve come to the right place with not one, but two double-page splashes to stretch out the art. Also, props to the reference to the classic Wolverine in the sewer shot, although it’s subtle enough I could be seeing things. One blip in the reading experience is a full-page splash reveal of the return of a villain. It’s not the most impressive reveal, nor is it very dramatic.
Suicide Squad 2021 Annual #1 further establishes Superboy’s identity while preparing readers for two Amanda Waller insiders who could be trouble. As an annual issue, it has enough of a self-contained story for casual fans to cling to so as to catch up on the exciting main series.
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