With Earth-3 fully engulfed in multiversal war, Rick Flag’s new Suicide Squad has set its sights on the individual responsible for this heinous assault: Amanda Waller. Despite an unbridled determination to bring his former boss to justice, Flag finds himself at a loss when the Wall reveals the Big Blue non-Boy Scout hidden up her sleeve. Will this new Suicide Squad be able to thwart Waller’s assault on Earth-3, or will her ace in the hole spell certain doom for Task Force X?
SPOILERS AHEAD for Suicide Squad #13!
“Great minds think alike… we’ll all go wreck Big Blue together.”
Oozing with fast-paced action, Suicide Squad #13 propels “War for Earth-3” forward. Although this issue’s story is relatively straightforward, Hopeless and Thompson build narrative tension by weaving moments of the past and present together. The result is an entertaining and often humorous read bolstered by excellent artwork. This structure works best when driving the overarching plot forward. Unfortunately, a few sequences involving the fractured team feel disconnected as they do little to accomplish that goal. Additionally, the rotating roster of artists throughout this issue creates a visual inconsistency that compounds these disjointed feelings.
One of my favorite elements of Suicide Squad #13 is Hopeless and Thompson’s use of flashbacks. The creators use this to build tension in an otherwise straightforward narrative and pay off any punchline. Additionally, this does an excellent job of bringing the reader up to speed by showing where each of the characters are and what brought them to that place. Individually, these pieces burst with some combination of action, character development, or comedic relief. However, as a reader, it’s hard not to feel like you’re being bounced around due to the quick, disjointed nature of each sequence.
Thankfully, I found this narrative structure to be particularly effective as the issue reached its halfway mark. Throughout these sequences, Culebra and Talon discuss Owlman’s murder and devise a strategy to defeat Ultraman. Additionally, Hopeless and Thompson wonderfully express Culebra’s sadness and feelings of betrayal after Talon’s actions in War for Earth-3 #1. Fortunately, I found myself smiling from ear to ear as the creative team punctuated this moment with humorous dialogue, and the duo’s friendship was cemented once again.
Additionally, the quick transition to Peacemaker and Ambush Bug works so wonderfully here as the dialogue pays off a humorous setup from earlier in the issue. However, these two sequences stand out from the rest because together, they act to drive the overarching story forward. Peacemaker and Ambush Bug work frantically to implement the first phase of Owlman’s Culebra’s plan to take down Ultraman. But unfortunately, the arrival of another member of the Crime Syndicate threatens to stop the Suicide Squad in its tracks.
“Owlman is a dumbass. But a paranoid, vindictive one, who knows how to take down Ultraman.”
I would be remiss if I did not mention each artist working on this issue. Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, and Dexter Soy each do an excellent job illustrating their respective sequences. Each artist shines throughout every dynamic action sequence. Although it is impossible to pick a favorite page or panel from this issue, there are a few standout moments.
The opening two-page spread is beautiful and cinematic in nature. Additionally, the pages depicting Rodriguez’s new “Sand-woman” form battling Ultraman are perfection. However, the sequence involving Culebra, Talon, and Owlman is one of my highlights of this story. Each of the character’s expressions is expertly rendered and conveys their emotions perfectly. Additionally, Marcelo Maiolo’s colors help maintain some consistency between each artist.
Despite the entire art team firing on all cylinders, the difference in their artistic styles can bring the reader out of the moment. This lack of visual consistency is amplified as different artists work on the flashbacks and present day for each character. As a result, this does amplify the disjointed feelings one could get from reading each sequence.
Suicide Squad #13 oozes with fast-paced action. Although this issue’s story is straightforward, Hopeless and Thompson build narrative tension by weaving moments of the past and present together. The result is an entertaining and often humorous read bolstered by excellent artwork. However, this structure is both this issue’s greatest strength and its biggest weakness. It works best when driving the overarching plot forward; unfortunately, a few of the earlier sequences feel disconnected as they do little to drive “War for Earth-3” forward. Additionally, the rotating roster of artists throughout this issue creates a visual inconsistency that adds to this disjointed feeling.
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