“Oh, I’d like you to help me spread some terror, Colonel. Terror that benefits us.”
Task Force X is unleashed as the release Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 coincides with the premiere of WB’s latest blockbuster. What promises to be an explosive run begins with little more than a whisper, opting instead to take time building the team we know and love. Writer Rob Williams makes his Squad debut in this issue, having come off of the incredibly creative and existential Martian Manhunter run that was one of the major successes of the DCYOU. While the characterization is solid the plot leaves much to be desired, despite some politically heated cameos and introductions. Clearly the star of the show, Amanda Waller, comes out swinging. Once again proving herself one of the most ruthless characters in all of comics, though none of her adopted villains seem to match her intensity.
The comic begins with an intimate scene featuring the United States President and an efficient government agent who won’t take no for an answer. While the attempt at making the current government poignant and relevant is appreciated, Obama’s cameo with Waller falls flat and serves as just another pile of exposition we didn’t really need. It would seem the team is in need of a leader. It just so happens Waller has a guy, who just so happens to be a major character in this weekends’ film release. How convenient!
Col. Rick Flagg remains the most wooden character in the comic, resembling a scruffy Steve Trevor who’s seen better days. As he already has an uphill battle to remain interesting in the company of his teammates, it’s difficult to understand why the focus remains solely on him. Series favorites Deadshot, Harley Quinn and Boomerang are all present but barely register. They serve as mere victims to be rescued by our blooming leader. It seems reintroducing old characters to new teams may not be easy for every Rebirth title.
Very little attention is paid to the major driving force behind this issue. The Earth-altering energy force known as the “Meta-bomb” threatens our team and the world they’ve been enslaved to protect. Sadly it comes across as just another world-ending device they’ll have to circumvent or destroy in order to win the day and “save” the typical manipulated scientist. While Williams has a talent for dialogue the continuous screams and pleas of innocence from the irritable scientist Mark Ljungberg get tired fast. The book also abruptly ends without any sort of climax. It’s only interested in setting up a major battle in the series’ actual debut. Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 ends up being just filler used to reintroduce the team. It’s disappointing that while Task Force X seems to be waiting for a leader, we are left waiting for a compelling plot.
The art team of Philip Tan, supplemented by inkers Sandu Florea, Scott Hanna, and Jonathan Glapion as well as colorist Alex Sinclair, do a solid job of creating a visceral and intense set of action sequences. Though his “sketch”-like style can leave characters overdrawn or marred by countless facial lines, Tan makes each character pop thanks in part to the new designs by future artist Jim Lee. While his debut on the title’s first issue is greatly anticipated Jim Lee’s style has clearly influenced Tan, making him an excellent artist to accompany Lee on the title. Though the extensive pencils can be a little unnerving it works well with the 80’s action film tone set up by William’s script.
The Suicide Squad hope to grab the attention of major audiences with this week’s set of releases. Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 suffers from an uninteresting plot and mostly underutilized characters. Though the villains don’t get nearly enough pages in their own title it’s good to see Amanda Waller getting her due. If only Waller’s goal wasn’t to retrieve the issue’s dullest personality. Rick Flagg may be charming audiences in the theaters, but in the pages of Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 he flounders. Grizzled and bearded thanks to artist Philip Tan, Flagg is convinced by Amanda to claim the mantle he once famously held. As Deadshot confidently barks orders to Boomerang and Harley one might wonder just how the new “leadership” is going to play with the group. Unfortunately, this isn’t explored or even addressed leaving the reader aching for a conflict that never quite manifests itself. Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 may serve as an adequate introduction, but ultimately falls short of a new beginning.
- Amanda Waller!
- Solid Characterization and Dialogue
- Gripping Art Style
- Lackluster “Villain”
- Absent Plot
- Unnecessary Cameo