What’s this? The Caped Crusader and his costumed comrades have been captured by a cadre of killers? Have Waller’s weaponized weirdos won? Can our heroes engineer an escape from this evil enclosure? Is this latest attempt at alliterative introductions taking things a bit too far?
Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad #3 (DC Comics)
The dust has settled from last issue’s superhero smackdown, and – surprisingly – it was the Suicide Squad standing tall when all was said and done. This issue picks up with the Justice League incarcerated in Belle Reve, the Squad’s base of operations, where they’re summarily sweet-talked into working alongside the “reformed” villains to face the bigger looming threat of Maxwell Lord’s Nightmare Army (I’m not sure that they actually want to go with that name, but it’s certainly growing on me).
Speaking of the Maxwell house of horrors, this issue sees the “non-reformed” villains brutalizing some warrior shaman tribe defending some mystical macguffin that will help Lord take over the world – you know, that old chestnut.
The real development of the issue comes courtesy of an expositional journey undertaken by Katana and Rick Flag at the beginning of the issue in which they retrieve the black box from the Catacombs prison break at the start of the series. (Side note: Do prisons have black boxes? Google isn’t clear) This allows our primary cast to finally acknowledge the true villains of the series and sets in motion the second act of this story.
This issue is an improvement over other entries in the series, but it retains some of the pacing and writing issues that are – unfortunately – becoming a hallmark of the book. We finally get a sense of the motivation for Lord’s crew of miscreants, which is certainly a plus. On the other hand, seeing the strong character work seen in this week’s Justice League tie-in issue, it feels a bit undercooked.
The art in this week’s issue hits a pretty consistent pace, with the only real complaint from this reviewer being that penciler Jesus Merino seems to be completely averse to drawing a character’s neck. It’s like how Rob Liefeld always found ways to obscure his characters’ feet behind horizons or other muscley dudes, only using a number of big clunky helmets, heavily shrugged shoulders and scarves for days.
Still, now that the actual action of the story is set in motion (and the thin pretext needed to get the two super teams to work together has already been established) things are progressing in a decent enough direction. Hopefully things will pick up after the slow start.