With the Justice League firmly in his grasp, Mad Max makes his move toward mastering mankind. As the evil Eclipso exudes its will over the erudite eidolons of the League, it’s up to Batman and the surviving Suicide Squad to suss out a solution to such a serious scare. Also Lobo grows a new head. Yes, really.
Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad #5 (DC Comics)
Coming off the best issue of the series thus far, issue 5 of this JL/SS crossover moves quickly. Seriously, within the first 13 minutes the Eclipso-empowered Maxwell Lord has already seized control of United States. The thing is, and perhaps this is part of the long term plan as Williamson and company do make it clear that the Eclipso entity has its own plans that don’t exactly coincide with Lord’s, once one realizes that the League’s actions of dismantling WMDs, rounding up public leaders and seizing control of the nation’s communications would make the U.S. an instant target for its enemies, one questions the central logic of the plot.
The lapse in logic sets up a number of mental conflicts for readers, that don’t entirely wreck the experience of the book, mind you, but feel like illogical decisions. Waiting for the entire League to finish their assignments before storming the White House with Superman, for example, makes little sense. You’d think it would be one of the first things you do if you’re trying to take over the country. The normally cowardly Boomerang wanting to head into a dangerous attack on the League because Eclipso or the fact that Batman deputizes a group of killers he’s been claiming are irredeemable for 4 issues as Justice League members before they head into battle just doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Continuity is another issue throughout the book, as though we see that it took Cyborg 10 full minutes to seize control of all electronic communications within the U.S., he’s at the destroyed remnants of Belle Reve moments later, fighting the remaining Squad members and having partially wrested control of his own systems back from Eclipso. Like… all that in a matter of moments? Later in the book, Deadshot is seen brandishing one of those big future rifles that artists love to draw, and while he carries it with him everywhere in the story (thumbs up for the continuity there) at no point does he fire the damn thing. Whether it’s on his back or in his hand, he just can’t bring himself to use the damn thing for some reason.
Elsewhere there’s the issue of dangling characters that seem to have disappeared between issues. Of Max’s marauders, Johnny Sorrow is a mysterious no show with no comment on his whereabouts, as is the Squad’s El Diablo. Then there’s the heartless evil hive mind controlling a Kryptonian with the powers of a god sparring Batman for no real reason. I know this is classic villain formula, but like why?
The art is probably the strongest aspect of the book, though even that has some inconsistencies that bother me. Toward the end of the book, as the world descends into chaos on the White House lawn, character models begin to break down. This is the biggest issue with Amanda Waller, as were she not the only large African American woman in a yellow suit, the character on page 6 would be almost unrecognizable from the one on page 25.
Still, the action is suitably murky, though considerably less violent than the previous issue. We’re ultimately left with an ending that leaves us with no real hint of what comes next, though given that we only have one issue left in the series, I think we can guess.
This, the penultimate issue of a series that’s struggled to find its footing, is a backslide from the highs of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #4. We’ll see if they can go out on a high note or it’ll all end in disappointment.