*This review contains spoilers for Suicide Squad #50
The Temho-Meyta Prison hurtles like a rocket from the depths of the Laptev Sea toward the unsuspecting surface. Its payload: the insatiable Tunguska alien virus. The Suicide Squad is the only thing standing between the Vets’ weapon and its intended target. Will the Suicide Squad be able to prevent the virus from consuming the world or is the entire human race destined to become lava-zombies?
“We all make decisions that define us.”
Suicide Squad #50 is not only an excellent conclusion to the “Rocket to Russia” story-line but also a perfect bookend to the current volume of the series. Williams’ understanding of each squad member is what makes this issue, as well as his entire run, so wildly entertaining. This is evident due to his excellent work in integrating themes with entertaining dialogue and engaging character interactions.
Williams’ excellent work with dialogue and character interactions is on full display. Suicide Squad is a series whose entertainment value largely hinges on the interactions of these disparate characters. Whether they are trying to flee from conflict in a mini-sub, bashing their infected boss’ face with an over-sized wooden mallet, or battling an alien infection with grief, each of the characters behaves in a believable manner.
Some of my favorite moments from the issue revolve around Deadshot and Captain Boomerang. Although the characters often butt heads, Deadshot convincing Boomerang to stay and fight using quotes from “The Wild Bunch” is a quieter yet meaningful moment. Additionally, this emotion is subverted when Boomerang asks Deadshot to help him do something that they’re both good at – disposing of bodies. Williams’ dialogue always has me grinning from ear to ear despite of the world shattering stakes posed by the Tunguska virus.
Additionally, Williams’ use of themes for the final issue speaks to the core values of the Suicide Squad. One of my favorite lines from the issue is, “We choose our own path, and whether we realize it or not… we choose our own tragedies.” I think this could be accurately summarized as, “We are the architects of our own destruction.” As dour as this theme may seem, I think this is fitting for many of the squad members because their choices have led them down this path and placed them into this position. Additionally, this theme is directly tied in to Rick Flag’s conflict as his past comes back to haunt him and threaten to destroy the entire world. This goes a long way in making Flag feel like a full-fledged member of the Suicide Squad. Finally, I think this theme has some resonance with us, as the reader, because I think everyone has experienced the past coming back to bite them in the butt at some point.
“Now you finally know what it is to be in the Suicide Squad, huh?”
German Peralta, Brent Schoonover, and Will Conrad’s art with Gabe Eltaeb’s colors do an excellent job conveying the horrors of the Tunguska virus, as well as the insane action. With so many artists involved in the issue, it would be easy for the changes in style to be jarring for the reader. To the artists’ credit, the changes in style are never so jarring that it takes the reader out of the moment. Gabe Eltaeb’s colors do a great job in helping the reader distinguish between flashbacks and current events.
Some of my favorite images from the issue involve the Vets’ War Waller hunting down the Suicide Squad with her flaming mouth belly. In particular, one of my favorite images happens once Harley is infected the virus and turns on her teammates. This flaming zombie visual with War Waller lurching in the background combined with Harley moaning, “Hunnggrrryy Puddddinggsss…” is terrifyingly beautiful. Much like Captain Boomerang, I will be having nightmares for weeks to come.
Suicide Squad #50 is an excellent conclusion to the “Rocket to Russia” story-line. William’s understanding of each squad member through engaging character interactions is what makes his run on the title completely entertaining. Moreover, the art in this issue wonderfully conveys the horrors of the Tunguska virus as well as the action.