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Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 Review

The day after you read this the official movie will hit theaters and the question on a lot of people’s minds will be: Is this a version of the team more like the movie? An important question, but is it good?

Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)

So what’s it about? After checking out our preview, the official DC Comics synopsis reads:

Soldier. War hero. Traitor. Captain Rick Flag was one of America’s greatest military commanders before he was banished to a secret military prison. But after years of isolation, Flag’s life changes forever when a woman called Amanda Waller offers him redemption in exchange for taking on the single most dangerous job in the entire DC Universe: keeping the Suicide Squad alive!

Why does this book matter?

Depending on the success of the film this could be one of the biggest series of the year. Then again, movie sales don’t usually correlate to comic book sales, but with Rob Williams on story and Philip Tan on pencils what could go wrong?

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Kind of a boring splash page eh?

Williams has a pretty neat concept on his hands with the threat in this issue. The Suicide Squad must stop a Mongolian enemy who can turn entire swaths of an area into superpowered soldiers. Williams quickly shows us this team is willing to kill and maim to get the job done and considering the threat maybe a more upstanding superhero group wouldn’t be able to accomplish what they can. He also uses a good amount of Harley Quinn (complete with crazy witticisms) and a good pace in the action scenes.

Speaking of pace, Tan does a fantastic job with the layouts, mixing things up and keeping your interest high. I also dig his rendition of Harley. She has a rounder face and a nice amount of quirk in nearly every panel she’s in. The action is also easy to follow and Deadshot looks pretty great due to Tan’s detailed pencils.

The characters are well written too. Dialogue is natural and unique for everyone and Williams gives everyone something to do. The biggest pitfall of team books is not giving everyone something to do and say, but they all have a part in this one (well, except Flag…more on that later). Harley fans should dig her moments in this issue.

It can’t be perfect can it?

Sometimes it’s a bit telling when there are three inkers on a comic book (Jonathan Glapion, Scott Hanna and Sandu Florea all ink this one) and there are some rather muddy images in this book. Tan’s detailed pencils at times feel a bit lost in the dark shadows and there seems at times to be an unnecessary evilness to things. A good example is a panel with Obama that looks as if he’s scowling from the shadows like Dr. Doom and I’m not sure that works for the scene.

Tan’s layouts are quite nice, but there are some hiccups along the way. In one panel of Obama for instance, he looks to have a lazy eye (page 5), in another Flag’s face has an insane amount of hash marks as if to make him look old, but later he doesn’t. The cliffhanger splash page is overall good, but Harley appears to be flying or at the very least way too far off the ground to make any sense.

While Waller is an important character, Williams spends way too much time on the character. The first five pages are devoted to Waller taking a meeting with Obama. It serves well to establish Obama’s frustration with the Suicide Squad even existing and Waller’s somewhat frightening amount of power, but it goes on too long. It spends a lot of time establishing Waller’s superiority via President Obama (5 pages or so) and another 4 pages establishing Flag’s reluctant hero schtick. It’s all plot we’ve seen a thousand times before and really could have fit in way fewer pages. When the action gets going it’s great, but by the end you’ll wonder why more time wasn’t spent with Flag in the field. All that setup, but no payoff?

Dude, what is wrong with your eye?

Is It Good?

This is a decent start to a series that clearly has its strength in the action. Williams establishes he has a good handle on the characters and some cool big ideas, but it takes way too long to get going with story elements we’ve seen a thousand times before.


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