It’s here! The Justice League and the Suicide Squad battle it out in this issue, but another group is making its way into the picture. When Apex plans to destroy an entire island (containing a secret U.S. outpost), Amanda Waller sends the Suicide Squad to take care of the problem. The Justice League meets them there, and the fighting begins… Elsewhere, the dirty half dozen is getting together to destroy the Suicide Squad.
Writer Joshua Williamson is taking a huge leap here, including three teams in one issue. That’s a hell of a lot of characters to write about. I’m only worried about each character not having enough time to make a real presence in the series. I mean, these are all really huge characters with a lot of history and a lot of personality. Each of them should definitely have their time. But with so many characters to control, Williamson might have a little trouble with it.
Otherwise, the writing is great. Most characters do get an equal time to say what they need to, except Batman and Superman get a little extra because, well, it’s Batman and Superman. We actually get to see how both the title teams work together. It’s interesting to see their dynamic. The Suicide Squad works really well together, taking action while talking together. The Justice League, on the other hand, is a bit more tactical. They spend time discussing their actions before they make any.
We have the infamous Suicide Squad (Killer Croc, Deadshot, Enchantress, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, Killer Frost, and the one and only Harley Quinn), and the heroic Justice League (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Flash, the other Green Lantern, Cyborg, and the beautifully Amazonian Wonder Woman) going head to head. Then the third team comes in.
So, we have one team trying to kill another team trying to kill another team. This is quite the pickle. I want to talk about the villains in this issue. Not the villain-heroes—the actual villains. These characters come in at the end of the issue, so we don’t get to know much about them (unless we’ve read up on them in previous comics).
Maxwell Lord leads the dirty half dozen in hopes of saving the world. This guy is a sharp and very powerful businessman. He was also essential to the formation of the Justice League. When he was young, his mother told him to distrust authority figures, and it stuck with him to turn into hatred—in other words, he wants control of everyone. He and his mother created metahumans with the intent of bringing the Justice League under his control.
Johnny Sorrow has a direct line to the Subtle Realms, an alternate dimension where The King of Tears gave him his mask to wear over his invisible body. Removing the mask makes him visible again, but kills anyone who looks him in the eye.
Emerald Empress has some impressive power from her symbiotic relationship with the Emerald Eye of Ekron. She is one of the most feared villains, leader of the Fatal Five, and enemy of the Legion of Superheroes.
Doctor Polaris has an obsessive and delusional idea that exposure to magnetic fields gives him energy and powers like healing. So, he began exposing himself to more and more electromagnetic fields until he was actually able to benefit from magnetic forces. In the process, though, his mind split into two: “normal” and “dark.” This made him use his new found power for violence.
Lobo is a mass-murdering, indestructible alien. After he massacred his race, he took up bounty hunting, traveling from planet to planet. He has never teamed up before, per se, so why now?
Rustam is a mysterious character. He does, however, have a strong hate for the Suicide Squad (and Rick Flag). Now he, and their whole group, is going up against not one but two effective teams.
A large part of what gives this issue its dramatic flair is Jason Fabok’s artwork. We can see so many different facial expressions and all of them really well. The line work is clean and there is some impeccable detailing, like in Killer Croc’s anatomy. Alex Sinclair’s bold colors and deep shadowing help create a realistic look yet over-the-top storyline. Light sources and material are taken into account for effects like shiny metal or bright fire, so there is quite a bit of attention to detail in this issue.
If the rest of the series is anything like this premiere issue, I’m definitely a fan. You can pick up this issue at your local comic book shop now!
Written by: Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by: Jason Fabok